1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    How do sounds in dialogue work (such as coughing)?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Flying Geese, Jan 21, 2016.

    I was just skimming through GRRM's A Storm of Swords and I made it to a part I saw on Youtube where a character is coughing a lot. According to this ebook, the dialogue is as follows:

    "I want to see, kof, see you ride that, kof kof ..."

    And so now I'm like ... I guess you can just use whatever you want to show things in whatever way you feel will work? I've never heard of coughing being illustrated (written) this way. I like it. I am just trying to get a feel for this writing game. I love when I see rules (or what I thought was a rule) broken.

    Has anyone else encountered writing in novels that you felt broke the rules well?
     
  2. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    I've heard that kind of thing in audio books before too. Now I'm wondering if I've seen it in text and just automatically skimmed it or imagined it without processing it. That is really interesting. How would you show it?
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Welcome to writing, where the rules are made up and the points don't matter.
     
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  4. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Up until today I was thinking to show it simply by letting the reader imply it with ellipsis, or if I were really desperate to show it (like if a character were dying) then I would have tried "*cough*".
     
  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    With that example I'd be thinking "wait, who's Kof? Why isn't his name capitali... oh. He's coughing. Okay."
     
  6. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    I would have just gone with an ellipsis and say "he said coughing heavily" or something like that.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sounds like something Tom Wolfe would do. He interrupts dialogue a lot for men to giving cat yowls - Aiyyyeeeee - and stuff like that. He's got a knack for not making it stand out. I think because his work is so loose and bouncy to begin with.

    I've also seen this sort of thing done in the Babysitter's Club it was a favorite trick of Ann M. Martin to get one of the girls with their mouth full and type out a sentence like
    "Lefs halvg a slis oper." Translated after a swallow - let's have a sleepover.
     
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