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  1. Melzaar the Almighty

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Aug 28, 2010
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    Fake sarcasm

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Nov 30, 2010.

    Basically, this person is saying something in a sarcastic tone of voice, but actually means what she says... Does this description work? Is that what you'd get from "fake sarcasm"? Because, you know, she just talks in a way that's really sarcastic, but in this case she's just stating the obvious rather than actually being sarcastic about it... Blergh. :p Could this just fall into "sarcastically" or would that make you look at it again and wonder what she meant instead of it?
  2. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Tampa Bay
    Technically speaking I see how it applies, but in writing it just seems like the person isn't sincere...maybe "said snarkily" instead?
  3. Peerie Pict

    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

    Sep 10, 2009
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    I always find that physical descriptions/reactions showing how a comment is received is more effective than simply stating how the speaker intended a comment to sound. Caro could perhaps smirk, raise an eyebrow, roll his/her eyes? Or the person to whom the comment is aimed could quip back.

    In any case, the sentence is self explanatory and I think the introduction of the notion of 'fake sarcasm' is a bit clumsy and ambiguous.
    1 person likes this.
  4. popsicledeath

    popsicledeath Banned

    Nov 11, 2010
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    Telling me as a reader how something I just read should have been read, doesn't do much but make me have to stop to re-read or make me annoyed the character isn't better at communicating and needs a narrator go walk around behind them explaining what they mean by everything they say.

    Almost all subtext and tone and intonation etc can be created via means other than 'she/he said ________ly.'

    Richard Bausch is an expert at this, if curious and want to study who is imo the best living writer of dialog. He has two stories that are JUST dialog, and all the subtexts and tones come through just fine.

    Saying something in a sarcastic tone of voice to mock someone else's sarcasm, effective? Isn't that still sarcasm?

    If I double sarcastically said: Yeah, because the moon is like SOOOO not made out of cheese, I get it.

    Isn't that just being annoyed, or fighting sarcasm with mock sarcasm?

    Maybe that's a better description: mock sarcasm? Not sure if it fits or is accurate, but I get a better sense of the double-sarcasm effect, if that's what the character is doing.

    If the character is just dumb and sarcastically saying things that happen to be true, then, ummm, heh.

    Sounds to me with what little context we have, that the character is just annoyed. I think trying to describe exactly what the tone of the dialog is isn't as necessary as simply getting in the ballpark via indicating actions and mood and stuff.


    Caro tried not to roll her eyes, wishing they would just shut up already. "Uh, unanimously requires everyone to agree."

    Different than:

    Caro was so sick of Joe and his sarcasm. Mimicking his voice, she said, "Uh, unanimously requires everyone to agree."


    Caro could barely think over the argument and didn't understand why Joe was pushing forward with the project without everyone's consent. "Uh, unanimously requires everyone to agree."


    Caro didn't care what these idiots thought, and thought it cute they'd still even try to give their input. Caro mocked Joe, snottily replying, "Uh, unanimously requires everyone to agree."

    Shrug. Usually the context and truth of the moment, if accurately depicted, will give enough context to create subtext and tone and all that jazz and we don't need to be told or explained what we should have just garnered from the dialog. Either it's different from our reading and more disruptive than instructive (why dialog is so tough, hard to calibrate) or it's redundant, but either way, not great writing imo.
    1 person likes this.
  5. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    Sarcasm is sarcasm. The concept of "fake" sarcasm makes no sense to me.
  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Agreed. Perhaps you are in need of a different word, like sardonic or wry.
  7. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    I often find that the simplest solution is best. Just drop the whole fake sarcasm thing. Just let it read:

    “Uh, ‘unanimously’ requires everyone to agree,” Caro pointed out.

    The readers are smart - they'll get it.
  8. xxkozxx

    xxkozxx Active Member

    Oct 16, 2006
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    I was thinking cynicism when I read it. I believe the the context is taken best by the reaction of the receiver of that dialogue. Simply put, when you are talking to somebody in real life, you place inflections in your voice and you perceive how what you say is taken by the other person's reaction. Same applies to dialogue in your writing.

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