1. Nightscrawler
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    Nightscrawler New Member

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    Using scare quotes to denote irony or ridicule

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Nightscrawler, Jan 19, 2015.

    When writing in 3rd person omniscient, is it best to use scare quotes to imply that the narrator is poking fun at a character? For example:

    S hid herself from view, leaning her back against the wall. Concealment—it was an old habit she’d not yet broken, even after years of therapy. As a child, locking herself in a closet had been the only way she could tune out the sounds of yelling parents and breaking plates. Huddled in the dark, choking on the scent of mothballs, she would wish for the power of Jesus, someone who could turn hate into love. Instead, the louder the screaming got, the deeper her fingers went in her ears and the more she burrowed behind her clothes.

    S was an adult now, though. She could finally be the “savior” she’d always fantasized about.

    I'm trying to show the reader why S has a deeply ingrained desire to resolve conflict while also conveying a sense that the narrator is making fun of her for being naive and having a savior complex, even though S would never talk about herself that way.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks!
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're in S's POV. S doesn't mock herself in that way. So this doesn't work for me. In fact, "always fantasized about" seems to break POV, too; does she think of it as a fantasy, or as a plan or goal? "...she'd always wanted to be" would, IMO, work better.

    Edited to add: I belatedly see that this is intended to be third person omniscient. I don't see it that way; I read it as close third person limited.
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The intent of the "" isn't clear to me.

    Like Chicken I read this as third person limited, but if you are going with omniscient you could say something to the effect of: -

    She would consider herself a savoir, but she would probably be the only one.

    Or it might be argued that her upbringing had had little ill-effect; other than to imbue her with a Messiah complex.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi, welcome to the forum. I don't know what "scare quotes" are.

    After you've been here a couple weeks we might be able to actually critique your excerpt. But for now I don't understand the question. Maybe it's just me? :confused:
     
  5. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    I don't think quotes help you here. It makes it seem like this is a quote from someone else, like maybe several people in her life have called her this before and now she is using their words. Otherwise, it seems like irony, and I also wouldn't use quotes for that. I like @Chinspinner's suggestion.
     
  6. Nightscrawler
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    Nightscrawler New Member

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    Thanks, everyone for your insight! This feedback leads to me to another one: Is it OK to switch from 3rd person limited to omniscient if it serves the story? That is, to communicate a story that starts off limited to one character, but then, in a sense, zooms out to reveal a broader world and other characters?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If it's done right. It will have to be clear to the reader that you've changed POVs and I think in the case you describe, it would be difficult to pull off.
     

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