1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    How can you make a reader feel dizzy?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Aug 26, 2011.

    The title sort of says it all. Or if not dizzy, give them a really topsy turvy sensation. I've tried thinking of some awesome visual scenes in movies that really make your head spin and make you think "wow awesome" but I don't know how to really make a person dizzy like from reading. thoughts?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Really confusing descriptions make me dizzy...
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Film and writing are two very different forms of media - a single well done shot in cinematography can establish a setting for the rest of the movie. In writing, such heavy info dumps would only hinder the reader. I'd say have that same weight and scale of the spectacle but spread it over the entire chapter to reduce the pressure on the reader.
     
  4. jpeter03
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    jpeter03 Member

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    Long, flowing sentences that build in intensity and sophistication can do this, or maybe even one continuous sentence. You find this technique in stream-of-consciousness novels, but it's very, very hard to master. Make sure to end it with a bang, something that inspires an epiphany in the reader. That's a tough task...

    Either that or make the font of each word 1/4 the size of the previous word.
     
  5. AllThingsMagical
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    AllThingsMagical Member

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    I guess the film inception kind of did this to me in the sense I came out of the cinema questioning reality. Other than that though I can't think of any other examples. I think it was the concept being new and sort of scary that did it.
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I came out questioning Nolan's pseudo-intellectualism.

    Ok, off topic.

    I'm wondering if OP really means dizzy, literally? Blurry vision, loss of depth perception, loss of balance? No text can do that. No film I've seen, either -- except for iMax cinema, perhaps. Made me feel nauseated, actually. If you're going for that effect, include a bag of bad grass with your book?
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Syntax -- sentence structure, word order, punctuation choices, passive/active voice, etc -- is the most powerful tool for creating any given tone.

    Long, run-on sentences (grammatically correct, mind you, but long..Hemingway style) will make the reader feel as close to dizzy as a writer could pull off, but that's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

    Have you read Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves"? That's written in a very topsy-turvy style. Every appearance of the word "house" is blue; the text is arranged in unusual ways on the page; etc. Lots of readers have gotten dizzy reading it; you should check it out.
     
  8. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ ǝʇıɹʍ

    or in more seriousness, I think it's probably not a useful thing to do in writing. The reader is more likely to get frustrated at being confused by the writing, and the feeling won't be heightening the story, but instead pushing away the reader. Best to make your characters dizzy, and have the reader empathise with them.

    Any kind of disruption to the reader is usually bad, unless you're a really good writer.
     
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  9. Kseniya
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    Kseniya New Member

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    Do you mean to make them dizzy or to make them say "wow awesome"? Those might be two different and opposite things. To say, "wow awesome" in an "I didn't see that coming" way, you'd have to set us the story with one set of assumptions, convince the reader of the normalcy and realism of the situation, then pull the proverbial rug out from under them. You do that by undermining what everyone had believed to be true. To do this, you need to give them a crystal clear understanding for the entire bulk of the story preceding your big moment. It can't be vague or confusing -- just the opposite. When the big surprise comes out, that needs to be described very clearly, as well. You are, hopefully, not trying to make your WRITING confusing, but to confuse the reader with the events you are describing. The dizziness has to happen inside the reader's mind, not on your page.

    If what you mean to do is to set up a very theatrical scene in writing, a good way to do that is to zoom in and out of the action. There might be a flurry of activity or conversation, bullets flying, the world ending... but, every so often, you focus on something small and stationary, like a sunset, or the way a single snow flake floats down in the middle of the conflict, or your main character's regrets for what he is about to lose (including his grip on reality?).

    One excellent example I can think of is the battle at the end of the Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. If you don't know what this is, please don't run out and just read the end!!! It's quite cinematographic, but the emotional storm comes from the attachments developed throughout the book. Incidentally, they are making this book into a movie. Eventually.
     
  10. therealdjcamm
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    therealdjcamm New Member

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    You mention the power of film to describe the effect you want. Whilst literature lacks the cinematic audio/visual experience, film can still make the audience 'dizzy' to a certain extent just by using the plot and narrative.

    An example, in 2001: A Space Odyssey there is a jump cut from a scene where an ape man throws a bone into the air after learning how to use tools. As the bone falls back to earth we jump cut 4 million years into the future and see an orbital weapon in place of the bone. No sweeping score or fancy CGI was needed to throw the audience completely off track, just the arrangement of narrative and setting. Other examples like this exist and its something i recommend you look into.

    Another way you could potentially achieve 'dizziness' would be to use self reference; breaking the fourth wall for instance. Having a character understand the fictionality (made up word, apologies) of their existence, even in the slightest, most minute way could stir something deep within the readers mind. You should watch Stranger Than Fiction if you already haven't to get a rough idea of what i mean.

    Other than this I struggle to comprehend how that effect could be created. Good luck with your endeavors, would be interested in reading any attempts you make.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure I understand the intent. To make the reader actually feel dizzy from reading the text? I'm not sure anyone would want to do this. I suffer from vertigo, and believe me if someone gave me a book to read that made me feel dizzy I'd not only not want to read it, I'd want to do something particularly horrible to the writer.

    Or do you mean you want the reader to appreciate the dizziness experienced by the MC? That's different and easier to achieve. Simply describe the experience as realistically / graphically as you can.

    Cheers.
     
  12. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Instead of writing the text from left to right and top to bottom, change it every couple of lines. Have the text suddenly upside down so the reader has to turn the book. Increase and decrease the font size. Have it printed in wavy lines rather than straight.

    That would certainly make me feel dizzy. It would also make me put down the book, mind you.
     
  13. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Setting aside typographical things, there are the sort of people who are easily moved by stuff in books and those who aren't, and then a subset of the people who are have vertigo. Just mention how high up the character is with nothing underneath them and I guarantee all the people who are A: moved by fiction and B: hate heights will all reach down to make sure there is still a solid chair beneath them.

    It's as simple as that.
     
  14. GreenRain
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    GreenRain Member

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    Try HP Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu,, 1928. Hay, it inspired me and kicked my central story back into motion. And it might give you a sense of the kind of writing your are looking for.
     
  15. Kalpea_Tuli
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    Kalpea_Tuli Member

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    The part in The Master and Margarita when there are like a hundred new characters entering the scene, and walking around in thje different floors, appartments and rooms of a house made me feel the closest to "dizzy" I could as a reader. As the characters are introduced, you don't realize they are ephemeral and feel like going back to the beginning of the chapter to figure it all out again. Then you turn the page and on to the next chapter and you realize that passage was just a spasm of confusion there for a purpose.
     

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