1. Spidermonkey
    Offline

    Spidermonkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0

    I need help - showing literal thoughts.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Spidermonkey, Mar 24, 2009.

    Is it possible to depict a characters thoughts during a pieces of dialog? If so is there a notification that should be used?

    For example,
    “How did you find me?” she had told George but surly her sister would not have betrayed her trust, would she?

    “Dose it matter?” Why would her daughter not want her to know where she was?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Either quote it like spoken dialogue, or omit the outermost level of quote marks. For more detail on punctuating dialogue, spoken and unspoken, check out He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that's not during dialog... it's after it... which makes it part of the narrative, though clearly inner dialog/thoughts, which do not go in " " as you've done correctly there...

    and the first example should have a capital 's' for 'surely' ['surly' is something else entirely ;-) ]...
     
  4. Spidermonkey
    Offline

    Spidermonkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you. That's very helpful. This is the first short story I have written and I am coming across things I never had to think about before. It so good to know there is somewhere I can come for help.
     
  5. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Shouldn't it be like the following example?

    “How did you find me?” she had asked George, but surely her sister would not have betrayed her trust, would she?
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No. Told is the correct word choice, and she should be capitalized. What follows te quoted question is not a tag, It is a separate, complete sentence of narrative:
    You could make everything after the closing quote a separate paragraph without changing the meaning. That's not a recommendation - I would leave it as one paragraph - but it illustrates that what follows the closing quote is not a tag.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    yup!... cog nailed it...

    it can't be 'asked' because 'told' is referring to something other than that line of dialog... what you seem to be getting at is this:

    and that only works if the male name 'george' refers to 'her sister' which is what causes some of the confusion...

    if 'george' is who she's speaking to and not the sister, then it has to be something like this:

     
  8. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Oh, I see. She is telling George about how she asked her sister.
     
  9. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    can't be sure till we hear back from the op... with that wording he posted and the male name, it's pretty confused/confusing...
     
  10. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    remove the 'had' too many fall prey to using it too frequently. If you can say the same without it, then why use it at all?

    As cog's pointed out, you have to seperation speech from thought, give the reader a chance to see the break in differences.
     
  11. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    If the person is writing in the simple past tense and they need to tell of a prior event they must use the past perfect tense. How else would you know if the event happened prior?

    She dumped that jerk and knew she had made the right choice.

    She dumped that jerk and knew she made the right choice.

    Using had changes the time when she knew she made the right choice.

    I would need to see the context to know if "had" is needed in the OP's sentence.
     
  12. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    i see what you are saying but


    She dumbed that jerk and knew she made the right choice

    it is the same, 'dumbed' shows the past, 'had' just interfers, also 'knew' shows its past as well.

    for had to be used it needs a reason to be there

    'Had she opened the door a moment earlier, she would have caught them in the act.'
     
  13. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Ha, I did type dumbed. I meant dumped. I will change it.

    She dumped that jerk and knew she made the right choice. (She knew she made the right choice after she dumped him, or at the same time as she was dumping him.)

    She dumped that jerk and knew she had made the right choice. (She knew she made the right choice before s he dumped him.)
     
  14. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    lol i was wondering what dumbed meant, thought it was a new saying..

    how about this, we will agree to disagree :) I do see what you are saying but see too often the over-reliance on that word.

    enjoyed this discussion and your thoughts and explanations.

    i am here to learn to write

    have a great day
     
  15. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Another example.

    She saw that she had stubbed her toe. (She stubbed her toe some time earlier and just now noticed it.)

    She saw that she stubbed her toe. (She just saw that she stubbed her toe.)
     
  16. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    She stubbed her toe. (seeing it doesn't need to be mentioned at all ) :) she felt it enough i'm sure.
     
  17. Sound of Silence
    Offline

    Sound of Silence Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Close to madness
    Both here 'Does it matter' and Why would her daughter want her...' are examples of Free indirect speech and thought with the reporting clauses moved.

    e.g.

    'Does it matter' (Free indirect speech without 'she said' after it)
    'Why would her daughter not want her to know where she was' (free indirect thought without 'she thought' after it)

    Do you need to signal that change between FIS and FIT'S... It just depends on personal taste and level of expertease. They're both techniques that can have dranatic effects on your writing and the characters you're portraying, so just use them wisely.
     
  18. lynneandlynn
    Offline

    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    I don't know who it was, but someone made the point that 'had' is being overused (which is true). It is a misconception to think that you always have to use the past perfect tense in order to show something that happened prior when writing in past tense. It actually took me a long time to correct this because it was a problem for me for a very long time. Currently, I'm working on the over-usage of the words "was" and "were."

    "She dumped that jerk and knew the had made the right choice." The way you recreate the sentence without had "She dumped that jerk and knew she made the right choice" doesn't work, you're correct on that. You have to restructure the whole sentence so it does make sense.

    I.e. She knew beforehand that by dumping the jerk, she would be making the right choice, and she dumped him that night.

    or

    After she dumped him, she felt relief course through her at her ability to follow through with a plan she knew could only make her happier.

    To rework a sentence without using past perfect tense, you have to restructure the whole sentence. I've learned that when you do that, the sentence tends to get more descriptive and more involved with the characters of the story.

    Not to mention, publishers will literally stop reading a story if they see too many "had" and "have" words in even a single page. Something to keep in mind.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Lynn, this is good advice, but what if it is more than one sentence? What if the MC is retelling a past event, and it continues on for a whole paragraph?

    How I ended up doing it was dropping most of the Had's in the paragraph, even though technically they should be there. I know you can do a flashback and tell the flashback in the simple past. Then just make it clear when the flashback ends and continue in the simple past.

    If you don't mind I will PM you the example. You might have a better idea about how to handle such things.

    I was thinking about the sample sentence you gave. After she dumped him, she felt relief course through her at her ability to follow through with a plan she knew could only make her happier.

    I would probably remove, she felt. After she dumped him, relief coursed through her, for she finally followed through with a plan she knew could only make her happier. That's probably not the best way to remove, she felt, in this sentence, though.
     
  20. Atari
    Offline

    Atari Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Louisiana
    If it's unorthodox, you probably won't get much positive feedback on it from anyone on a writing forum.
    Just a heads up.
     
  21. lynneandlynn
    Offline

    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    I answered your pm but there's always the simple way to do it

    Italicize the past event and turn it into a flashback- that way you get to use the past tense rather than resorting to past perfect. that's the only other method I can think of.

    It's not the best way to remove it. A better way would be- "After she dumped him, relief coursed through her as she finally managed to follow through with a plan designed to improve upon her happiness." or "Relief coursed through her after she dumped him, because she finally managed to follow through with a plan designed to improve upon her happiness."

    (Sorry I change wordings around a lot because I am always thinking of ways to improve the writing I do and the writing I see)
     
  22. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    there is a site that shows the frequency count of words you use, that i found helpful in removing from my pieces. It gives them in order of use. This is helpful as when we write or read our own work, we tend to brush over them as one would a breath.
     

Share This Page