1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    subtilty in writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Nov 17, 2011.

    how important or not is SUBTETLY?
    I often get put off by reading shall coarse too descriptive language and switch off.
    I find subtitly much more amusing and relaxing to take in.

    I am trying to gather thoughts how touse subtitly in writing.


    for example

    he kept shouting with his mighty forcefull voice and grabing everyhting in his way to see if he could get a reaction.
    he chucked chairs and ornaments as he made his way through the lounge only to find no one was there.
    he became red in the face so angry at himself he suddenly slouched on a chair nearby
    .


    how would I use subtilty in this example?
     
  2. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I think you're talking about Subtlety, if you mean something else, forgive me.

    In the example you've given, I don't think any kind of subtlety is called for at all. The character's not being subtle, presumable the overall scene is a very passionate and confrontational one.
    You've certainly used some redundant words, but I'm guilty of that myself so I can't shout too hard about it.

    I think subtlety will come more in the plot than the actual writing so I wouldn't worry too much about specific sentences.
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... What? Subtlety isn't something you can or should just inject into any scene. Subtlety is an art form in and of itself that you need to practice. You can't just pick it up with examples. It's like trying to explain sarcasm to an eleven year old.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    yes it is a spelling error.thank you for correcting me.
    how do you by redundant words?
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I am talking about subtelty in writing.:)
     
  6. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    Redundant word combinations like "mighty forcefull" in this context, they would both mean the same thing, you could use just one.
     
  7. Cacian
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    oh I see.
    so you would not use mighty forcefull in one go.
    I don't mighty the same as forcefull why do you?
    I try and use subtetly with words.
    how do you use subtetly in context?
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    And again, it's not something that can be taught through examples. You can't just put it into a scene just for the sake of making something "subtle".
    You need to have a reason to be subtle. Something is either subtle, or it's obvious. What you're talking about is a man charging about a room for no reason. Subtlety has no place in that. What could you possibly want to be subtle?
    I mean, you might have subtle overtones of sexual frustration or you might add in a subtle reference to a song or something, but you can't just add in subtlety. Being subtle, again, is an art form in and of itself. It can be used well, or it shouldn't be used at all. Think about what you actually want to be subtle and make it subtle. Practise.
    You can't just make something generally subtle.
     
  9. TurtleWriter
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    TurtleWriter Member

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    I agree with Crucifiction. The scene you are describing cannot be put in subtle forms. His actions are quite obvious and you can't suggest his actions in an undertone, hidden between the lines. You can subtly suggest reasoning behind his apparent anger. The only line in the paragraph that you could apply subtly to is the last line. For example, instead of saying straight out that he's angry you could do this:

    "He took notice that no one was in the room. Then, he became red faced and slammed his fists into the bar. He let out a scream of frustrations, in-spite the lack of audience."

    Thus, you know he's angry without telling your reader that he's actually angry.
     
  10. forgotmypen
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    There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. Subtlety has its place, and it's not in that scene.

    There is some unnecessary wording in this scene. Such as: "Suddenly slouched on a chair nearby." One doesn't suddenly slouch. Omitting that word would actually sound better. It's the same thing with "Mighty forceful", though that was already mentioned.

    Instead of worrying about subtlety, I would focus on making your writing simple and clean until you can perfect the art of writing. THEN worry about the extra details--such as subtlety.
     
  11. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Being subtle doesn't stick out like dog's balls. Hence, why it is subtle. You cannot just go about inserting it into passages. It must come naturally from the need of the author having to describe a scene in a way that is subtle. And it pays also not to think of subtlety as being the same as an economy of words.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that there's redundancy here--"mighty" and "forceful" say almost the same thing, and to some extent they're redundant with "shouting". I realize that they don't say _exactly_ the same thing, but sometimes you have to pick the most important adjective. If you have a lot of them together, the reader won't focus on any of them.

    For example, you might call something "fragile and delicate". These two words don't have to mean the same thing - a big featureless chunk of glass might be fragile but still visually massive and powerful looking, and a snowflake ornament carved out of titanium might be visually delicate but not the least bit fragile. But all the same, the two words feel redundant, so you usually have to pick the one that communicates the more important message. The same is true of "mighty forceful" - you need to pick one, and in fact I think I'd eliminate both, in favor of a sentence that can take a word like "boomed".

    I'd also suggest more detail and less summarizing and explaining. This is presumably an important scene, one worth some space for detail. And I think that detail and a bit of narrative distance, and refraining from explanation, can add the subtlety that you want.

    In fact, I'm indulging myself in a rewrite. I see at least one large problem with the below: What's the viewpoint? But it does demonstrate what I mean by detail, and it might demonstrate what I mean by distance, even if it does it badly:

    "Deanna!"

    A man's voice boomed across the hotel lobby, but no one listened; a few heads turned for a moment, and then returned to their teacups, their newspapers, their conversations. The man started for the lounge, stomping his booted feet on the hard marble floor like a toddler in a late-for-bedtime temper.

    Halfway there and seeing all eyes still averted, he pulled a leather armchair back on its rear legs. It teetered for a moment, then thumped to the floor. A few people glanced up; energized by the audience, he knocked a lamp over in passing and nodded as its china base crashed to pieces behind him. A few steps later, he used both arms to overturn a waiter's cart laden with tea settings. The spoons were still rattling when he shoved through the swinging doorway to the lounge.

    And found no one there. Not Deanna, not Deanna's lover, not so much as a waitress or bellman.

    He stared at the room, the empty couch and chairs, his face growing redder. He drew air in for another roar. Then he released that breath voicelessly and dropped into a chair. He was still there, staring straight ahead and gripping the chair's gilded arms, when Security entered three minutes later. He didn't resist when they took him away.​


    ChickenFreak
     
  13. TurtleWriter
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    TurtleWriter Member

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    Chick Freak, I really liked your rewrite and the details. It was easy to visualize in my head.
     
  14. AmsterdamAssassin
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    Rodriguez became still and his nostrils flared slightly as his lips went thin and his irises drew into pinpoints. For a moment he looked at her directly and Eleonora felt something shrivel deep inside her. Then his gaze seemed to go through her and beyond. Without another word he turned on his heel and stalked away on stiff legs, his shoulders hunched and his hands clenching and unclenching at his sides.
     

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