1. hellomoto
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    hellomoto Contributing Member

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    Does this make sense?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hellomoto, Feb 28, 2009.

    Is it appropriate for a the narrator of the story (me - and I'm not gay) to describe a man in the story as an adonis?

    Here is the excerpt:

    Monday afternoons were the quietest; even so, the large, bulky male dressed merely in black that entered the room intrigued Simon for leastwise a few seconds.

    The man slowly walked over to the bench, his beady eyes processing every inch of the room. Simon found this interesting, but he was not curious, sitting, eating -nothing.

    Can the red word be replaced by 'adonis'?
     
  2. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I'm no expert on the topic, but I have seen it done.

    Simon, the one who is pressumably the one describing him in his head as an "Adonis" is probably thinking it in either a sarcastic or jealous manner and not in an attracted way. He's sees a buff man walk into the room and knows that most would consider him a 'perfect specimen'. Hence his choice in wording.

    I hope that is clear enough. LOL. I'm not quite sure I got my point across.
     
  3. hellomoto
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    hellomoto Contributing Member

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    You did :) Thanks!
     
  4. Arrow
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    Uh, hold on a minute. What I got from that brief passage was that it is the narrator who is doing the describing or the "seeing" of the actions. The narrator tells the events--watches Simon watching the male/adonis. Therefore, in my mind, that word choice would be "of the narrator." Unless, i'm missing the POV (completely possible for me!) and unless the word adonis comes from Simon's eyes/head/mouth, then that gaze belongs to the narrator.
     
  5. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    What I got from it was that the narrator was telling what Simon was thinking in that moment. That's how I write my in third person. There's no all seeing narrator. There's just a story being told through the characters and their thoughts.

    But, I could very well be wrong. The narrator could be a seperate entity and it could be his word choice. Either way, it still stands that Adonis does not necessarily have to have the connontation that the narrator/Simon is attracted to him. It is just a matter of word choice. One does not need to be gay to appreciate the beauty/attractiveness of someone of the same sex.
     
  6. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    So you are considering yourself separate from your character, Simon. You are the narrator writing about Simon and everyone else.

    If this is the case (and I am convinced that it is) then I have only this to say:
    Are we becoming so self-conscious on this planet that we're worried about calling someone handsome?
    Come on, people! We're not in sixth grade, anymore, where every thing possible has a sexual implication, unwittingly or otherwise.

    Do you truly believe that, to recognize that someone is handsome, you must first desire to copulate with that person?

    What if I were to say that, say, my brother is handsome. Now I'm in big trouble.

    The point is, I get frustrated because I hate to see decent people held back by silly worries which seem to be imposed upon us from the time we are able to go to school until the time we depart from college.

    You can say how handsome a guy is, or a girl is, regardless of your gender.
     
  7. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    I understand what you are saying Atari, but I don't think there is anything wrong with being choosy with the words used to describe characters in a story. Some characters in some stories are gay and there are better and more subtle ways to express that than "he is gay". But at the same time the author may not want to send the wrong message either.

    As for the OP, I don't think the narrator's sexual orientation matters at all unless he is actually a character in the story (which I don't get from this brief extract). I tend to think of narrators in 3rd person stories as gender neutral anyways.
     
  8. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I think you're overstressing this. Adonis is fine. There's no reason to put selfconscious limitations on your work. What matters is consistency. If you're describing things from Simon's perspective, then just think - is he likely to describe the man that way? If so, then write it. If you are using your own words as the narrator, then consider the voice you have been using up until now... Does it sound natural with the voice you have developed? If so, then keep it.

    Few people are likely to give this a second thought... Heck, I've described my sister as a sex kitten, and she only laughs. She is one - and she knows it. So should I pretend to be utterly blind and stupid just because I'm related to her? I think not... And my brothers are very handsome too! My stepfather is smokin' hot for a man of 74 years lol. Telling it like it is does not imply attraction.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it's fine to use 'adonis', but as it is (to me) a slightly over-the-top way of describing a handsome man, I would use it to indicate sarcastic or begrudging (jealous?) thoughts on this man's appearance.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Are YOU the narrator (making it first person, which it doesn't sound like) or is it an uninvolved narrator just telling what's happening?

    If it's an uninvolved narrator in third person, and the POV is that of the person (Simon?) who sees the handsome man as an Adonis, then it's fine to use the word Adonis because the POV is that of the person who thinks he's an Adonis--i. e., Simon.

    Narrator and author are not usually the same being (except, as I said, in first person), and the otherwise uninvolved narrator can describe the thoughts/feelings of the current POV character in third person--i. e., the narrator serves as a sort of proxy for the POV character. You may want to look up more information on POV to learn more about how it's done.

    If it is a first-person story--i. e., it's told as "I," and you, the narrator, are a character in the story--then not only should you not refer to the man as an Adonis, but it's unlikely you can say outright that Simon is interested in him or not because you can't read Simon's thoughts. You can observe Simon's reaction, and say that you BELIEVE he's interested or not, but if you say that he IS, then it's coming close to headhopping.

    One can't tell from the excerpt if this is in first person or not.
     
  11. Arrow
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    hellomto,

    If I could 2nd tehuti88's suggestion about looking closer into POV information, my suggestion would be to visit Cogito's blog. I don't mean to pimp Cogito, but many of us have found his explanation with examples useful on getting perspective clearer.
    http://www.writingforums.org/blog.php?b=777
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, you can... but don't forget to capitalize it, as it's a name, not a thing... and here are some other corrections you need to make in that excerpt:

    hope that helps... love and hugs, maia
     

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