1. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13

    Wordy Phrases

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Leonardo Pisano, Mar 17, 2011.

    My main antagonist is an aristocrat (in title) who is arrogant and thinks of himself that he is entitled to become the world leader. To enforce his style I want to make him speak in wordy phrases and "impressive" language (uncommon words and such).
    Question: would this strategy be appropriate, indeed strengthening this character, or would it simply be discarded as overdoing/poor writing? (i.a.w.: Should I worry about an editor taking the red pencil?)
     
  2. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    You are welcome to see scenes I have written with my Abbot and get your own opinion - PM me if you want them. I make his language grandiose/verbose etc and he is a much loved character of mine.

    I also have a malaprop who tries to 'talk posh' but gets it wrong.

    I love characters like this they have been used before my brain isn't thinking of any right now lol
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    It's fine, so long as the reader gets the gist of what he's saying.

    So less is more in my opinion.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Often sentence structure and the way of address is a lot more important than just using long words. "You, boy, get my coat," says as much about the character as a paragraph of thesaurus waffle, and none of those words are more than a syllable long. :p
     
  5. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Yes, that grandiose style of talking can be a key characteristic, and make make your character quite enjoyable. I personally find those type of characters quite intriguing. V for Vendetta comes to mind.
     
  6. KillianRussell
    Offline

    KillianRussell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Glasshouse
    Fowery verbiage (particularly out it's element) from a character adds a cool dynamic, can be used as a dramatic device to add an element of comedic relief in a serious (non comedy) piece

    An example:
    Although the Japanese Vampire has the much needed information,his
    Elizabethan is so beguiling,the inhabitants of the Memphis hood are conflicted about approaching him with a question, they feel as if they need sub-titles .....ya dig

    An Idea:
    Can you tag his speeches in a way that they continue but whomever he is speaking to has tuned out long ago ?
    Show less but expose the fact there was more , a whole lot more ,?
     
  7. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I agree - I use mine for comic effect although i did end up with a malaprop and my grandiose speaker in same scene once that was fun to write but time consuming.
     
  8. Ion
    Offline

    Ion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    7
    Learn how to use 'whom' correctly and you're set.
     
  9. lost123
    Offline

    lost123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    1
    it would be interesting indeed
     
  10. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Using unusual words and long phrases will only be dismissed as poor writing if that is indeed what it is. Nine times out of ten, writers trying to impress or to simulate impressive speech fail--because they are actually incapable of using language at the necessary level.
    Either the dreaded red pencil cuts a swathe through it all, or readers who know better switch off.
     
  11. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Killian seems to have that sorted then -- "whom" (or "whomever") is correct for an indirect object.
     
  12. Alvaro
    Offline

    Alvaro Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    It can work very well if rightly deployed.

    Be careful not to take it too far; the reader should not need a dictionary to translate his speeches!

    I work for an old-school consultant doctor, who is close to retirement, and he uses words all the time that I have no idea what they mean. He does it on purpose, as I am foreign and he tries to catch me out with using words I don't know (in a funny nice way).
    Maybe you have someone in your life that does these sort of things that can either help or proofread what you have written, though don't forget to have someone 'less educated' read it as well to make sure it is understandable.

    I love words and even if I will never ever use them myself, I like to hear them and learn new ones all the time.

    I am probably not making that much sense (I do tend to waffle)... but I hope you get the drift.

    A. :eek:)
     
  13. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thanks for all your replies. Really encouraging!

    My aristocrat uses words as 'the hoi polloi' and 'sub rosa', as well as shows some rude arrogant behaviour (such as: interrupting others frequently; looking down on others). That delivers the message, I guess.

    With 'wordy phrases' I had in mind to use more words than simply necessary when my aristocrat speaks (e.g., "a great deal of" instead of "much"); repititive redundancy such as "serious danger" instead of simply saying "danger") and more difficult words than necessary ("decelerating" instead of "slowing down").
     
  14. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway
    Watch the sit-com Keeping Up Appearances. Hyacinth Bucket (sorry, Bouquet) is a master of derogatory and wordy language.
     

Share This Page