1. Masli

    Masli Member

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    how to describe a certain action?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Masli, Aug 13, 2018 at 1:20 AM.

    Sorry for my maybe stange question, but English is not my native language and I've been struggling with how to describe the following action for more than a day now.

    The situation:
    I have two characters arguing (rather heatedly). One of them (the taller/stronger) has the other pinned against a wall. Now the 'action' or 'movement' if you will is that the taller grabs the shorter by the shirt pulles him off the wall slighty only to push/shove him right back into it.

    Is there a specific term for? Or is describing it as it is the only way?
    please help
     
  2. DK3654

    DK3654 Active Member

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    I don't think there is a single word or phrase for this. I think you have to describe it.
    You could use that description to reference the particular tone of the encounter, as well as how the characters perceive it.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Digging out my Balzac Contributor

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    I would say "bounce," but that implies that it's being done a couple of times. "Jack" is a slang term used in crime/law enforcement. A perp who gets "jacked up" by a cop is often thrown into a wall and searched. There might be a context issue, but being jacked up almost always implies a wall with a person being shoved into it.
     
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  4. Jenissej

    Jenissej Active Member

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    I think "bounce" would work. I have definitely seen it used to imply a single repetition, often even in the context of "bouncing their head off the wall/floor/what have you".

    Also, maybe "slam". It's more along the lines of shove but if I read something like "he grabbed a fistful of his shirt and slammed him back into the wall", I'd automatically imagine the pulling him forward part as a means to get up momentum.
     
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  5. Masli

    Masli Member

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    Thank you all so much, this has been very helpsome. I think 'bounce' doesn't really have the feel I'm looking for, as to me, but that might bebecause English isn't my native language, 'bounce' sounds a bit too, hm happy? Like bouncing around?
    Slam would fit better I feel.

    Thank you for this eye opener! I feel I do this a lot, the urge to write everything as it is, while you are right, even without mentioning the pulling him forward movement, in your mind's eye it is happening, and it would simplify and improve the dialogue immensly!
     
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  6. DK3654

    DK3654 Active Member

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    I second Jenissej's 'back into the wall' phrasing. I agree that that implies pulling forward as long as you have previously described the victim being right up against the wall.
     
  7. Jenissej

    Jenissej Active Member

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    IMO, "bounce" in context with a body has me imagining the amount of force required to make something generally not "bouncy" actually rebound upon hitting a hard surface. Which is then associated with the pain such force would cause. But, by any means, if it doesn't have the right feel for you, use something else.

    That's something I too had to learn and am still having to remember when writing out scenes. Every reader is going to have the scene you're describing already pictured in their head and it's probably not going to match with what you're seeing. So trying to relay your image of the moment in minute detail will most likely turn out jarring for the reader and hinder the flow of your writing.
     
  8. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Slam, shove, and bang would all work.

    I agree with you though that "bounce" is not a good word. It would work if the person fell and his head bounced off the floor or something. I think of something that's gone limp. Or you know, a beer belly :D Bounce also implies some sort of free movement. If the character has the other person's head firmly in his fist, then the head isn't gonna bounce.
     
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  9. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    me neither

    gets my vote

    like this too

    So by committee:

    [bully/nasty dialogue here]...'jacked against the wall, released, then sucker slammed back into it.'
     
  10. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    He grabbed a fist full of shirt and slammed him back against the wall.
     
  11. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree - to bounce someones head off the wall implies that you grab them and heavily shove towards the wall but let go so that their head does actually hit and bounce back off.
     
  12. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I don't know how popular this would be but a more colloquial way to describe it is the word "collar" as a verb.

    col·lar
    ˈkälər/
    verb
    1. 1.
      put a collar on.
      "biologists who were collaring polar bears"
    2. 2.
      informal
      seize, grasp, or apprehend (someone).
      "police collared the culprit"

      synonyms: apprehend, arrest, catch, capture, seize; More

    Taller guy, we'll call him Clarence. Shorter guy, we'll call him Miguel:

    Clarance collared Miguel and slammed him into the wall. (Obviously, this is a simple sentence for the sake of example. I wouldn't recommend using this.)

    The verb "collared" suggests exactly what you want to describe: grabbing someone by the collar of their shirt and holding it. Then you use another verb (whichever one you choose) to describe the push into the wall.

    One word of caution is that this verb is very close to the noun "collard" which refers to vegetables, so there's that.
     
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