1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inverted commas for names

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by OurJud, Sep 18, 2015.

    Should a list of AKAs be in inverted commas?

    As in:

    He was using komazol, also known as 'buffalo', 'black tea', 'sprite'...

    Or simply:

    He was using komazol, also known as buffalo, black tea, sprite...

    Thanks.
     
  2. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    Might depend a little on context, but generally, I'd go with the second example.
     
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  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm referring to a fictitious drug. My MC has just noticed signs around his friend's place that tell him he's on this drug. It's part of the narrative, not dialogue.

    Sorry, should have explained all that in the OP.
     
  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unlike @Bookster , I prefer the first version...

    Assuming that komazol is the "official" name of the drug, it sounds more like a manufacturers trade name (like Nurofen is Reckitt's brand name for Ibuprofen) than the generic name.

    Also, why is the MC thinking to himself "Hmm, he's on the drug Komazol. I know that the street names include buffalo, black tea and sprite..."? It makes him sound like an enormous tool. Or an info-dump.
     
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  5. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it is only a first draft, but 'enormous tool' is not good however you look at it :D

    I was basing it on the way real drugs are named, as in 'Heroin' being the common name, but then it has various other 'street names' such as 'black tar', 'white horse', 'brown', etc etc.

    Out of interest, how would you suggest he could be made to sound like less of a tool? Are you saying I should just use one of the street names and nothing more?

    This is the problem with naming fictitious drugs. If I say 'heroin' it's automatically accepted because it's so familiar. People know exactly what it is and never question it. Technically speaking, I don't see why the name 'komazol' is any less of an appropriate name for a drug than 'heroin'.

    The reason I don't simply use heroin as the drug, is because A, it's connotations are too 'heavy'. B, I don't feel qualified. And C, I need the drug to have a particular effect on the user.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Less of a tool? Just use one name, I'd use the technical name...you can feed the street names in later if you need a dealer to talk about "buffalo".

    Nothing WRONG with Komazol, it just sounds - to me - like a drug company name.
     
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  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know, I think you're right. I may have spotted this during subsequent drafts and re-writes, but maybe not. My MC is not exactly a stranger to drugs, but he's certainly no dealer or any kind of authority.

    You've also convinced me Komazol sounds too much like a pain-killer. Feel free to suggest some alternatives, cos I've racked my brain silly over the last few months, trying to come up with one.
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    What does the drug look like?
    I called my fake drugs in my wip - hoof and evies. Hoof because of the markings on the pill. And evies,.. actually I have no idea why I picked evies. Maybe because the men covet them more and an it's a women reference - who knows.

    Maybe take a word and swap out a letter - sometimes I think that's how Jeff Noon came up with Vurt. Hurt - Vurt.
     
  9. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, man. Vurt. That book gave me a headache. I lost patience with it somewhere around page 140.

    Anyway, my drug comes in liquid form, in those little glass 'use once' vials where you snap them at the neck. It's the colour of piss (in my head) but I suppose it could be any colour.

    The thing is, street/nicknames are not a problem. I've been looking at nicknames for real drugs, and it really is just a case of sticking a pin into a random page of a dictionary.

    But I want the official name - not necessarily the scientific name - but the common name, as in heroin, cocaine, marijuana.
     
  10. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Are you still taking votes on the format of this? If so, I like the second example, without the quotations. To me, it reads more naturally.

    He was using komazol, also known as 'buffalo', 'black tea', 'sprite'...

    It might just be me, but having the little quotes in there slows down the flow, like you're conspicuously accentuating the words. People don't break pace when they drop a drug name in conversation, they just say it.

    I wanted some buffalo.

    I wanted some 'buffalo'.


    Having the quotes in place just makes me half-pause and almost do air-quotes for it in my head. o_O
     
  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand that, but I did point out in my second post that this is taken form the narrative, not the dialogue. Not that this makes any difference to your view, but I tell you just in case it does.

    There's a 99.9% chance it's going to change by the final draft anyway, but opinions are still welcome.
     
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  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I preferred Automated Alice, from him, myself.

    Have you tried random word generators?
     
  13. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The quotes don't bother me but I don't think they're necessary. I go by a general 'only use it if it's needed or adds something' rule, so I would take them out.

    Komazol sounds too much like the name of a medicine, to me. Probably because of co-codamol. Of the ones you listed, I think sprite sounds the most realistic for a drug. I'm not very imaginative though :)
     
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  14. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or to put it another way, I want the name your elderly parents or other authority would use for the drug.
     
  15. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Hey, I like black tea for a drug nickname. Sounds badass.
     
  16. OurJud
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  17. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I missed that post.

    I just did a quick search to find out how cocaine and heroin were named but there doesn't seem to have been any logic to it. Interesting that both were originally marketed as medicinal drugs, so originally cocaine and heroin were deemed suitable names like co-codamol. I suppose it's only familiarity that makes then sound un-medicine-like to us.
     
  18. OurJud
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    Exactly! And for this reason I fear no 'official' name is going to ring true.

    As for heroin, it's so called because it was developed in Germany. Field testers reported feeling 'heroic', so the name is a bastardisation of the German word for 'heroic'
     
  19. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ahh, I read that it was German but not the reason for the name. What effect does your drug have on the user? Maybe brainstorm words associated with the effects and see what comes up? I work in marketing and that's how we arrive at names for new products. ;)

    Of course, that might be how you came up with komazol...
     
  20. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is :)

    'Koma' is the German word for 'coma'. The drug has similar effects to ketamine, and renders the user pretty much immobile, while still being aware of what's going on.
     
  21. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You might have already seen this: http://www.news-medical.net/health/List-of-Sedatives.aspx

    Triodal? Sounds kind of official but also a bit street.
    Kavadam
    Loradol
    Nitrodol
    Sedipam

    I'll stop now. I'm really not very imaginative.
     
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  22. OurJud
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    You work in marketing! :bigtongue:

    Anyway, I hadn't seen that list. Interesting that all but one of the 'Benzos' end in '...am'

    Thank you.

    I very much like triodal.
     
  23. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Second example. You could use inverted commas if it was one specific name for emphasis, but not for a series of names.

    Also, on a side note, you put the comma inside the inverted comma/speech mark. Also known as 'name,' 'name,' 'name.' ;)
     
  24. Tenderiser
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    Both ways are correct. It's largely regional.
     
  25. The Mad Regent
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    I've never, in my entire life, seen commas outside speech marks or inverted commas. Sorry, but if there is a region where they do that in the English language, then it's not on planet Earth.

    :superwink:
     

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