1. PlotDeviceManager
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    PlotDeviceManager Member

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    The Purpose of a Quote?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PlotDeviceManager, Sep 24, 2012.

    Hello, my name is Sam.

    I would like to ask a question of all writers and readers. At the beginning of many novels (or the chapters in them), there is one or several quotes. My question is, what is the true purpose of these quotes?

    It is it to condense the ideas or themes of the story? Is it suppose to convey a certain feeling or message? I am not sure if there is a grammarical(?) rule about a quote's purpose; I'm more interested in opinions anyway.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is for whatever purpose the author intended. There is no standard.
     
  3. PlotDeviceManager
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    PlotDeviceManager Member

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    Cool. Good to know I didn't miss some rule in English class (did they always teach the good stuff while I was sleeping?).

    Do you have an opinion on its purpose, though; something you feel it should or shouldn't do for the story?
     
  4. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    It definitely shouldn't be there just because, to make the story look better. Although I think you probably figured that out.

    I probably would use it myself in two contexts. Either 1) to reinforce something that is going on in a story (actually that's sort of vague...) or 2) in a fantasy/sci-fi story, a fictional quote to provide some background about the setting.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sometimes it's just because the author wants to put it there, but others will use it to help set up the chapter. I've seen King do both, so there's no rhyme or reason.
     
  6. Jayce
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    Jayce Member

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    Good question. I've wondered to this myself.

    I usually skip over these quotes (especially if they're at thhe beginning of every chapter) and get right to the story.
     
  7. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    I always read the quotes. I expect them to do one or more of several things: add a bit of background in a way that is more interesting than just narration telling me the same thing, give a famous person's take on something relevant to the chapter, add a bit of humor or irony, or perhaps foreshadow something coming up.
     
  8. Anthrax
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    Anthrax Member

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    For the most parts, I think quotes are used to set tone.

    If done at the beginning of the book it will set the tone most of the book, if done at chapters its sets the tone for the chapter.

    For example: if you read the following quote at the beginning of the book what would you think about:

    A pale horse: and him that sat upon it was Death.
    Revelation, VI, 8

    Now if the same quote was at the beginning of a chapter.



    If done properly, I think quotes can really enhance a book or story.
     
  9. PlotDeviceManager
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    PlotDeviceManager Member

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    I pretty much agree with everyone. A quote is really just an author's tool, and tone is really the most appropriate use of it.

    But, I've a second question, if I may.

    How do you feel about quote sources? I am specifically thinking of video games, but other "odd" sources: television shows, magazines, commercials, and so on. I'm not quote happy, I swear! Again I'm just fishing for opinions.
     
  10. Roger Morris
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    Roger Morris New Member

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    Quotes are there to show out a specific point in something and with regards to stories, it tells in a compressed way what the story is all about, what the story has in its content...
     

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