1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Voice in head?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GuardianWynn, Jan 27, 2015.

    So in this story I have a character that hears voices. It is like a demon inside her talking to her. Only she can hear it. Sometimes it happens a lot in a scene, sometimes it just one sentence out of no where. What are the kind of effects in writing that could be used to show this? Without confusing the reader?

    Edit

    List of Recommendation
    1. Italics without speech tags.
    2. Traditional text with speech tags.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The closest I have had to this is private conversations (as in through some sort of nano device discharging electrical impulses into the brain) with an AI computer; and I used italics without speech marks.
     
  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok. I gonna make a list of recomandations. Didn't think it as gonna take long for italics to make the list.
     
  4. FrankieWuh
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    I'm another who uses italics, but I make sure the speech sounds like someone else, not the character's. The trick for me is getting all that character into one sentence at a time without any description whatsoever so you just know this isn't the character's inner monologue, or at least not their natural one ...
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are the voices associated with named characters? That is, not necessarily real characters, but does your character see them as entities with names?
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    This entity is real and can have a name. It does eventually gain a name but at the moment it doesn't have a name. It usually gets referred to as a demon or inner self or inner darkness at the moment.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My solution would probably just be speech tags.

    Jane approached the refreshments table. Ooh, cream puffs.

    "You'll get fat," said It.

    Jane shook her head. Bleeping disembodied diet police. Just to show It, she picked up a plate and took three puffs, and a ladle of chocolate sauce. So there.

    It protested, "Refined sugar is pooooison."

    Jane stabbed one of the puffs with a fork. "Oh, shut up." Oops. Did she say that out loud? Judging from the waiter's expression, yes, she did. She smiled, brightly. "Bluetooth."
     
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  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is what I was currently doing but the reader said it was confusing for this voice to appear randomly without something special indicating its special.
     
  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know what would make this better: -

    Only joking.
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    What did you do? I can't tell
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Grrrrrr.

    :)
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Added those Evil Evil Italics.
     
  13. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    HAAHA I can't even see it.

    To context the person thought this was out of place

    (All that mattered was it seemed like she moments from death as he drew his second sai and went to stab her. She caught it, struggling with all she was to not let it kill her.
    The man was surprised for all his effort he simply could not bring it down on her. “Your pretty strong, it don't matter though. You can't keep this up forever. Just let it in, I promise I'll settle it quick.”
    “Or let me out,” Valorie heard a whisper in her mind say.
    “No!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.)

    Thing is this would be the first moment of this. Like Valorie having a inner voice isn't a know thing til this.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My opinion: italics work for short inner monologue segments. If however, the inner monologue is extensive, italics can be distracting. If your character is constantly hearing voices in his/her head, the reader will likely know that by the pattern of the text. You may not need anything, tags or italics.

    Quotes for this are optional:
    “Or let me out,” Valorie heard a whisper in her mind say.​
    On the one hand you shouldn't use them when the quote is a thought. On the other hand you can use them in this circumstance because the quote is a voice heard in the character's head.

    Re the italics, since you are explaining the thought is heard, the tag is needed and italics would just be redundant.

     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    I would find this confusing, because the syntax --quotes, comma, character name-- leads you to see this as Valorie's thought or statement, and then you have to re-read and figure it out.

    “Or let me out,” Valorie said...
    “Or let me out,” Valorie heard...

    I'd probably put it in another paragraph:

    The man.... "....Just let it in, I promise I'll settle it quick.”
    “Or let me out." A whisper, but not in Valorie's ear; she heard it in her mind.
    “No!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.
     
  16. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So your saying in this context it is needed to be a quote with a tag?

    The real issue I guess is more that since this is the first moment. This moment sort of has a "What the fuck? She hears voices? Wait why?" kind of a feel to it. Think there is something to do about that? After this point that won't be as much of an issue. lol.

    Wait what exactly was wrong here? Also Valorie didn't say the line "or let me out"
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, you already had a quote with a tag. My issue was that it felt like a quote tagged to Valorie. But looking at my own rewrite, I don't think I separated it from her enough. Maybe more abrupt, and tagless?

    The man.... "....Just let it in, I promise I'll settle it quick.”
    “Or let me out."
    Who the Hell was that? “No!” Valorie shouted at the top of her lungs.
     
  18. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except its the audience that doesn't know where this is coming from. Valorie is well familiar with this voice but she hasn't named it well anything other than, demon or monster or evil. She tries to ignore it all the time.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    I'm saying if quotes are ever acceptable for thoughts, this is one case where they are. But it's really the author's choice. It works with or without in this case.

    As for the tags vs italics vs quotes vs nothing: Again, it depends on the piece. A story narrated by a character that spends a great deal of time in his/her head probably needs nothing. A character that hears voices but the thoughts don't constitute a large part of the text might be better with quotes and tags.

    You need to decide what works better for the piece you are writing.


    [side note] 'You're' is the contraction for 'you are'. You've written that as 'your' more than once now. [/side note]
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    Ah, so the character is familiar with it, but the reader isn't? Hmm. That makes me go to this, though I'd have to see it in context to decide if it would work:

    The man.... "....Just let it in, I promise I'll settle it quick.”
    “Or let me out."
    Oh, shut up. “No!” Valorie shouted at the top of her lungs.
     
  21. GuardianWynn
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    It flexes. There will be moments she argues with it long and hard. Moments it never comes up and moments like this is comes up for a moment then vanishes.

    On the side note. Crap! I do miss things like that more often than you would think.

    Why does it need a "Oh, shut up"? Why is that not quoted? And this looks like it begs even more questions not less.
     
  22. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Coming to this late...

    I'm with what I think is the consensus, that it's a separate entity doing the talking in her head, and thus deserves its own quotation marks and tag.

    However, my understanding of people who hear voices is that they "know" who the intruder is, and will have named it (and, where they host several voices, they know them all by name... "Oh, that's Kevin butting in...again!"), so I'd suggest that Valorie does that, rather than deferring naming it like some parent who can't think of what to call their baby.

    It will, of course, throw the reader to have Valorie and The Man alone in a room when "Kevin" suddenly butts in...

    I think it's also been suggested that Kevin's speech be different from Valorie's...possibly have him speaking in Shakespearean? After all, he's a demon from an earlier time if I'm reading correctly.
     
  23. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well Valorie does not like it. She does not try to listen to it. She tries heavily to think that it is her imagination that it isn't real. She denies it. I think if she were to ever call it she would shout it by the term "Demon! Evil Thing or Darkness"

    Actually this thing was born inside of Valorie. So it would likely have gained all of its knowledge of language from Valorie.

    Thanks for the advice on the using tags.
     
  24. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    So taking all the advice above, I think we have the following revision: -

    "...Just let it in, I promise I'll settle it quick.”
    “These gates are all shut up. Why will you not allow me contentment in liberty?” said Kevin in her mind.
    Oooh bugger, Kevins back. “No!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.
     
  25. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wait Wait Wait Wait. he was making random reference. First it doesn't have a name at this point. Second it doesn't have a weird speech pattern. lol

    So girl named Valorie getting stabbed and her inner self which is nameless. Also I suppose the assassin but he was just unnamed out of sheer unimportance. lol
     

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