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Writing Styles, and their differences

Ernest Bywater

Grammar is basic to all writing in English and is essential to ensuring the readers understand the writers. Clarity of meaning is a key point of any writing. However, the way you go about that clarity, and way you write, does vary with the style of writing. Also, some of the grammar rules appear to morph a little with some styles, but they don't in reality, what changes is they way people have perceived the rules to be or become wedded to how they appear in certain writing styles.

We all know and accept the differences between academic assignments and essays as against text books and research reports, and again how financial reports and car accident reports vary. A summary and briefing paper are different again, so is fiction writing, yet all still abide by the grammar rules, they just look a little different.

One thing I've noticed is how you use the same grammar rules appear to be a little different between past tense fiction and present tense fiction. I've also noticed a similar difference in appearance between fiction using formal English and vernacular English. However, when you sit down and analyse them properly, the grammar rules are still there and applied correctly, they just look to be different.

In a recent set of emails I had a long exchange of views with a reader about how wrong it is to write fiction in the present tense, and they claim past tense is the only valid way to write fiction. At the same time I had an exchange with another reader about how fiction stories must be written in formal English and not the vernacular.

While writing a recent reply to a discussion in another thread in this forum I had both those discussions passing through my mind. After finishing the response I began to wonder how much of the difference in opinion on the content of that thread, and a few others like it, is dependent on the differences in the writing styles used by the people in the discussions. The style used doesn't eliminate or override the grammar rules, but the style does stamp a slightly different appearance on the finished product. I can see how some of the usages common in vernacular would seem odd to someone who only ever uses formal English, despite the application of the grammar rules being correct.

An obvious difference in using the vernacular is the use of contractions in both dialogue and narrative. Another difference between the two is the amount of times the word 'that' is used in formal English but can often be safely dropped when using vernacular English. These style difference do change the appearances of the work but stay within the grammar rules - yet some people will dispute that because it's not what they're used to seeing.

Anyone got further insights into this matter?

El_Sol

> At the same time I had an exchange with another reader about how fiction stories must be written in formal English and not the vernacular.

First person narrative thrives on intimacy and a distinct voice.

The easiest way to manipulate the narrator into a relationship with the reader is to make them sound 'normal'. It's not a teacher but a guy at the bar, telling you his story.

Contractions in narrative for my stories are a way to manipulate the voice of the narrator for me -- not only whether the narrator uses them, but how much they use, or more importantly, WHEN they use contractions to tell the story.

Non-complete sentences are also a way to express a personal narration style for the narrator.

I.e. my Jason protagonist is extremely formal and almost tries to create a third person narrative of his story. Miguel on the other hand is all over the place. They're both 'talking' to the reader, but doing so differently.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

El Sol has a good point. I suspect many variances in fictional narrative--at least--is due to the identity of the narrator. If it's an unknown omniscient being, then it'll be more formal (the association left over from the Catholic Church that God only speaks in formal Latin). If it's a character--even if it's an unidentified character unrelated to the story--then it'll take on a less formal tone (include vernacular, and utilize contractions common to everyday speech).

I tend to take this approach, either formally, by identifying the narrator, or informally by leaving them unidentified, but each have their own perspective. They're 3rd person omni only because they know everyone involved, or were there at the time.

The main point, though, is worth noting. The entire discussion in the "Said" topic boils down to an issue of Styles. One side kept crying "You're changing the rules of fiction", but we were discussing style issues (whether to limit how individual authors use dialogue tags). The central point about Styles, is they're essential if you plan to publish via a particular publisher, but if you publish yourself, then it's only important to be consistent. You essentially get to 'pick and choose'. For many authors, not wanting to get lost in the morass, they'll adapt a particular style simply so the 'rules' will be clearly defined and they won't have to guess. For us independent publishers, we tend to stress over which guidelines to accept and which to reject.

The important thing to remember, though, is that there are no ironclad rules in fiction. Authors break the established guidelines all the time. Don't like punctuation, there's a famous book about a roach who couldn't reach the punctuation keys, and couldn't type capitals because he couldn't hold the shift key while jumping from key to key. The point to remember, though, is that it's important to understand the guidelines, so you can make informed choices. While many great books flout the established wisdoms of writing, it's done at the author's expense. The work might be phenomenal, or it may fall flat. If it fails, no one will point to the rules, they'll point to the author and ask 'What the hell were you thinking?'.

However, often it comes down to which tools you load into your toolbox. Most of us will agree that "showing" something in a story is a powerful tool, but you don't always need a jigsaw to pound nails. Sometimes, it's useful to tell the reader what they need to know--especially if it's a relatively unimportant story segment. We save our best tools for the ideal opportunities, using our 'everyday tools' for the items where quality isn't paramount.

First chapters and conclusions, spare no expense and make them sound as rich as you can, since you're hoping to influence readers into purchasing the (or the next) book. Providing background on something that happened three chapters ago, you can forgo the fancy rhetoric.

Styles are tools. If you aren't required to use a particular set, or haven't chosen to 'marry' a particular style, then you should pick whichever tool will produce the best results: some provide exceptional quality, while others simply get the job done with the least expense (wordwise).

aubie56

At last! A topic that could be interesting! My only worry is that some would-be comedian makes a stupid joke that caused thread drift. By the way, that's why I have quit reading most of the forum.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Sometimes, it's useful to tell the reader what they need to know--especially if it's a relatively unimportant story segment.


For the most part I enjoyed the discussion on showing not telling, and have tried to adapt my writing around that. However, when you and Switch start asserting that actions like laughing and smiling are telling a felling rather than showing and action, that is just incomprehensible to me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@El_Sol

It's not a teacher but a guy at the bar, telling you his story.


Which is exactly how I like to present the story to the reader, and why I use vernacular in present tense.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Styles are tools. If you aren't required to use a particular set, or haven't chosen to 'marry' a particular style, then you should pick whichever tool will produce the best results: some provide exceptional quality, while others simply get the job done with the least expense (wordwise).


A perfect summary, CW.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

However, when you and Switch start asserting that actions like laughing and smiling are telling a felling rather than showing and action, that is just incomprehensible to me.

It's largely a matter of degrees, and whether you accept that premise or not. It's difficult to "laugh" a paragraph of text. "Chuckling" is easier, especially if not done while telling the joke, but it creates an image which can stop many (but not all) readers in their tracks. While I can see someone smiling while talking, I can't see using "smiling" as a dialogue tag, since you can't "smile" words.

However, there are loads of stories which use such techniques, so if you ignore those suggestions, you're hardly on your own. Again, I want to dismiss this notion that there are any unbreakable rules in fiction writing. You can do anything you damn well please, as well as you run the risk of falling flat on your face if you do a bad job of it. That's why I caution learning why certain conventions are used before deciding to reject them.

The dialogue tag element is tied into the "show, don't tell" philosophy. Why bother telling the reader that someone is happy, rather than showing it ("he said, happily"). A trickier example is "he cried". It's hard to talk sensibly while crying, so either you should include the entire blubbering incident, or drop the tag. However, once again, no one will revoke your creative license for doing so.

That's why I prefer action tags (separate sentences which identify who's speaking by describing what's happening). They're handier for showing readers how someone responds, rather than telling them in a dialogue tag (which leads to the use of "action tags", where a verb is used as a dialogue tag).

Using vernacular in present tense for the narrative is a calculated move. You plan that as a means of telling a story, just as you decide to tell certain portions rather than investing time to "show" everything. You understand the potential pitfalls, but decide the benefits are worth the risk. I do it, because in many of my stories, the tale is actually being told by one of the participants in the future. But the decision to write in either past or present choice is nothing more than a personal choice. There is no "right" or "wrong" decisions. Some people may not read it as a result, but that's their decision, not yours.

With both discussions in the "Said" topic, Switch and I ended up trying to patiently explain why we've adopted this style (even if we don't follow it consistently), but we ended up defending it to people who absolutely refused to accept it, thus we spent the entire time spinning our wheels, detailing reasons why it made sense which would be rejected just as fast as the last arguments.

While I prefer action acknowledgements (I'll stop using the term "action tags to describe two different things), I don't use them every single time. Not by a long shot! However, I find them to be a useful tool in my arsenal, and it helps guide me in weaving a story. That's all it is!

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


It's largely a matter of degrees, and whether you accept that premise or not. It's difficult to "laugh" a paragraph of text. "Chuckling" is easier, especially if not done while telling the joke, but it creates an image which can stop many (but not all) readers in their tracks.


I don't disagree with any of that, but none of that makes stating "laughed" tells a felling anything other than bull shit.

Difficult is not the same thing as impossible. I have spoken while laughing so hard I was having trouble breathing.

Usually begging someone to stop tickling me. I am extremely ticklish, and my mom and my brother can get me laughing so hard I can barely breath just by sitting there staring at me like they are thinking about tickling me.

That get's back into the issue of trying to show action concurrent with speaking and you and others insisting that that makes the action a dialog tag.

It may make for a grammatically incorrect sentence due to a comma splice, but that does not and can not transform a non speech action concurrent with speech into a dialog tag.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


While I can see someone smiling while talking, I can't see using "smiling" as a dialogue tag, since you can't "smile" words.


I had been hoping to leave the dialogue tag / action tag in the other thread. But since it crept in here I'll make what I hope is the last comment I need to make on this.

The examples I gave from my works in progress always felt right to me, but when a few people started in about them being wrong unless there was a dialogue tag in there I started doing a heck of a lot more research into dialogue tags and the grammar rules affecting the sentences and paragraphs concerned. I also did a lot of thinking about them. In the end I realised what was happening in the discussion was a difference in definitions and understanding of the sentences.

So, here we are back to the basics about dialogues and what we call dialogue tags.

1. The sole purpose of a dialogue tag is to identify who is speaking. When the context does that for you a dialogue tag is not needed. A classic form of this is the to and fro of a two way discussion, once you identify the order the reader knows who's speaking when you change paragraphs (thus the rule of a new speaker = a new paragraph), often called the dropped dialogue tag situation. Another is where the dialogue is in the middle of a paragraph or sentence where the speaker is already clearly identified.

2. There are a number of action words used as dialogue tag, and they relate to the way people pronounce the words in the dialogue - said, asked, shouted, etc.

3. Dialogue is an action - there's no doubt the person is doing something when they speak. That's why the dialogue tags are action tags.

Note: We call the appropriate speaking actions dialogue tags because we link them with the identity of the speaker in the traditional manner of noun + action.

Now, let's go and look at another set of grammar rules on lists.

A common and accepted method of listing things is one per line under each other, and another is put them one after the other with a comma to separate them. This is done to save space and time reading. In doing this we also include a noun to identify who owns the items in the list.

Thus the most common form of list in writing is: noun item, item, item, item etc.

Another aspect is this same rule can be used to list actions to give us: noun action, action, action etc.

When you take the time to think this through in detail it becomes clear that what we've been calling action tags preceding dialogue is actually a case of listing actions and one of the actions is the dialogue. Thus the rules are simple and the grammar rules are adhered to. However, you still have to come back to identifying the person doing the action and in the cases of the examples that's done at the start of the action list.

In the other discussion we actual caused some confusion because we started calling the first action an action tag and that instantly made people think of it being an alternate to a dialogue tag. And further confused the issue by introducing some examples where it was replacing the dialogue tag.

What we have to do is sort out which cases where the action word being used is really a dialogue tag because it's a dialogue related action word and which ones are separate actions, and then try to not confuse them for each other. Which is what caused a lot of the angst in the other thread.

The key to it all is clarity of writing and identification of the person doing the actions and / or speaking.

typo edit

El_Sol

Another aspect is that formal narration makes informal dialogue seem more 'natural'.

Dialogue isn't conversation in real life, so I prefer to be 'formally informal' in my dialogue.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Difficult is not the same thing as impossible. I have spoken while laughing so hard I was having trouble breathing.

That's why I stress it makes for a poor dialogue tag, since the text, in most cases, doesn't reflect that kind of response. If you show them gasping, struggling to put the words together, then I'll rescind my comment, but often those kinds of verbs are thrown around with any thought to what it would entail dialogue-wise.

And I've already said it many time, but I'll repeat myself. The caution about using verbs with dialogue isn't that it's "not allowed", it's that there's an unconscious assumption that the verb is a dialogue tag, whether it is or not. The fact we're still arguing about laughing shows why that's the case. Aside from the comma splice--which is largely a separate issue--is that moving the action to a separate line breaks that association. It's also why listing the verb after a normal dialogue tag also breaks the association.

@Ernest

In the end I realised what was happening in the discussion was a difference in definitions and understanding of the sentences.

Perhaps the greatest source of this has been myself, as I keep referring to "dialogue" and "action tags". The proper term is "associations", where you associate the dialogue with a particular person. Part of this is because autocrit.com, which I use during editing, refers to them as dialogue tags, and flags any verb following the dialogue, whether it's in the same sentence or not.

In practice, starting a paragraph with action doesn't seem to work as well. Most times I've done it, I end up deleting the initial action sentence as being inconsequential. For some reason, they work much better following or between the dialogue. It's particularly effective when you need to introduce a time delay.

"This art is a piece of crap!" Alexander picked up the vase and hurled it at the wall. "If I see anymore of this pedestrian effort, you'll all fail!"


Ernest, sorry to belabor the point, but everyone (cough, cough, DS) keeps asking for clarification. I too gave up on the other thread, as it was the same people arguing incessantly, our having driven everyone else away.

Just another idea, perhaps a better way to make the actions seem concurrent is to move the association to another location, where a slight delay would be more natural, allowing you to leave it out of the concurrent segment.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

(cough, cough, DS)


Why? ;-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

In practice, starting a paragraph with action doesn't seem to work as well.


I think it works best before the dialogue. It's the action the character takes before he speaks.

He slapped his hand on the table. "Get out of here."

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  tppm
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


I think it works best before the dialogue. It's the action the character takes before he speaks.


With this I thoroughly agree, because it often provides a stronger emphasis on the words being spoken.

graybyrd

It's rather like pizza. You can spend hours and hours filling endless pages, analyzing and arguing the ingredients, or you can take a bite of the damned thing and decide whether or not it tastes good! Either it suits your taste, or not. The only thing that counts in the end is whether or not you'd order and eat another just like it.

As for words on paper, either they tell the tale without boring the reader, or not. Hopefully the tale flows smoothly without awkward or clumsy constructions, and it imparts a sense of being there, engaged in the scenes, believing the reality of the characters.

And for all the rest? It's just crap, mostly.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Why? ;-)

Only because you asked about why we use the technique, even after you made it obvious you didn't think it made any sense. (I was explaining why I continued belaboring the point, long after everyone else gave up on it.)

@Switch

I think it works best before the dialogue. It's the action the character takes before he speaks.

Your example works well, it's a very distinctive action. What doesn't are simpler actions, like "Bob laughed", or "He shrugged". I find it's better using fuller sentences, which I find more useful to denote delays in speech, rather than introducing speech.

@graybyrd

And for all the rest? It's just crap, mostly.

If that's the case, then there would be absolutely no market for quality writers. If instead, you're saying it's not worth your time worrying about it, then you're essentially saying you don't care about how your writing is perceived.

I present these ideas to add tools to others' quivers. They can use them or not, but at least they'll understand the issues. But your attitude reminds me of a story filled with typos. if a writer isn't interested in quality, then why should the reader take it seriously (since the author himself doesn't). It's more a matter of personal pride, than one of storytelling.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Only because you asked about why we use the technique, even after you made it obvious you didn't think it made any sense. (I was explaining why I continued belaboring the point, long after everyone else gave up on it.)


Sorry, it was supposed to be a joke playing off on your comment. I thought the winking smiley face would give it away.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

"Bob laughed", or "He shrugged". I find it's better using fuller sentences


Am I the only one who doesn't mind short sentences? To me, they're not "See Spot run." There are both long sentences and short sentences.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Your example works well, it's a very distinctive action. What doesn't are simpler actions, like "Bob laughed", or "He shrugged". I find it's better using fuller sentences, which I find more useful to denote delays in speech, rather than introducing speech.


But the simple action could be concurrent with the speech rather than denoting a pause. In that case, putting it in the middle creates the impression of a pause where none should exist.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Am I the only one who doesn't mind short sentences? To me, they're not "See Spot run." There are both long sentences and short sentences.

I've been using more shorter (single concept) sentences, but I discovered I had dozens of "he shrugged" or "he laughed" sentences which only marginally advanced the story. I found it better to drop most of them. You get the idea how the character is responding quickly, you don't need to keep reminding readers each time. Rather than a simple two sentence introductory sentence, I found longer descriptive sentences (which described what was happening, rather than how one character responded) worked better.

@Dominions Son

But the simple action could be concurrent with the speech rather than denoting a pause. In that case, putting it in the middle creates the impression of a pause where none should exist.

I think it's important to put the context into the discussion. I often try to incorporate the pacing of speech in my dialogue, more than I due specific speech patterns. Thus I work to show how people pause (ellipses), interrupt (em-dashes), or delay (action passages to convey short passages of time).

If I want to show fast dialogue, I don't interrupt it to what someone is doing!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

but I discovered I had dozens of "he shrugged" or "he laughed" sentences which only marginally advanced the story.


Okay, that's different. I remember reading a new story from an author I liked after he said he was going to "show" more from now on (show don't tell). It seemed in every paragraph a character sighed. It was awful.

Replies:   Dominions Son
tppm

@Switch Blayde

I think it works best before the dialogue. It's the action the character takes before he speaks.

He slapped his hand on the table. "Get out of here."


Without the mention that the action occurs BEFORE the speech it's not in the least clear whether that's "He slapped his hand on the table, then said 'Get out of here.'" or "He slapped his hand on the table, while saying 'Get out of here.'"

Switch Blayde

@tppm

it's not in the least clear whether that's "He slapped his hand on the table, then said 'Get out of here.'" or "He slapped his hand on the table, while saying 'Get out of here.'"


It is clear. It's the first one (then said). The reader knows that because it's two sentences.

To make the two concurrent, you'd write something like:

He slapped his hand on the table while shouting, "Get out of here."

Replies:   tppm  Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I liked after he said he was going to "show" more from now on (show don't tell). It seemed in every paragraph a character sighed. It was awful.


All things in moderation. Either he was trying to simply have action tags for every bit of dialog (too much of a good thing) or it was a really depressing story for the characters to have actual cause to sigh so much.

tppm

@Switch Blayde

That example is clear, the first isn't.

Switch Blayde

@tppm

That example is clear, the first isn't.


Why isn't the first one clear? Unless you're being told something happens concurrently, it means they happen in the order written. That's what the period is for.

Thing 1. Thing 2. Thing 3 and Thing 4. Thing 5 while Thing 6. Thing 7.

Thing 1 happens. Then Thing 2 happens. Then Thing 3 and 4 happen together. Then Thing 5 and 6 happen together (but after 3 & 4). Then Thing 7 happens.

That's why punctuation is so important. It guides the reader.

Switch Blayde

@tppm

He shrugged. "I don't know."
First he shrugged and then spoke.

"I don't know." He shrugged.
First he spoke and then he shrugged.

"I don't know," he said while shrugging.
Did both at the same time.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Switch Blayde

I see what you're saying, I disagree.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

To make the two concurrent, you'd write something like:

He slapped his hand on the table while shouting, "Get out of here."

Or: He slapped his hand on the table, shouting "Get out!" (the "of here" is extraneous).

El_Sol

This is why we can't have nice threads.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@El_Sol

This is why we can't have nice threads.


Relatively speaking, this is a nice thread.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  El_Sol
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Relatively speaking, this is a nice thread.

That's a nice, nice thread. Please don't bite me!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

That's a nice, nice thread. Please don't bite me!


;-)

sejintenej

@tppm

He slapped his hand on the table. "Get out of here."
Without the mention that the action occurs BEFORE the speech it's not in the least clear whether that's "He slapped his hand on the table, then said 'Get out of here.'" or "He slapped his hand on the table, while saying 'Get out of here.'"

Surely earlier Switch Blayde had written that he had or is moving towards a more graphical introduction in order to set the overall scene and avoid too many "he laughed"s etc.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Surely earlier Switch Blayde had written that he had or is moving towards a more graphical introduction in order to set the overall scene and avoid too many "he laughed"s etc.

You may be confusing Switch's and my comments. I was the one complaining about "he laughed", "he nodded" and "he sighed" comments. I believe Switch has been there for a while.

Besides, thinking it out logically, how many people speak while slamming a table with their hand? They either say it before, or afterwards. Otherwise, their words will be lost. Tppm may be overthinking the whole 'concurrent actions' issue. It makes sense to be aware of how actions occur, and how punctuation can affect time perceptions, but then there's becoming obsessed with it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Besides, thinking it out logically, how many people speak while slamming a table with their hand? They either say it before, or afterwards.


I've also been one interested in concurrent action/dialog. I agree with you. The hand slam on table is not a candidate for concurrency for the reasons you state. Most of the time it will either be before as an interrupter / attention grabber or after as a physical exclamation point.

In the case of "Get Out." personally, I would go with after/physical exclamation point.

There is one other case that could put the physical exclamation point in the middle, political oratory.

"Statement" pound. "statement" pound "statement" pound. As implied by the structure, there would be a pause in speaking for each pound.

ETA: Watch old film footage of Hitler speaking. IIRC from what I have seen, he was one for pounding the podium while giving speeches.

El_Sol

@Dominions Son

> Relatively speaking, this is a nice thread.

So it is not a nice thread, it is just nice in comparison to the thread already about the said/asked/laughed/shat thread.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@El_Sol

So it is not a nice thread, it is just nice in comparison to the thread already about the said/asked/laughed/shat thread.

How about "This is a positive thread", as opposed to those that go round and round, with no one being happy with the results?

El_Sol

Except for the part where it left the style conversation which was actually very interesting as it gives us a view of how self-aware a writer's style is.

Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

There is one other case that could put the physical exclamation point in the middle, political oratory.

"Statement" pound. "statement" pound "statement" pound. As implied by the structure, there would be a pause in speaking for each pound.


Another example would be a judge pounding the gavel while shouting for order in the court. At least on TV they are often pounding and shouting at the same time.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

Another example would be a judge pounding the gavel while shouting for order in the court. At least on TV they are often pounding and shouting at the same time.


I don't know about in the US, but in NSW I've seen it happen: pound "Order," pound, "order," pound, "order," pound, "bailiff, clear the court."

Also, I've seen speakers who pound a fist into the open palm of their other hand while they actually speak, actions and words go together.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Also, I've seen speakers who pound a fist into the open palm of their other hand while they actually speak, actions and words go together.


That can work concurrent to dialog because pounding fist into palm doesn't make as much noise as pounding on a table or podium.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I don't know about in the US, but in NSW I've seen it happen: pound "Order," pound, "order," pound, "order," pound, "bailiff, clear the court."


From what I have seen, the tradition in the US is to pound the gavel three times, then call for order. So it would be:

pound pound pound "Order in the court!" Not sure how many times they will repeat that before having the bailiff clear the court.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

From what I have seen, the tradition in the US is to pound the gavel three times, then call for order.


As I said, I only know what I have seen on TV for this. I have never been in a courtroom where this has occurred.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There is one other case that could put the physical exclamation point in the middle, political oratory.

Again, this gets to the timing issue we've been concerned with lately. In such a situation, you typically want a pause before each inflamatory statement, even if it's a single compound sentence. A handy way to accomplish that is to put actions between each statement.

"I'll tell you my plan, Mr. Bond, because you won't live long enough to do anything about it. I plan," Dr. X paused as he stroked his cat, "to infect the world's paper money supply with Ebola," he flicked a fly away from his beloved pet, more concerned with it that the lives of millions. "After the world economy collapses, everyone will flock to my guaranteed mutual funds, funded by shorts on humanity. Ha-ha-ha!"


@Capt Zapp

Another example would be a judge pounding the gavel while shouting for order in the court. At least on TV they are often pounding and shouting at the same time.

I used this in a story recently, featuring a congressional investigation. It adds a very dramatic emphasis to a story segment. It's especially good at capturing both the frustration and anger of the judge/committee chairman.

Replies:   aubie56
aubie56

@Crumbly Writer

"I'll tell you my plan, Mr. Bond, because you won't live long enough to do anything about it. I plan," Dr. X paused as he stroked his cat, "to infect the world's paper money supply with Ebola," he flicked a fly away from his beloved pet, more concerned with it that the lives of millions. "After the world economy collapses, everyone will flock to my guaranteed mutual funds, funded by shorts on humanity. Ha-ha-ha!"


What a great story idea!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@aubie56

What a great story idea!

Ha-ha, feel free to run with it, as I'll never use it. It's not overly complex enough for me. ;D

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