1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Searching for a word

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by OurJud, Sep 13, 2015.

    What's the dialogue tag you would use when a person is trying to back up a claim they've made?

    e.g

    "I knew a guy once threw himself off a sky-scraper.'
    Tom threw his head back and laughed. "You're so full of shit, Pete."
    "It's true," Pete said (I need the tag that goes here)

    I've used 'defiantly' but I'm not convinced that's correct. I know it's not 'defensively' that I'm looking for either. There's one word in particular I'm looking for.
     
  2. rainy_summerday

    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    What about "insisted" instead of "said"?
    Or do you want an adverb? Then maybe "forcibly?"
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Pete insisted?

    Edit: cross posted with @rainy_summerday :)
     
  4. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Insisted' will do for now, but it's not the word I was looking for. Nor is 'forcibly'.

    It's a word that means 'how dare you question what I'm saying?'

    No, it's a word that means 'I'm hurt and offended that you think I'm lying.' 'Incredulous', but not 'incredulous'.
     
  5. Elena Schmetterling

    Elena Schmetterling Member

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    Adamantly?
     
  6. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's certainly on the right lines, yes. In fact, I think if I run that through a thesaurus, I'll find my word.
     
  7. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Indignantly?
     
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  8. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    YES! :D

    But now that I hear it, I'm not sure it rolls off the tongue all that well. Maybe '... he said, all indignant.'

    Thanks everyone.
     
  9. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd rather do it with a beat:



    "I knew a guy once threw himself off a sky-scraper.'

    Tom threw his head back and laughed. "You're so full of shit, Pete."

    Pete didn't join him in the laughter. He fixed Tom with a stare and said, "It's true."
     
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  10. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the challenge of using said instead of a more descriptive tag is one that I enjoy meeting. Whether the dialog itself can be modified or the action around the dialog, there are lots of opportunities to stretch writing muscles to achieve the desired outcome without the non-said tag. You end up with 2 options: use the alternative tag, or the newly generated scene / dialog. Doubles your options, and also develops your writing skill. Win-win. :D
     
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  11. TobeDecided

    TobeDecided New Member

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    Strained?
     
  12. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Also, I know the end to this one :)

    ...
    "It's true," Pete said indignantly. "It was this very sky-scraper. Except the winds are so strong he just blew right back up and got himself another drink."

    "Bullshit." Tom remained unconvinced.

    "Oh yeah? I'll show you it's not. Right now, if you want to put a fifty on it."

    "Oh, you're on!" Tom reached for his wallet.

    Pete proceeded to walk out to the observation deck and throw himself off. And wouldn't you believe it? Tom incredulously watched him blow right back around, dust himself off and calmly re-enter the bar.

    Eventually Tom found his words. "Do it again!"

    "Eh, nah."

    "Come on! Double or nothing."

    Pete eyed him up and down, then headed back out to the deck. Once again, Tom couldn't believe his eyes.

    "Do you... do you think I could do it?"

    "Oh sure," Pete said. "Piece of piss."

    Tom finished his drink and ventured out to the deck. With a backward glance to Pete, he climbed onto the railing, grinned and took the plunge.

    SPLAT!

    Pete plucked the cash from the table and strolled over to the bar.

    "You know," said the barman, "you're a real prick when you drink, Superman."
     
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  13. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    :supergrin:
     
  14. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    On a more serious note, nice use of beats and other more subtle, implicit attributions interplayed with explicit tags. ;)
     
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  15. The Mad Regent

    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Why not show the reader rather then telling them? Sometimes you need to tell the reader, but one of the characteristics attributed to good literature is constructing prose that allows the reader to make that distinction or connection without having to be told.

    Does your character have personality? If so, would his reaction be a natural response to the criticism?
    Why not reflect his response in an action?

    You might have a lot about cutting out the fat in prose, but in truth, the longer descriptive aspects usually make up the bulk of a novel. To me, comparing a clean edit to the original is like comparing compact disc to vinyl.
     
  16. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand all that, but at the same time fail to see how one would 'show' indignance in a practical way. It's not like he was so offended by the remark that he wanted to stand up and thump the guy. He was simply indignant in an almost "How very dare you?" jokey kind of way.

    I really don't think 'showing' was at all necessary in this case.
     
  17. The Mad Regent

    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    You can still 'show' that using prose techniques; for example, using ellipsis. 'Not quite ... ' he said. Basically, there is always more than one way to solve a problem.

    Sometimes it's also a case of just trusting your reader to understand, which is why showing instead of telling allows the reader to establish the situation in their mind the way they read it, kind of like comparing older video games to modern games: with older games, the lack of graphical and programming capabilities allow us as the player to apply our imagination more extensively rather than just having a fixed voice to a character or set visuals to a scene.
     
  18. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    There are lots of ways to do it. You could have Pete frown at Tom, for example, showing he's unhappy that Tom didn't believe him. But why is that better than just saying he spoke indignantly? It still tells us a lot about the character through showing how he's speaking. There are different layers to showing and telling and sometimes the simplest and best thing to do is just bloody tell us!
     
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  19. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can I just clarify that the example I posted isn't how it is in my novel. The names were changed and the exchange very much simplified.
     

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