1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    the Use of Questions in Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Jan 30, 2012.

    How often do you use questions in dialogues or do you just prefer to use dialogue without them.
    The reason I ask is this

    could this question be made redundant because the answer does not fit the question

    for example this dialogue

    ''Is the bike Ok''? asked John
    ''the bike is in the box'' answered Seraphima .(presuming the ' I don't know' type of scenario)


    Is the question in this dialogue valid because the answer seems to be saying something esle and not
    No it isn't
    or
    Yes it is
    which are the expected answers.
     
  2. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    My opinion: both the question and the answer should be relevant to the story.
    Other than that, people don't always answer yes or no to a question they are asked. We do weird things, like avoid the question, give a dumb answer (to avoid responsibility, as in your example), and a whole host of other things. So, yes, your question is valid. John wants to know if the bike is ok. If it's his, or he just bought it, I don't see why he wouldn't ask.
    Now Seraphima, as you say, doesn't know. She gives a decent answer, but not the one John is looking for. She says its in the box. This is a truthful answer (I'm assuming), but Seraphima has avoided having the responsibility of possibly being wrong, perhaps because she thinks it might not be, or maybe she's stalling because she likes John, trying to talk to him some more, there are any number of motivations as to why she didn't tell him if it was indeed ok.

    In short, yes, your question is valid. By the mere fact that there is an answer, there should be a question. When we know the question, the answer tells us something about the person who gave the answer. Hope this helps.
     
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  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why would the characters feel the need to talk if there wasn't something they wanted to find out? It's through asking questions and receiving answers that a conversation develops.


    Questions don't always need clear "No/Yes, [explanation here]" answers. People are much too lazy for that in real life. Sometimes even just an action is an appropriate response: eg, X asks if Y has seen an object and instead of replying Y just points in the direction of it.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    That is a very helpful insight into a character that avoiding an answer.
    I never saw it that way.
    The hidden agendas as we call them.
    I liked the fact that you said that Seraphima maybe avoiding a clear answer because she likes John. Very clever insight into the mind of a person/character.

    @Yoshiko
    because the question in this instance is actually genuine. John needed to find out wether the bike was OK.
    The need to talk is for reassurance and comfirmation in this little dialogue and is part of the story.
    how do you mean?
    People don't converse?
    Not from where I come from talking is crucial.:)
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first comment was directed at this: "How often do you use questions in dialogues or do you just prefer to use dialogue without them."

    I meant that people are too lazy to talk in complete/proper sentences all the time. In a story it feels unnatural to see characters speak so formally dialogue.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'd use them whenever a character needs to ask one!... it would make no sense to never have any, since real people often ask questions in real life...

    i don't see how you can think it's redundant... it is a silly one, though, since if it's in the box and hasn't been seen yet, the person being asked can't know the answer... however, if the asker is not too bright, or not at his mental best at the the moment, it could be something he might ask... and answers don't always have to fit the questions... they often don't in real life, so shouldn't have to in writing fiction...

    answered above...
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Real people ask questions so questions in dialogue are perfectly fine, IMO. Don't see why questions in dialogue would even be an issue unless they are overused.
     

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