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  1. nypinta

    nypinta New Member

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    Help with ... transitions, I think.

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by nypinta, Jul 21, 2017.

    I'm not sure if there is a technical term for what I have in mind, but I've seen this used in movies, where one character is giving a speech or waxing poetic to someone, but what they are saying is a voice over to a completely different scene of action. I had in mind one character giving a eulogy for fallen brothers in arms, but the action is what the people who are listening to the eulogy are doing on a different, later, day... Are there examples in other written works of this type of thing that I could read to see how it was done? Ideas would also be appreciated. I'd rather not do it chronologically, such as, 'person A gives speech, next day Person A, B, C, D, etc. do a thing and all die'. (Spoiler: they don't die.)
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    I'm not sure the technical term for it either. If you were writing it in a script you would tag it as OS (off screen narration). Best example by far is the end of The Godfather when we hear Michael at his godson's christening while on screen we see the heads of the five families being murdered:



    It works awesome in film... books not so much. Film has the benefit of multiple sensory stimuli. You can hear one thing while you watch something else and not become confused because each event is easy to follow (and usually somewhat related). It's next to impossible to do in a book because everything needs to be read and you can't read two things at once. You could maybe pull it off with some tricksy shit like italicized, parenthetical thought quotes
    (Homer? Where are you?)
    right in the middle of the paragraph text with no break in sentence
    (Are you on that stupid forum again?)
    or punctuation to indicate that anything has been interrupted. I've seen Stephen King and China Mieville do this in addition to regular italicized thought quotes. I can only assume that they added the parentheses
    (Helllloooo? Are you listening to me?)
    to indicate the other thoughts/quotes were happening
    (I knew I should have a married Tommy Gingarella when I had the chance! He's running his father's hardware store now.)
    on their own timeline.

    This can get a little confusing and would probably only work in short bursts.
     
  3. nypinta

    nypinta New Member

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    That is actually very very helpful. Thank you. (But for anyone else, ideas and comments still welcome, wanted, and needed. )
     
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  4. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    She was busy arranging the flowers around the portraits of the seven fallen heroes being buried this day, listening to the lieutenant speak of his fallen brothers in arms.

    We thank you for coming to pay tribute to our fallen brothers in arms. There is a story about loss in war where one character comments to another, "We are ready for the occasional empty chair, the fond farewell for comrades lost. But we are never, never ready for so many."

    A tear came to her eye, as she watched older soldiers, from previous wars, come to pay their respects, all in uniform, some in wheelchairs, some with canes, but they had come. How do we say good bye to fallen heroes?

    We will remember our inner anguish when we got up the nerve to ask, "Who was it?"

    The mothers crying and loved ones trying to comfort each other, a brother standing tall in a steeled resolve, knowing there would be no more laughter, or morning rivalries.

    These men, our men, are fallen on the field of battle. Forever more that is their legacy. Their names are now enshrined on the scroll...

    the eulogy portions was taken from: http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonatwar/2008/02/a_commanders_eulogy.html

    considering the subject matter this would probably get edited a dozen plus times... but more or less how I would approach it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
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  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    Going off Homer's example:

    This would be how I'd write something like that. Craaap, this is hard! But I believe it's worth it! :D Now tell me that it's confusing to follow :p. (I know, I wrote it!)

    You can read this (hopefully): italics alone, or standardised text alone, or in a stream of consciousnes.
     
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  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I agree that this is probably something that would work better in film than text... I can't really see a way for it to be effective.
     
  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    That's hilarious that you thought that was my mom yelling at me. My wife's voice is about seven octaves shriller.
     
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  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    *blushes* I just made something up on the spot. And, before I step into the brown pile, I'd rather be safe ;)
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your example works rather well, in my opinion. I could follow that scene snippet quite easily.
     
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  10. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Readers (ideally) attach themselves a scene's focal character and live it through her. If you change this focal character too often, you run the risk of disrupting the emotional bridge between reader and character. Additionally, if you include too many characters in one scene it can become confusing. You might handle your idea by spacing it out through several chapters. You can begin with the eulogy, (possibly given by the overall MC, though not necessary), and during the eulogy show the reactions of each of the supporting characters. In subsequent chapters, you can show where their lives went after the war. This allows plenty of time to tell the story, form emotional bonds with the characters, and allows clear organization in the reader's mind.

    Best of luck.
     
  11. nypinta

    nypinta New Member

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    This was going to be for a very short section of a longer story. I was telling the story via vignettes of several other characters and I was also going to try and use different styles for each short story per character. So the first chapter would be first person of one character, second chapter would be a eulogy delivered by a different character mixed with his perspective of an action, third chapter a series of journals from a third character, etc.

    I think, inspired by comments in this thread, I'm starting it with first person action and have that character then remember his own words at the small gathering just 24 hours previous... and there will be a call back during the action at the end to the beginning of his speech. If I can write it as it's sitting in my head, it could be ok.
     
  12. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    Brain to pen! Trust your instinct/intuition, if you have it, and its yours, then trust yourself, do not second guess it, or allow doubt to change what is in your head already.

    Now I'm superstitious and all, especially when it comes to art, and extracting the story out of ether. For my own selfish reasons and karmic balance, I provide this as a warning, makes sure it is yours when using the above. I know it sounds all crazy, voodooish, and weird. However personally when I can feel it, see it, taste it I take the time to simply repeat to myself "what belongs to me will always come back to me" and then let it go. If it ends up on paper then fine if not then it gets set aside.

    I will not get more woooo on you, unless you want or need more depth to this, and let you feel your way own way thru this.
     
  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    And when that fails, try pen to brain... cures writer's block in seven out of ten lab rats.
     
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  14. Cobra3010

    Cobra3010 Member

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    In my opinion, that's something that fits better in a movie. Sure, you can state that following text will be said by the voice of another character but it wont have as nearly as powerful effect like in movies because of one banal reason: readers dont really imagine voices of the characters and they probably wont feel anything different if certain text was intended to be read in different voice.
     

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