1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Missing word...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mckk, Mar 21, 2012.

    I'm at a loss. My character is about to tell a lie, so that he could go and do what he needs to without revealing it to the others. What he's doing is a good thing (in this case, an attempt to save his beloved).

    Now what kind of instinct would you say that is? His XXX instincts...? And I don't want "criminal instinct" because it's too strong.

    Help!
     
  2. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Not sure I understand your point?
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    same here... i don't see why you need to bring 'instincts' of any kind into it at all...
     
  4. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    Not sure about instincts, but what you are describing is a 'white lie'
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess I'm trying to imply that, since he's a thief, his instincts of how to get around things and get creative with the truth to get what he wants kinda came to life at this point.

    Hmm, perhaps the blah-blah instincts is a bad way to go... perhaps I should keep it simple and simply say, "he lied"?
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why can't you just say, "he said"? Is it important that the reader knows he's lying at the time? It might be effective to have the reader believe he's telling the truth, and then learn that he lied by watching his actions.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that I don't see any reason to explain or describe his motivation at all. The reader will see him say X and do Y. They'll figure out that he lied. :)
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In all honesty, I was thinking that the reader may know intuitively that my character is lying anyway.

    Basically, the order things happened is like this:
    1. Girl gets kidnapped and boy is told to come to the Underworld if he wants her alive (needless to say there's the 'tell no one and come alone' principle).
    2. Boy runs off to find the temple because that's where he will find out how to get into the Underworld.
    3. Gets to the temple. Load of priests obviously want something different from him.
    4. During the conversation boy finds out the mirror behind him is the gateway through to the other realms, including the Underworld.

    So naturally, boy asks how does he use it. Since it's a big secret, the priests aren't just gonna tell him, so they ask him why he wants to know.

    So here's where he tells a lie.

    Do you think it'd be obvious enough that it's a lie, based on that context?
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    With the kind of instinct that suggested he did not have sex with that woman ? Maybe have him concerned about his nose growing or his pants catching fire? He can just hear it in his head.
     
  10. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I think it will be quiet clear, if all the events you've listed are known by the reader then of course they know why he wants to go to the underworld so they can tell he's lying. Even if the reader don't know why he's going down there, when he gets there and does what he has to do, the reader will realise that he lied before.

    If I was the reader I'd prefer not to be told out loud 'He LIED', it's not a very complicated situation to figure out.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thank you everyone for your responses. I can see now my initial way of trying express the lie is a little, er, clumsy.

    Phoenix, thank you for the feedback - I'll do as you suggested. Now it's simply been replaced with "he said" rather than "lied", and the instinct thing is gone altogether.

    Elgaisma - thank you for the idea, it's very creative! Unfortunately it wouldn't work, because my point with the instinct thing was that, since he's so used to being a thief and lying to get around, he's not afraid to lie at all. In fact, it's easy and almost second nature to him. And the nose-growing thing would be too amusing for the scene :) but thanks!
     
  12. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    "his ____insticts" is telling rather then showing. You tell the reader he has ____, rather then showing them he has it.

    Depending how you write it, you might even show and tell in the same paragraph, which is a waste. I find many times I tell something and then show it anyway, that is why I edit, edit, & eidt.
     

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