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  1. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    How to describe somebody saying "ugh" in annoyance

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by mashers, Jul 20, 2017.

    My terminally ill character, in huge amounts of pain, is in an elevator. The elevator stops to let someone else on, and he says "ugh" - a throaty grunt of irritation loud enough for the other person to hear. I can't really describe this well (I don't think "a loud, throaty grunt of irritation" quite does it) and I don't want to use the word "ugh" as dialogue. Can anyone suggest a way of describing this? If it is unclear the sound I am trying to describe, I can record it myself and attach the recording.
     
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I'm at 'groan' with this one.
     
  3. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I did wonder about groan, and I'm aware that the definition absolutely encompasses what my character does. But to me, groan has connotations of being more nasal, less guttural, than a big, throaty "UGH!"

    Could I perhaps qualify "groan"?

    a guttural groan
    a rasping groan
    a throaty groan

    or some other variation thereof?
     
  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Yes, not withstanding a 'grumble' I think you need to. There are many flavours to a groan. I think I see what you're wanting to do. Personally I'd have a modifier following the word in this case and shy from detailing the physical specifics. Concentrating on the emotion. He groaned in irritation < that'd work for me.
     
  5. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    While that doesn't detail quite so specifically the sound I hear him making, I think it reads better while still getting across the emotion which caused him to do it. So it works well. Thanks :)
     
  6. Anna100

    Anna100 Active Member

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    Do you think it's important that the reader knows exactly what kind of grunt he's making? I don't know but sometimes I think we as writers are trying too hard to get exactly what we imagine in our heads onto paper. And I don't think it's necessary. Anyway, just a thought.
     
  7. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    No, it isn't important for the reader to know. But as you said, I have an idea in mind of what sound he makes and I feel compelled to ensure that the reader knows exactly what I'm thinking. But that's not the reader's problem, and it's something I have to work hard to remember while I'm writing ;)
     
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  8. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    ...till you get the film deal. Then you're on the set's *periphery dropping words into director's ear and making a necessary nuisance of yourself for the sake of such a nuance and your artistic integrity. :)



    * I †speak from experience

    † I don't really
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
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  9. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That would be a dream come true. I'm sure everyone thinks this, but I do think my novel would make a good film.

    Some day maybe :)
     
  10. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Aye, I'm glad of the multiverse theory of late, it add's a smidge of a hint of possibility that somewhere out there, all cinema's art house and I've been given a gig. He sighed in wistfulness.
     
  11. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It takes a very positive mind to see in the multiverse theory the potential for one good universe, and not infinite bad ones. He reflected purplely.
     
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  12. Homer Potvin

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

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    If it were me I'd probably just go with, "He grunted" or "He grunted in pain" and then move on. That's just me. The reader's focus will probably be past the actual sound he makes by the time it would otherwise take them to process a longer, more detailed description of something relatively innocuous... like a grunt. Or conversely it might stop the flow completely while they try to work out what the sound was.
     
  13. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    A disgruntled throat fart

    A cumbersome hack of agitated annoyance

    A staggered croon of repulsion

    An irksome croak

    Expulsion of ire

    A wracked guttural drawl

    A grating cough of disapproval

    An embittered rasp

    OR

    Like a bear in death throes

    Like a volatile swan

    Like a dying engine
     
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  14. Anna100

    Anna100 Active Member

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    Yeah, I understand you. I do the same thing all the time. Just don't get too caught up in it. :p
     
  15. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    :superlaugh:
     
  16. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    No matter how you write it your reader isn't going to 'hear' the same thing you do. It's impossible. At this point you seem to be trying to figure this out for you, not for your readers. Do they need to know that exact sound? What does it add to the story, or to the character? If the impact is insignificant move on to something that does matter.
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Gutteral growl?

    I've been allowing myself to phrase things in the way that makes them clear and bright for me, with the understanding that later on some of those phrasings are likely to need tweaking.
     
  18. TyrannusRex

    TyrannusRex Active Member

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    A disgusted scoff.
     
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  19. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    You can use it in multiple ways, it will come down to what you wrap it around, to extract the meaning you want.

    "gr-ugh, and another one" at least this one was beautiful, "must be nice"
    he pushed on the elevator button "some day, any day now"

    more of an internal post dialogue to wrap around the emotion you want to project out to the reader...
     
  20. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Irritated Groan.
     
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  21. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    as the elevator doors opened <embed video> the other passengers turned to look at him...:D
     
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  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    This doesn't quite capture Andy in quite the same way as his real vids do. :p
    The newer ones have some pretty good ones. :D
     
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