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Sound effects in narrative

Switch Blayde

I was once on a forum where they were talking about using sound effects in a story. The general consensus was that it was a gimmick, cartoonish, amateurish. However, I like to do it sometimes. After all, isn't it showing rather than telling?

I'm editing my novel and came across the following:

A large man emerged from the other side. Steele raised his Glock and fired. The muffled sound of the silencer was followed by the thud of the Russian's body hitting the floor.

Steele rushed up to the man and kicked him. He rolled onto his back with a moan and a hand clutching his bleeding chest. It was one of the Russians Steele had encountered at the Yum Soo cleaners that very first time, the one whose hand had been down the front of Zhenzhen's pants. Steele pointed the long silencer at the man's forehead.

"No more immunity," Steele whispered as he pulled the trigger.

phut

Blood spurted from the Russian's skull and spread on the floor like flowing lava. Steele left the body on the kitchen floor and investigated room after room. No one else was on that level so he slinked up the stairs to the second floor.


I had two sound effects in those few paragraphs.

In another part, I wrote:

Steele grabbed the cord binding the Russian's ankles and dragged him out of the room. At the top of the staircase, he waited for the woman to follow and then continued down the stairs. With each step, the Russian's head dropped onto the next marble step. Thump, thump, thump. Steele left him lying on the marble floor in the foyer while the woman finished her descent and sat on the stairs with her elbows on her knees and her chin resting in her hands.


So what do you guys think about using sound effects?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  PotomacBob  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

No one else was on that level so he slinked up the stairs to the second floor.

It's not a sound effect, but I think it's related to your relaxing the general restrictions. Why would someone who's alone in a house, armed with a gun, who'd just shot someone in the head, be "slinking" though a house. "Slink" involves secrecy an implies devious and deceitful, hardly the images you want for an angry, cold-blooded killer.

Also, shouldn't "phut" contain punctuation of some sort?

robberhands

'Prrprrprrprr', he blew a raspberry in response. Don't like it but it doesn't upset me, either.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

And here in Merrie Englande, we can say 'slunk' instead of 'slinked'. ;)

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Why would someone who's alone in a house, armed with a gun, who'd just shot someone in the head, be "slinking" though a house.


He's not alone. He's looking for the others. This one just surprised him.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Also, shouldn't "phut" contain punctuation of some sort?


I don't know.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

'Prrprrprrprr', he blew a raspberry in response. Don't like it but it doesn't upset me, either.

If you intend to show by including sounds, you eliminate any benefit by telling that they are sounds. Pick one or the other, but you can't split the difference, otherwise you just have a mess on your hands.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

He's not alone. He's looking for the others. This one just surprised him.

Again, there's a world of difference between "moved quietly" and "slinked". (By the way, I prefer "slunk" in that instance over "slinked".)

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Also, shouldn't "phut" contain punctuation of some sort?

I don't know.

It's a one word sentence. After all, how many stories have you read where an explosion is marked with "BAM!", or a punch with "POW!"? Besides, an exclamation add a definitive finality to the gunshot's statement.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

I intended to show I find soundtracks in written stories rather silly. I guess Switch wants to come as close to the feeling of a movie as possible but it doesn't work for me.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@robberhands

guess Switch wants to come as close to the feeling of a movie as possible but it doesn't work for me.


No, it's not going to work for everyone. That doesn't mean that there's anything inherently wrong with doing it.

Not every book needs to be written to the widest possible audience.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son


guess Switch wants to come as close to the feeling of a movie as possible but it doesn't work for me.

No, it's not going to work for everyone. That doesn't mean that there's anything inherently wrong with doing it.


Then again, if an author can't express himself with words—instead having to incorporate popular motifs from filmmaking—it doesn't say much for their confidence as an author. Just sayin'.

In general, although I have used certain sounds, I generally restrict it to comic uses, and mostly in 1st person narratives, such as the narrator saying "I did < something>, and then BAM! I got punched."

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Then again, if an author can't express himself with words—instead having to incorporate popular motifs from filmmaking


Thinking about how sound effects have to be included in a book, I would call it more a comic book motif than a film motif.

Centaur

Gee willikers Batman the Joker is getting away. BAM! POW!

Yup reminds me of the Batman TV show.

PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

As a reader, I like the sound effects. I find them ... uh ... effective.

Ross at Play
Updated:

I question whether all of those are sound effects.

Certainly not, 'the thud of ...' To me, that's just an ordinary word being used with its usual meaning. It is an example of onomatopoeia, a word that when spoken sounds like the sound it is describing. So what? I see no reason to put that one in italics.

My totally uninformed opinion about the others is they are sounds effects, but if you put those in italics I cannot see any reader having any difficulty understanding your meanting. I cannot see any problem - in fiction. Obviously you will be consistent and use them sparingly.

However, I think phut definitely belongs in the previous paragraph. I fear it loses context if placed in a separate paragraph instead of connected to the narrative describing what made the sound. I would write that as:

"No more immunity," Steele whispered as he pulled the trigger. Phut!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

First, I'm assuming you aren't talking about embedding a sound file in the story.

Second, I'm assuming you mean to have a word equivalent of a sound in the story narrative.

Based on the two above assumption being correct, it can be both good and bad to include sound 'words' in a story's narrative. The main deciding factor of being good or bad is how you do it.

In my story Heritage I have a scene where two men enter a room and use sound suppressed guns to shoot the guards in the room with the sleeping target. I mention the sound of the guns this way:

" ... he's just starting to respond to the four very quiet 'phuts' of the sound suppressed pistols. ... "

I have the sound word 'phuts' in italics to show it isn't a normal narrative text word.

The above is a common way to get across the fact a sound was heard, and the rough level of the sound in involved.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Joe Long
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Phut!

This is an example of where words in italics can crowd out punctuation in a way that disturbs me.

It's looks okay if you use a full stop but my preference would be an exclamation mark. I would then insert a space between it and the word. I certainly would not put the exclamation mark in italics too.

REP

@Switch Blayde

I personally do not have a problem with their use. However, getting the proper sound effect for the situation is critical.

I can accept Phut for a gun fired with a silencer.

Somehow Thud for a body collapsing onto the floor bothers me. A body collapses like a wet noodle rather than toppling like a tree, so I don't see Thud as a good term.

richardshagrin

@REP

Thud

"Dictionary

thud
THəd
noun
1.
a dull, heavy sound, such as that made by an object falling to the ground.
"Jean heard the thud of the closing door"
synonyms: thump, thunk, clunk, clonk, crash, smack, bang;
verb
1.
move, fall, or strike something with a dull, heavy sound.
"the bullets thudded into the dusty ground"
synonyms: thump, thunk, clunk, clonk, crash, smack, bang;"

Replies:   REP
REP

@richardshagrin

When I was younger, I studied Ju-Jitsu. We were taught how to collapse into the ground, which was similar to how I see a body collapsing. We did not make a Thud or any other sound that I have a word for.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

Somehow Thud for a body collapsing onto the floor bothers me. A body collapses like a wet noodle rather than toppling like a tree, so I don't see Thud as a good term.


Only once have I heard a human body hit the floor with a loud thud. Tall guy toppled over backwards almost as stiff as a board. There was a loud thud when he hit the hardwood floor. They treated him for a severely fractured skull when he got to hospital.

Ross at Play

@REP

We did not make a Thud or any other sound that I have a word for.

I would agree the sound when a body collapses to the ground is not "thud", and I don't have a suitable word for that either.
However, I would say the meaning of the word 'thud' is kind of sound made when something heavy falls over. I would not put it in italics because it is not a sound effect, rather it's an ordinary word meaning of the kind of sound which would be made.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

In my story Heritage I have a scene where two men enter a room and use sound suppressed guns to shoot the guards in the room with the sleeping target. I mention the sound of the guns this way:

" ... he's just starting to respond to the four very quiet 'phuts' of the sound suppressed pistols. ... "

Of course, we'll all forgetting the silencers don't work the way they're shown in the movies. They're not that quiet. The sound just doesn't carry as far. But you can still hear it in an otherwise quiet residence, assuming it's not a million-dollar spread.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@REP

A body collapses like a wet noodle rather than toppling like a tree, so I don't see Thud as a good term.

A two-hundred pound wet noodle, maybe.

AmigaClone

@REP

We did not make a Thud or any other sound that I have a word for.


The sound a human body makes when collapsing on a surface varies somewhat with what that surface is, and what is below it.

I have lived in apartment buildings that someone practicing to collapse in a living room might not make a sound when doing so on the lowest floor but would have a very noticeable sound on the next floor up.

Crumbly Writer

I'm also not a fan of putting sound effects into italics, as they're not foreign terms. It's a word for a sound, as if the sound was speaking as a minor character on the page before it disappears again. I'd leave the exclamation but leave it in plain text.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Centaur

@REP

When I was younger, I studied Ju-Jitsu. We were taught how to collapse into the ground, which was similar to how I see a body collapsing. We did not make a Thud or any other sound that I have a word for.


You need to watch some Youtube videos of knock out fights. there is a sound made.

AmigaClone
The sound a human body makes when collapsing on a surface varies somewhat with what that surface is, and what is below it.


Right wood floors or floors with a space below them will echo or sound louder. concrete or grass you'er not going to hear much.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Of course, we'll all forgetting the silencers don't work the way they're shown in the movies. They're not that quiet.


Actually, when someone does make the real effort to use a 'sound suppressor' that's properly designed for the gun and they intend to greatly reduce the sound, they do become as quiet as you see in the movies.

The thing is a lot of people use a gun with super-sonic rounds, while people wanting to reduce the sound use lower velocity rounds. Also, some of what people think are sound suppressors are actually anti-flash devices to reduce the flash.

Sound suppressors are placed on guns to reduce the sound, which they, a great deal. However, the people who use sound suppressed guns in real life also use lower velocity ammunition to reduce the original sound to begin with. Here's some real life videos of guns with and without suppressors. Note the differences and how quiet they are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3VITZ6-CcY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZU5TGljAmw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhdXly6jT4E

The bottom one is by The Myth Busters

Using a 9 x 19 mm Parabellum you can load with different loads in the cartridge in both gunpowder and bullet weight to vary the velocity from 990 ft/s to 1,335 ft/s. The speed of sound is 1,087 ft/s so you can have rounds both faster and slower than the speed of sound.

The sound suppressors reduce the sound by a significant percentage, when you lower the starting sound what you end up with is a lot lower than most people expect. The main reason the military use sound suppressors in some situations is to reduce the range the sound carries, thus lessens the risk of people hearing it, and it also confusers those who do hear it as to where it came from, due to the change in frequency making it harder to locate.

Where the authorities have found sound suppressed guns used to murder people in real life they've found guns using .22 short which is a low velocity small calibre ammunition which has a much lower sound to start with, nothing like the heavy .45s many people like. Most .22 shorts are sub-sonic at around the 830 ft/s to 1,000 ft/s. You can get some supersonic .22 shorts, but the more commonly used ones are down around the 560 ft/s to 750 ft/s. thus they're very soft sounding guns to start with.

Compare the sound of this to the early unsuppressed guns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCte1rSfvKQ

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


"BAM!", or a punch with "POW!"


That's because the ! is part of the word.

But I changed it to "Phut." with a capital "P" and a period.

I originally made it lower case because of the soft sound it represents. Without the capital, I left off the period.

there's a world of difference between "moved quietly" and "slinked"


He "slinked" — looking around him, being quiet, sneaking up on whoever was in the house.

I never heard "slunk." I actually write "dived" now instead of "dove." So it had to be "slinked." Just checked Grammar Girl. It should be "slunk."

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I'm also not a fan of putting sound effects into italics, as they're not foreign terms. It's a word for a sound

I find that argument convincing.
Authors invent words that don't exist in dictionaries all the time. We don't put those in italics; we reserve italics for words that exist in dictionaries, but possibly not ones for English.
Likewise, we don't use italics for exclamations listed in English, e.g. Ah!, Oh!, Ow!
However, I see one distinction which should be made in SB's text. I see 'a thud' as being used as a common noun, but 'thump' and 'phut' as exclamations. I cannot see any compelling argument for punctuating them as other than any other common nouns and exclamations.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I never heard "slunk." I actually write "dived" now instead of "dove." So it had to be "slinked." Just checked Grammar Girl. It should be "slunk."

So, now you prefer dived instead of dove, eh? I should not gloat. I should not gloat. I should not gloat. Sorry, SB, for that petty-minded lapse into gloating. :-)

* * *

Compare these ngrams:
slinked v slunk
dove (verb) v dived

I think they show you're correct to prefer dived and slunk.

For both, the use of the alternative was low until about 1960. See what happens when you change the corpus on those links to American English then British English. While the variants are gaining in popularity, it really is an American-only phenomenon.

I still think if a variant is acceptable in one form, either American or British, but rarely ever used in the other, authors should avoid causing needless offense to anyone by choosing the variant that is acceptable in both.

* * *

There is a good reason for preferring the regular dived, but the irregular slunk.

The long-term trend is for irregular verbs to become regular. Verbs going the other way are extremely rare. I know of only three that have trended that way in the last few hundred years!
* TO SPIT has gone from regular (spit-spitted-spitted) to almost totally irregular (spit-spat/spitted-spat) within that time. The only sense I would use spitted for nowadays is when a spike is driven through the carcass of an animal.
* TO DIVE has gained a variant, dove, for the simple past tense which is common, but still less popular, in AmE but rarely used in BrE.
* TO DRAG gained a similar variant, drug, in AmE but it never gained acceptance and is considered dialectic, i.e. not something an educated person would want to be caught doing.

So, the scorecard is about one-and-a-third transitions completed for regular to irregular in the last few hundred years. I don;t know how many, but my understanding is quite a lot of irregular forms have become obsolete during that time.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
awnlee jawking

@REP

My understanding is that when you're taught to fall 'properly', it's a soft fall. However most people tense up and make a hard fall, the sort that can break bones, especially in the elderly.

A hard fall would be noisier than a soft fall.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

"BAM!", or a punch with "POW!"

That's because the ! is part of the word.


I disagree. You won't find 'BAM!' or 'POW!' in a dictionary. However, in the circumstances, I wouldn't complain about your using up some of your 'three exclamation marks per chapter' allowance for the purpose of emphasis.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

the sort that can break bones, especially in the elderly.

My brother is a doctor specialising in the treatment of the elderly. He did a meta-study on those, already elderly, already in either a hospital or nursing home, and who suffer a serious injury in a fall.
The break-up of the eventual consequences was a surprising even spread between the four categories. All four were above 20%, as I recall, or close enough to that. And the categories? They were: recovery with minimal (no?) loss of mobility, recovery with substantial(?) loss of mobility, bed-ridden, and death. :(

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I wouldn't complain about your using up some of your 'three exclamation marks per chapter' allowance for the purpose of emphasis.

WHAT!
WHO says that? But it would ... set a totally arbitrary limit of three paragraphs per every chapter? That's crazy!
I will not accept that ... and that's FINAL !!!

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Sorry, I got it wrong. The limit is two or three per 100,000 words.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/curb-your-enthusiasm/513833/

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I never heard "slunk." I actually write "dived" now instead of "dove." So it had to be "slinked." Just checked Grammar Girl. It should be "slunk."

If it makes you feel better, you could split the difference and go with the past-perfect form, "slunked", as opposed to the traditional "had slunk". ;D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

My understanding is that when you're taught to fall 'properly', it's a soft fall. However most people tense up and make a hard fall, the sort that can break bones, especially in the elderly.

A hard fall would be noisier than a soft fall.

The other secret to not making noise when you fall, is to not break your skull and suffer a concussion by banging your head against a concrete or hard wood floor. That's usually the biggest sound you hear in most instances.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I wouldn't complain about your using up some of your 'three exclamation marks per chapter' allowance for the purpose of emphasis.

WHAT!
WHO says that? But it would ... set a totally arbitrary limit of three paragraphs per every chapter? That's crazy!
I will not accept that ... and that's FINAL !!!

That allows substantially more exclamations in a 1,000 word chapter than it does in a 12,000 word chapter. It might lead to authors having a single domestic fight spread across multiple chapters, just to fit in all the screams and insults.

Personally, I think it's an idiotic restriction. You include as many as the chapter calls for. Better than strict limits, it's better to approach them cautiously. Oh, and no examples of "Ooooohhhhhh Gooodddd, I'm Cuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmiiiiiiinnnnnngggggg!!!!!!!!!"

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Sorry, I got it wrong. The limit is two or three per 100,000 words.

There's not much call for curses, accusations and insults in magazine articles, as arguments between reports is considered a no-no and unprofessional. As a result, I think it has little relation to fictional authors.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

There's not much call for curses, accusations and insults in magazine articles,

Are you in a hurry to comment every statement? I guess there was no time to actually look at the article-link AJ provided.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

So, now you prefer dived instead of dove, eh? I should not gloat.


Nope. I prefer "dove" to "dived" and that's what I say when talking. What I said is I now WRITE "dived' in my stories to avoid confusion for those who aren't familiar with "dove" as the past tense of "to dive."

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Although the article is actually about fiction authors, you'll note that the graph of Great authors uses of exclamation doesn't agree with the text in the article, making any conclusions drawn from it highly questionable. Also, the selected authors (a very small sample size), cover a wide variety of different types o stories and story telling, and I'm not sure you can limit one group of authors based on authors who write completely different types of stories.

I'm not a big fan of the overuse of exclamation marks, but I think arbitrary limits are meaningless when applied to every possible story, rather than simply focusing on a single story or single chapter at a time.

Replies:   robberhands
Switch Blayde

After changing all occurrences of "slinked" to "slunk," I took them all out. I replaced them with "sneaked" and other words. I do not like the word "slunk."

And I used "sneaked" rather than "snuck."

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

See, now that you slowed down and took the time to regard the link, you're in a position to write a reasonable comment.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

After changing all occurrences of "slinked" to "slunk," I took them all out. I replaced them with "sneaked" and other words. I do not like the word "slunk."

And I used "sneaked" rather than "snuck."


For me, slinked/slunk has connotations of 'down' rather than 'up' whereas sneaked/snuck has no such limitations, so sneaking upstairs doesn't jar with me.

I approve of your change.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


snuck


"Words at Play

Sneaked or Snuck: Which Is Correct?

It's a Modern English Mystery

It's a modern English mystery: not so very long ago, a new past tense form of a fairly common verb snuck – or is it sneaked? – into the English language. And no one really knows how or why.

snuck-or-sneaked-which-is-correct

Sneak had the past tense form sneaked when it first appeared in the late 1500s, but about 300 years later, in the late 1800s, the form snuck started showing up in the United States. To appreciate how odd this is we should recap the two basic English verb categories. Those that take the familiar -ed for their past tense and past-participle forms – for example, play: They played chess yesterday and They have played daily for years – are called "regular" verbs. They follow the rules and constitute the great majority of English verbs. The other not-so-predictable verbs are "irregular." They follow long-abandoned logic and confuse anyone who pays attention to them: am becomes was becomes been??

Both regular and irregular verbs date back to Old English, but over the centuries most verbs that had been irregular developed regular forms, eventually leaving only the most common of the irregular verbs – among them be, do, say, go, take, and get – with their quirky conjugations.

But sneak bucks the trend. Over the past 120-odd years snuck has become by some estimations the more common past tense form in the US. Some people object to the sneaky upstart – especially speakers of British English – but it appears regularly and without commentary in respected publications on both sides of the pond.

Perhaps the most mysterious part of the story of snuck is the question of where it came from. No common verb follows the precise pattern of snuck: the past tense of leak is not luck, of streak is not struck, of creak is not cruck, of peek is not puck. It's as if snuck just sidled on in and made itself at home in the language, and most of us took it for a native. Pretty sneaky."

Maybe because it rhymes with fuck?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

If it makes you feel better, you could split the difference and go with the past-perfect form, "slunked", as opposed to the traditional "had slunk". ;D

Thank you.
I think that's the first time anyone here has ever written a joke that I'm the only person capable of understanding.
You had me fooled too - and absolutely outraged - until I saw the smiley.

Maybe the joke's on you?
There are some people who actually do that! See ngrams. While slinked has been rocketing up in popularity to a level of one-tenth that of slunk, slunked has at the same time been shooting up to a level of one-five-hundredth as popular.

Nah! the joke is on me, for wasting my time in researching and writing a straight reply. :-)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I think that's the first time anyone here has ever written a joke that I'm the only person capable of understanding.

Does that make you feel sublime and proud or rather lonely and excluded?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

The other secret to not making noise when you fall, is to not break your skull and suffer a concussion by banging your head against a concrete or hard wood floor. That's usually the biggest sound you hear in most instances.

YEP! There usually is a loud noise when something hard is hit by something hard and hollow.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I prefer "dove" to "dived" and that's what I say when talking. What I said is I now WRITE "dived' in my stories

And I totally approve of that.
My argument has always been to 'know your audience'.

After changing all occurrences of "slinked" to "slunk," I took them all out. I replaced them with "sneaked" and other words. I do not like the word "slunk."

I kind of agree!?
There is something about slunk that sounds irritating to me too.
How about crept?
And a few started to slink?

And I used "sneaked" rather than "snuck."

You are on rock solid ground with that one.
I said above I only knew of three verbs that have trended towards an irregular form in recent centuries. 'Snuck' is another. Again, a change started in America about 1960 - but with this one it is catching on in British English too. It is up to 30% as popular as 'sneaked' in American English, and 20% in British English.

BTW, I use the Wiki link - a lot. When variants are listed I almost always use the first one listed.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Does that make you feel sublime and proud or rather lonely and excluded?

Full of false pride, and kinda slimy. :-)
Mitten smeilisch gerade zum sie.

EDIT TO ADD:
I wrote what I thought was fake German, trying to suggest a meaning of, 'With a smiley just for you'.
It has an actual meaning, according to Google. Their translation was, 'In the middle of the mermaid just to her'.

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

Words at Play

Aah! Someone's stolen my name!

... over the centuries most verbs that had been irregular developed regular forms, eventually leaving only the most common of the irregular verbs.
But sneak bucks the trend.

Aaaahhh! They've stolen my brain too!!!

WHO IS this sneaky, evil genius?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Aaaahhh! They've stolen my brain too!!!

WHO IS this sneaky, evil genius?

Apparently a small-time criminal.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Apparently a small-time criminal.

Ouch! LOL.
I hope they end up having to pay someone to take it away to a toxic-waste disposal facility.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I said above I only knew of three verbs that have trended towards an irregular form in recent centuries. 'Snuck' is another.


If someone pins you to the ground with a stake then you're stuck ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

If someone pins you to the ground with a stake then you're stuck ;)

Yeah. Punned to the ground, totally stucken, stick that stake in my heart, Buffy. This steak is done!

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I approve of your change.


I actually like "crept," but I think of that as being on your hands and knees, rather than hunched over and walking stealthily.

Switch Blayde

@Switch Blayde

walking stealthily.


Maybe it's time for an adverb. :P

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I'd go for double points - 'creepily sneaking'.

REP

@awnlee jawking

However most people tense up and make a hard fall, the sort that can break bones, especially in the elderly.


Awnlee, you missed the context.

SB was talking about a Dead body collapsing and making a Thud. People don't tense up when they are Dead. There may be a brief tensing of the muscles followed by spasmatic muscle twitches. But the muscles basically go limp and a limp body does not make a lot of noise when it collapses to the ground. Someone who is still alive will stiffen and they can go down like a tree falling, which can make a much louder noise.

awnlee jawking

@REP

Aha, you grasped my point.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@REP

SB was talking about a Dead body collapsing and making a Thud.


Dead weight. He didn't die until the second shot.
The reason for the "thud" was to give the sense of dead weight dropping, like a sack of potatoes.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Time for some science. You'll have to go out and shoot someone dead and listen carefully to what their dead body sounds like when it hits the ground. Choose someone of no benefit to society, like a politician or a banker.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@REP

People don't tense up when they are Dead.


Do they tense up when they know they're about to die? It's been posited that's the reason lobsters which are stunned before being chucked in a pan of boiling water are more tender, and why ethically slaughtered meat is more tender than halal.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

The reason for the "thud" was to give the sense of dead weight dropping, like a sack of potatoes.

Is it realistic that the sound when he fell would be a thud?
I think REP and EB are right that in many circumstances it would not.
Has the character who gets shot been described as tall and solidly built? Then, I think thud will comfortably pass any plausibility test readers might give it. :-)

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Has the character who gets shot been described as tall and solidly built? Then, I think thud will comfortably pass any plausibility test readers might give it. :-)


All of the bad guys are large.

Replies:   Centaur  Ross at Play
Centaur
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

So little people are not bad?

Ewoks are evil!

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

All of the bad guys are large.

I assumed they would be, except, of course, if your bad guys just happened to include a weedy computer nerd with glasses, or a wiry, inscrutable, oriental martial-arts expert.

Just because something they're hackneyed old clichés, that does not mean we should not still be using them. :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I actually like "crept," but I think of that as being on your hands and knees, rather than hunched over and walking stealthily.

You're confusing it with "crawl". There's nothing inherent in "crept" that denotes moving on your hands and knees (other than various comedy shows). The original usage, and those I'm most familiar with, uses it as a synonym for slunked. 'D

Replies:   richardshagrin
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Aha, you grasped my point.

I always appreciate it when someone grasps and manipulates my point-er.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Is it realistic that the sound when he fell would be a thud?
I think REP and EB are right that in many circumstances it would not.
Has the character who gets shot been described as tall and solidly built? Then, I think thud will comfortably pass any plausibility test readers might give it. :-)

I think "thump" is a good alternative, as it's not as loud (and hard) as "thud". Again, the words reinforce the sound, making "thump" a better description for a dead body falling, rather than someone who's been punched and who falls straight back, striking their head.

Of course, if you're talking aliens, they always "pling" when they fall. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I assumed they would be, except, of course, if your bad guys just happened to include a weedy computer nerd with glasses, or a wiry, inscrutable, oriental martial-arts expert.

Bouncers and security people are largely big, mostly because they're more likely to be hired if they portray an intimidating image. Most criminals, though, tend to be small and wiry, either because they're hungry, drug-addicted or hoped up on something. But most gang members I've encountered all seem to fit into the same thin and relatively short motif. That's probably why they all feel the need to shoot whenever someone disses them, cause no one would ever be intimidated by them otherwise.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I think "thump" is a good alternative

I do too, but SB mentioned he also uses "Thump, thump, thump" elsewhere. It may depend on how close those two are.

sejintenej

@REP

If jui jigsaw was. Like judo you used your arm to hit the mat with a smack -very different to what is wanted here. I can't think of better than thud

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Bouncers [are mostly] big ... criminals tend to be small

I won't question whether your over-generalisation is generally true. I tend to agree.
However, if SB is hoping his book will someday be made into a movie or TV show, I'd suggest he sticks with the unrealistic trope he's using now.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

rather than hunched over


We evolved to have a head on top of a relatively fragile, long neck because it gives us a decent chance of spotting incipient danger, despite having a relatively poor range of vision. I'm not sure someone who is anticipating danger would be hunched over, because that would reduce their field of vision even more.

Any special forces operatives able to comment on this?

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I'm not sure someone who is anticipating danger would be hunched over, because that would reduce their field of vision even more.

I'll just poke my head up out of this trench to check if there are any bullets flying about the place. :-)

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I don't believe 'Looking-for-Bullets' is one of the darwinistic survival instincts AJ just mentioned.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

I don't believe 'Looking-for-Bullets' is one of the darwinistic survival instincts AJ just mentioned.

Yeah. I am grateful that lions and hyenas did not invent guns before humans. This time, I did add the stupid smiley face.

Sorry for this, but please write that as 'Darwinistic' next time. Unlike in German, it is an adjective, and derived from, as opposed to being a proper noun, but it still refers to the name of a person, and thus should be capitalised.

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I'll just poke my head up out of this trench to check if there are any bullets flying about the place. :-)


Some of the gunfights in TV dramas are hilariously dire. Highly-trained ex-special-forces bad guys and NCIS firing-range crackshots can't hit each other from five yards when it comes to a gunfight, except towards the end when the bad guy inexplicably stands upright from behind his cover, allowing the NCIS agents a free shot from short range ;)

AJ

Replies:   REP
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Sorry for this, but please write that as 'Darwinistic' next time.

Dammit, Grammarly was right.

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

crept

"Crept
www.dictionary.com/browse/crept
verb (used without object), crept, creeping. 1. to move slowly with the body close to the ground, as a reptile or an insect, or a person on hands and knees."

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I think "thump" is a good alternative, as it's not as loud (and hard) as "thud". Again, the words reinforce the sound, making "thump" a better description for a dead body falling,


Not to me. I used "thump" when his head was thumping on each step as he was dragged down the staircase. But "thud" has the sound, to me, of something falling quickly onto the floor, like a sack of potatoes or a large body. But that's just me.

REP

@sejintenej

Yes it was. However we were taught to hit with our hand not our arm. That smack was an intentional act for a specific purpose. We allowed our bodies to relax in a controlled fashion so we collapsed to the ground in a more gradual manner than all at once, which is why our bodies didn't make a Thud.

SB corrected my recollection of what he wrote. The thug wasn't dead when he hit the ground. However, I still see him crumpling in a fashion similar to the fall taught by the various martial arts disciplines and without a Thud.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Most criminals, though, tend to be small and wiry,


Don't forget the type of story it is. The protagonist is a Jack Reacher type, 6'3" and all muscle. The bad guys are KGB/FSB guys built like our Special Ops hero.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I'm not sure someone who is anticipating danger would be hunched over,


Smaller target. Easier to pounce from. Human nature to do it when sneaking up on someone.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@awnlee jawking

That's the entertainment business for you. The actors can act, the script writers can write, the producers produce, and the directors direct. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the result doesn't resemble real life.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@awnlee jawking

I'm not sure someone who is anticipating danger would be hunched over,


I am not such an operative. It seems reasonable that if a person is expecting trouble, likely in the form of being shot at, they would make themselves as small of a target as possible.

awnlee jawking

@REP

We'll have to disagree on that.

Without knowing the full context, it seems to me the scrawny 5' 0" Jack Reacher type (as played by Tom Cruise) has the element of surprise, so optimum perception would be more important than making the smallest target.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@REP

However, I still see him crumpling in a fashion similar to the fall taught by the various martial arts disciplines and without a Thud.


Without bothering to check the earlier posts on this, I'll just mention this:

How a person goes down will depend on how they're hit. A punch in the gut or the balls will have them fold over and go down slowly with little extra sound when they hit the floor. A strong knock from behind to have them fall forwards will be a soft fall as well, because they'll either put out their hands to cushion the fall and their knees will fold. While a hit to the head or upper body that knocks them totally off balance will have them fall backwards like a tree with their whole body straight to have a much hard hit on the floor. A hit to knock them over sideways can go either way, depending on if they put an arm out to cushion the fall and if they turn their body while falling.

pcbondsman

@Crumbly Writer

Most criminals, though, tend to be small and wiry, either because they're hungry, drug-addicted or hoped up on something


What is your basis for this assertion?

Criminals come in all shapes and sizes. You can't categorize them. My basis for that comment - over 20 years in the bail bond business.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

If jui jigsaw was. Like judo you used your arm to hit the mat with a smack -very different to what is wanted here. I can't think of better than thud

Put the dead body on a balcony and then you can use "splat!" Now that brings up visual images!

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Smaller target. Easier to pounce from. Human nature to do it when sneaking up on someone.

Except the visual imagery is all wrong. People hunched over and trying to disappear, and aren't likely to venture forth where it might be dangerous, whereas the hunter types are alter, watchful and ready to react when danger—or opportunity—presents itself.

Personally, I prefer a hero who's in charge, not one who's slinking around, hunched over and afraid.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the result doesn't resemble real life.

And fiction does? Hell, reality doesn't even reflect real life.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I am not such an operative. It seems reasonable that if a person is expecting trouble, likely in the form of being shot at, they would make themselves as small of a target as possible.

You're more likely to "hunch over" when rushing from one safe position (ex: a wall, a car, a building) to another, but you stand to fire back, or to rush the shooter attacker. Once again: hunch=cowardice, standing=bravery. It's OK to cower when you're biding your time for the perfect opportunity, but you want to paint it as a aberration, rather than a primary position.

Replies:   richardshagrin  REP
Crumbly Writer

@pcbondsman

Criminals come in all shapes and sizes. You can't categorize them. My basis for that comment - over 20 years in the bail bond business.

You're right. I was thinking of the drug addict, young gang member (cause few of them live to old age) and those struggling to survive criminals.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

hunter types are alter


I think you meant more alert, because I doubt they went around changing everything.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Personally, I prefer a hero who's in charge, not one who's slinking around, hunched over and afraid.


Never said he was afraid. Cautious. Ready for the unexpected.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

cowardice

If a cowherd is afraid, what is a goatherd?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

what is a goatherd?


A group of elected officials moving about in a pack.

Joe Long

@Ernest Bywater

In my story Heritage I have a scene where two men enter a room and use sound suppressed guns to shoot the guards in the room with the sleeping target. I mention the sound of the guns this way:

" ... he's just starting to respond to the four very quiet 'phuts' of the sound suppressed pistols. ... "


I doubt that a suppressed handgun is so quiet as to not wake a sleeping person. There's been much discussion of this recently as the US Congress has proposed loosening restrictions on suppressors.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Ernest Bywater

@Joe Long

I doubt that a suppressed handgun is so quiet as to not wake a sleeping person.


A lot will depend on how sound a sleeper they are. However, the real issue is the calibre and propellant charge in the cartridge. With a handgun firing low velocity .22 shorts out of a suppressed weapon you'd have to strain to hear it from ten feet away. Mind you, using a suppressor on a .45 ACP will reduce the sound a lot, but you'd still hear it a about 40 feet away. The Myth Buster did an episode where the fired some suppressed guns and the 9 mm they fired sound so close to what you hear them use in the movies it's very hard to tell a difference. That clip is on YouTube. I did post some link in an earlier post on this.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

However, the real issue is the calibre and propellant charge in the cartridge.

Thanks, EB, you've convinced me that the only issue affecting whether a silencer will be effective is if the speed of bullet exceeds the speed of sound.

A tiny object breaking through the speed of sound creates a lot of noise: that is how the crack of a whip is created, when the very tip of the whip, only momentarily, exceeds that speed.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Ross at Play


you've convinced me that the only issue affecting whether a silencer will be effective is if the speed of bullet exceeds the speed of sound.


That's the main issue, because most modern ammunition fires bullets at supersonic speeds, especially the most common calibres now used in handguns. The two that still have regular sub-sonic ammunition are .22 and 9 mm, while you can also get supersonic rounds for them as well.

Where a professional soldier wants to cut the sound during a raid they tend to go with low velocity sub-sonic 9 mm 9 x 19 parabellum rounds in a sound suppressed weapon. Even so, the quality of the suppression is reduced with each round fired, so they try to limit the rounds fired with a suppressed weapon to the minimum for the job. In many cases soldiers on raids will often carry extra suppressors to change during the raid if they have to.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Even so, the quality of the suppression is reduced with each round fired

Okay. So not the only issue. Thanks. :-)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
helmut_meukel

@Ernest Bywater

I read in a story of a makeshift suppressor – an empty plastic bottle of water, soda or cola fixed to the muzzle with duct tape.

Does this even work?

HM.

BTW, it's from John Ringo's "Princess of Wands", Book One 'The Almadu Sanction'.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

Okay. So not the only issue. Thanks. :-)


One of the things the sound suppressors do to cut the sound is to reduce the energy of the sound by absorbing it through the suppressor. The heat transfers to the materials the suppressor is packed with, and a small amount of the material melts with each round fired, thus the effectiveness is slightly reduced due to having less material to work as an active component. How many round you fire before it becomes a problem varies with the bullet and the packed material. From what I've read once you get to around 30 rounds fired there's no sound suppression worth talking about for most of the commonly used military weapons fitted with suppressors.

To that end, I've read where they have a sound suppressor for a .50 cal rifle - which strikes me as a total waste of time and effort as it'll be like trying to suppress the sound of a tank cannon firing. However, what I read only recommended using the suppressor when the target is under 800 yards and you want to hide the flash while causing confusion about where the sound of the shot comes from. So I'd say it's more of a flash suppressor than a sound suppressor in that application.

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

@helmut_meukel


Does this even work?


I've not heard of it being used.

The science behind the way the suppressor works is to eliminate most of the energy from the sound wave riding the compression wave of the propellant going off in the gun. The wave front races up the barrel while pushing the bullet in front of it. The suppressor is designed to deflect and absorb most of the gas and energy in the wave front. In many systems a lot of the energy is absorbed by the suppressor as heat. So, in theory, anything that has the effect to absorb the heat and energy should work.

The majority of modern suppressors work via a series of baffles that allows the gas and the wave fronts to expand before being blocked and constricted again, with each successive baffle removing energy from the wave front. The baffles have a hole aligned with the barrel so the bullet passes through the hole in the baffle and the gas starts to spread only to be stopped by the baffle.

If you look at any video of a big gun firing you can see the big cloud of gas expand out around the barrel when the projectile leaves the barrel, the same thing happens in a smaller way with guns as well. Just the gas and wave is smaller. The baffles allow part of the gas to expand, then has it bounce of the walls of the suppressor to counter act some of the rest of the gas. Thus a smaller amount of energy goes onto the next baffle for the same again, and so on.

The thing a lot of people forget is sound suppressors reduce the sound by a percentage, a high percentage, by still a percentage. Thus the higher the sound you start with, the higher the final sound, and the reverse is true. Yet many people insist on trying to use a sound suppressor on high velocity heavy calibre weapons, and they don't have the effect they want.

pcbondsman

@helmut_meukel

Does this even work?


I've never tried it, nor do I know anyone who has, from what I've read, the answer is "sometimes". It mostly depends on the design and materials used, also those makeshift suppressors usually only work for one or two shots.

All the factors that Ernest has mention apply.

Additionally suppressors aren't very (if at all) effective on revolvers - the gap the bullet and gasses have to "jump" between the cylinder and "forcing cone" lets out a lot of the gasses/noise.

There is perhaps one exception (or partial exception) to this. I've seen one revolver that moves the cylinder forward to get a tighter "seal" with the forcing cone. Alas, I don't remember any more about it than that.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Personally, I prefer a hero who's in charge, not one who's slinking around, hunched over and afraid.

Never said he was afraid. Cautious. Ready for the unexpected.

I understand, but that's not the message you're sending with the phrasing, which evokes it's own visual imagery in readers' minds.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Once again: hunch=cowardice, standing=bravery.


When you are being shot at or believe that someone is going to shoot at you, 'Standing' to fire at the bad guys may give the appearance of bravery, but it is actually a good way to get wounded or killed. If you think of all the scenes you have seen on TV of actual hostile situations (i.e., not Hollywood scripted scenes), you will notice those 'cowardly' police officers crouching behind their patrol cars so they will hopefully not draw the attention of the bad guy and get shot. You may also note the bad guys generally don't expose themselves if they can avoid it.

Replies:   sejintenej
REP

@Crumbly Writer

reality doesn't even reflect real life


My definition of reality is "A person's perception of real life."

REP

@Joe Long

I doubt that a suppressed handgun is so quiet as to not wake a sleeping person.


I would agree. Some people are very sensitive to noise when they are sleeping and even very minor low-level volume noises will wake them.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

One of the things the sound suppressors do to cut the sound is to reduce the energy of the sound by absorbing it through the suppressor


One of the basic things a sound suppressor does to reduce the sound made by a bullet being fired is disperse the gases generated by the propellant burning. If that is what you meant by absorbing, then I would agree with you.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

If that is what you meant by absorbing, then I would agree with you.


After the bullet the two main things to leave the gun barrel are the propellant gases and the shockwave of the propellant explosion. The shockwave carries the sound and goes well beyond the gases, although both travel together until after they leave the barrel. The main thing the suppressor does is to absorb the energy of the shockwave into the baffles, in doing so it also absorbs a large part of the gases while it disperses what little it doesn't absorb of both the gases and the shockwave energy.

sejintenej

@REP

When you are being shot at or believe that someone is going to shoot at you, 'Standing' to fire at the bad guys may give the appearance of bravery, but it is actually a good way to get wounded or killed.

During WWI it was the regulation (especially in the Guards Regiments) that officers stood until their batmen had finished digging their foxholes. The mortality rate was very high!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

WWI was plagued by insanely stupid military tactics by all parities.

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

parities.

"par·i·ty
ˈperədē
noun
the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay.
"parity of incomes between rural workers and those in industrial occupations"
synonyms: equality, equivalence, uniformity, consistency, correspondence, congruity, levelness, unity, coequality
"we strive for a parity of wages"
the value of one currency in terms of another at an established exchange rate."

Probably you mean parties? Although there weren't a lot of "parties" during world war one. Enemies and allies, not what most people would consider a party. Not even Republicans, Democrats or other political parties.

par·ty
ˈpärdē/Submit
noun
1.
a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment.
"an engagement party"
synonyms: (social) gathering, (social) function, get-together, affair, celebration, after-party, festivity, reception, at-home;
2.
a formally constituted political group, typically operating on a national basis, that contests elections and attempts to form or take part in a government.
"the party's conservative mainstream"
synonyms: faction, political party, group, grouping, cabal, junta, bloc, camp, caucus
"the left-wing parties"
verbinformal
1.
enjoy oneself at a party or other lively gathering, typically with drinking and music.
"put on your glad rags and party!"
synonyms: celebrate, have fun, enjoy oneself, have a party, have a good/wild time, go on a spree, rave it up, carouse, make merry;"

It took some looking (there is a legal based definition of party) but this is probably what is meant by the parties in WWI.
"Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0954796616
Giovanni Sartori - 2005 - ‎Political Science
However, the article on 'Party' reads: "party is a faction, interest or power [puissance] which is considered opposed to another"; and one of the examples given is that "Italy has been torn for centuries between the parties of Guelphs and Ghibellines." We thus come full circle. The quotations can also be found in Voltaire's ..."

So if we have a war, there will be at least two parties involved.

REP

@Dominions Son

WWI was plagued by insanely stupid military tactics by all parities.


Yeah, standing when you think someone may shoot at you is really, really stupid.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

stupid military tactics

Clearly this is a redundant phrase. I am not sure about the "insanely". Even more stupid than normal? Would you settle for "insane military tactics"? Lets confirm this by the examples of first use of poison gas, charging machine guns, and artillery preparatory barrages that tore up the terrain so attacks that followed up could not cross the terrain. And planning to use mounted cavalry to follow-up successful attacks through trenches and "no-mans land" torn by artillery. The Generals, on the allied side at least seemed to have the motto, if at first you don't succeed, try again with more troops.

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

re: "stupid military tactics"
Clearly this is a redundant phrase. I am not sure about the "insanely". Even more stupid than normal? Would you settle for "insane military tactics"?

Hmm. You raise some interesting questions.

[Side note to He-Knows-Who-He-Is: this is a "piece of string".]

What is the definition of 'insanity'? Not knowing right from wrong.

To any external observer the military "tactics" in Europe up until beyond WW I are easily assessed as 'insane'. Has there ever been anything more counterproductive than everybody-goes charges across No Man's Land into volleys of machine-gun fire? And if the charge was "successful", what was gained? A small patch of mud that meant absolutely nothing to anybody or anything!?

Medieval tactics were hardly any better: two sides gathered every sucker they could muster, they faced each, and charged. The "winner" was the side who has any bodies left standing after almost everyone there had been hacked to pieces.

But I'm being unfairly Euro-centric here. It wasn't much different on the other side of the Atlantic, twice.

Was Napoleon really a military genius? He certainly was a superior military administrator. But given how predictable his opponents were, anyone willing to think in advance about what kinds of tactics might work better, and to be flexible during battles, could hardly have avoided ending up looking like a military genius.

So were all of those oh-so-incredibly-stupid tactics 'insane' or just 'wrong'? Did the morons in charge know any better?

For a long time military commanders were those who were born into various noble titles. They get there by demonstrating some "talent" and thereby rising through the ranks of a permanent army. True, most kings had demonstrated some talents: they had at least shown enough rat cunning to have escaped all of the assassination attempts against them.

The situation became worse when permanent armies were established. Officers were still chosen by birth - they had to be from a "good family" - but the only other qualification was not being smart enough for a career in business, politics, or the sciences - and, granted, not stupid enough for the clergy either.

I wouldn't classify what all those inbred morons did as 'insane'. I suspect it did not even occur to many that following the established pattern, or following orders, was wrong-headed. And for those that did occur to, trying to convince the higher-ups to change their stupid ways was obviously and utterly futile. The honourable thing to do instead was attempting to single-handedly storm a machine-gun post with a pen knife. So that is what they did. That at least had SOME possibility of achieving something constructive. To them, it actually was the "right thing" to do. It was incredibly, mind-blowingly stupid - but I cannot credit them with the excuse that they were 'insane'.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Yeah, standing when you think someone may shoot at you is really, really stupid.

My point, and I did have one, wasn't that people should stand while people are shooting at them, only that the use of the work "slink", "crouch" or "hunch" might convey more than Switch intended. Authors need to be aware of those secondary assumptions when selecting the best word for a particular context, ensuring their protagonists look cautious, rather than cowardly or sneaky.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp  REP
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Would you settle for "insane military tactics"?

Isn't every military tactic insane?

"You want me to do what?"

"Rush the enemy line, climb through the barb wire, dodging the enemy rifle and machine gun fire, in the hope that a few of you might survive so you can win us another 20 yards on this thousand mile front."

"No thanks, I think I'll stay behind for this particular action."

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

"No thanks, I think I'll stay behind for this particular action."

All Quiet on the Western Front :(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Isn't every military tactic insane?

Some are better than others. In the second world war, the Germans did well with "blitzkrieg" armored warfare penetrating into the rear of enemy formations and cutting their supply lines. Not just the Germans, Patton was fairly successful with the same tactics.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

All Quiet on the Western Front :(


That's because Operation Barbarosa was in full swing on the Eastern Front.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

All Quiet on the Western Front

That's because Operation Barbarossa was in full swing on the Eastern Front.

Two different wars.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

All Quiet on the Western Front and Operation Barbarosa

Two different wars.

And, if I recall correctly, the scene(s) in the movie, perhaps only implication, of executions for the "sane choice" of desertion were utterly gut-wrenching. :(

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

And, if I recall correctly, the scene(s) in the movie, perhaps only implication, of executions for the "sane choice" of desertion were utterly gut-wrenching. :(

Very true, and the particular war chosen as the background of the story doesn't matter much.

Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

Two different wars.


Actual, both wars had a western and an eastern front. It's only if you are being specific about a particular book title does it become two wars. You didn't say that.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

It's only if you are being specific about a particular book title does it become two wars.

Your mentioning of Operation Barbarossa was quite specific too, wasn't it?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Actual, both wars had a western and an eastern front. It's only if you are being specific about a particular book title does it become two wars. You didn't say that.

Not paying that attempt to weasel out of it.

My original reference was written with capitals and in italics.
That was:

being specific about a particular ... title

Whether the one someone finds is the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, the 1930 film which won two Academy Awards, or the 1979 film made for television - they are all based during World War I.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

Your mentioning of Operation Barbarossa was quite specific too, wasn't it?


I mentioned a specific operation in response to your mentioning a battle front that existed in the war the operation I mentioned.

You made the poor assumption that everyone would immediately link your statement about the western front to a book of that title. That didn't happen with me, because I've never seen a copy of it, let alone read it. So I naturally took it to refer to the lack of action on the Western Front at the time the Eastern front was started.

Replies:   robberhands
Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play


My original reference was written with capitals and in italics.


Which was the title of a battle front. I'd not heard of the book or movie until you mentioned it was a book and movie. So an automatic assumption everyone knows it is wrong.

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

You made the poor assumption that everyone would immediately link your statement about the western front to a book of that title.

My poor assumption was to overestimate your ability to admit a simple mistake.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

I'd not heard of the book or movie until you mentioned it was a book and movie. So an automatic assumption everyone knows it is wrong.

My original post, in full and without alteration, was:

All Quiet on the Western Front :(

My assumption was that everyone here would know that must be the title of a book, movie, etc.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

My poor assumption was to overestimate your ability to admit a simple mistake.

Admittedly, he's been good for quite some time, but at his worst EB can make DS seem ... nice!

A special word of caution: if you're ever going through the history of posts here and you come across a lengthy exchange on the use of quotation marks - Please! Please, please, please, pretty please, be careful you do not have Roy Wood's "Music to Commit Suicide By" playing in the background.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

How kind of you, but don't you worry, I listen to this.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

I listen to this.

I feared I may want to commit suicide when I saw the sunset over the beach and the title come up, but I really liked that. :-)

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

My assumption was that everyone here would know that must be the title of a book, movie, etc.


only if they've heard of it as a book or movie title. With the whole line in italics it looks like it was done for emphasis.

Does CMoS say you should put book titles in apostrophes ? That may have made it a little clearer as a title and not a general comment.

Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

only that the use of the work "slink", "crouch" or "hunch" might convey more than Switch intended


Personally, I think anyone reading the text would naturally assume that those terms meant the character was moving cautiously and as silently as possible to avoid being detected, not being cowardly.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Does CMoS say you should put book titles in apostrophes ?

8.166 and 8.185

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

With the whole line in italics it looks like it was done for emphasis.
[Apostrophes] may have made it a little clearer as a title and not a general comment.

No, and not necessary, because it was capitalised too.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

EB, since you're just clutching now, let's go back and examine just how believable your claim is that you interpreted it as a general comment, entirely in italics for emphasis ...

CW has just posted this, formatted here in the same way as in his post:

(QUOTE)
...

Isn't every military tactic insane?

"You want me to do what?"

"Rush the enemy line, climb through the barb wire, dodging the enemy rifle and machine gun fire, in the hope that a few of you might survive so you can win us another 20 yards on this thousand mile front."

"No thanks, I think I'll stay behind for this particular action."

(UNQUOTE)

My response was next and it appeared like this:

(QUOTE)
@Crumbly Writer

"No thanks, I think I'll stay behind for this particular action."

All Quiet on the Western Front :(
(UNQUOTE)

* * *

WTF WERE YOU THINKING? [note my use here of all-caps for shouting and italics for emphasis]

HOW did you interpret my post as responding to CW's post with a "general comment" ?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ross at Play

@robberhands

I listen to this.

Are you beginning to see what I meant? And I was having such a "Beautiful Day". ;)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Yes and no. I see you're still trying to prove a point that needs no further proof. However, I neither feel responsible for this particular hole in Ernest's knowledge, nor for his poor attitude in regards to admitting a mistake. In other words, I don't care.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

In other words, I don't care.

You're here because want to write better, not because you enjoy fighting.
I'll leave you out of it from now on. :-)
My last post was a joke meant just for you. You may be the only one here who would know the capitals in "Beautiful Day" was not an error. I'll take my Cigar now.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

You're here because want to write better, not because you enjoy fighting.
I'll leave you out of it from now on. :-)

Actually, I enjoy a good argument, just not a pointless one and this one is pointless. Ernest's remark about the 'Operation Barbarossa' refered to your quotation of the book title, 'All Quiet on the Western Front'. It doesn't matter if Ernest knew the book, or the same named movie, his reference was a mistake.

Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Personally, I think anyone reading the text would naturally assume that those terms meant the character was moving cautiously and as silently as possible to avoid being detected, not being cowardly.

That's fine, but not having Switch's book in front of me, I wanted him (or any author) to be aware of a potential complication.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

With the whole line in italics it looks like it was done for emphasis.
[Apostrophes] may have made it a little clearer as a title and not a general comment.

No, and not necessary, because it was capitalized too.

I agree with Ernest on this one. There's little point to putting a book title in italics if the entire line is in italics. Either way, a book title needs to be differentiated in some way so that readers will recognize that it's a title, rather than simply an odd comment.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Switch Blayde

@Capt. Zapp

Personally, I think anyone reading the text would naturally assume that those terms meant the character was moving cautiously and as silently as possible to avoid being detected, not being cowardly.


That was the intention.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

You're going to piss off readers if you put titles in quotes sometimes and italics at other times.

I don't know whether this is true but I recently heard a claim that italics are on their way out in dead-tree publishing.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

a book title needs to be differentiated in some way so that readers will recognize that it's a title, rather than simply an odd comment.

"Differentiated in some way"? That was achieved with the capitalisation! That's what makes it clear it is not just some odd comment.

But blaming my punctuation for his mistake is crazy - because there's no possible interpretation of my words as some sort of comment that makes any sense.
Robberhands got it right the first time when said he couldn't understand why EB refuses to admit to a simple mistake.
I saw EB's post before robberhands and decided to leave it alone. I though it was joke based on the literal meaning of my words. Not a great joke, but nothing worth commenting on.
The fight started only when robberhands mentioned Operation Barbarosa was a different war. Then EB started inventing transparent excuses for why I was to blame for him not bothering to find out what my post meant before making his reply.

Why the egomaniac couldn't just let robberhands correction go is the thing that baffles me. Who else, other than DS, cares if someone points out they've made a simple mistake. The rest of us will argue if we think we were right, but we'll let things go when we know we were wrong. Not EB and DS! They become willing to say anything - just to avoid anyone else having the last word suggesting they're anything less than perfect. They both make useful contributions here, but when they get like that, I'll never understand how they don't see this pattern of behaviour undermines their credibility.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

My original post, in full and without alteration, was:

All Quiet on the Western Front :(

My assumption was that everyone here would know that must be the title of a book, movie, etc.


Sorry, I didn't know.
I've never seen an English/American edition of Remarque's book and haven't seen the original titles of the movies. Of course the German movie titles match the German title of the book. I didn't realize "All Quiet on the Western Front" meant his book.
The original – German – title contains no hint at war. I never read the book and wasn't interested enough to remember what it's about.

I had to look it up in Wikipedia to get the reference.

All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues, lit. 'In the West Nothing New') is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque...


HM.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

You're going to piss off readers if you put titles in quotes sometimes and italics at other times.

I'm sure readers do get pissed off when other writers do that to them. That's the main reason I use the loathsome CMOS.

I don't know whether this is true but I recently heard a claim that italics are on their way out in dead-tree publishing.

I hope they are, at least partly. I think the number of different purposes italics are used for in old-fashioned dead-tree publishing is excessive. It's not just emphasis and foreign language words, but various titles, and uses to show the word as opposed to its meaning.
I'm inclined to mix bold fonts for emphasis in posts, but that gets tedious in stories. SHOUTING at readers is worse.

I'd have no objections if an author specified they wanted all titles in quotes instead of italics. The way CMOS divides those two groups is damn near eccentric. For the moment I'm sticking the general principle of "major titles" (e.g. books, movies, TV shows, magazine names, vessels) in italics and "minor titles" (e.g. chapters, episodes, articles) in quotes.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Sorry, I didn't know.

I was not saying I assumed everybody would be familiar with the name; I was saying I assumed they would know from the italics and capitals that it was the name or title of something.
From my punctuation they could know they would find something if they looked it up in Wikipedia, and it was not something I had invented.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play


HOW did you interpret my post as responding to CW's post with a "general comment" ?


Like a great deal of the 156 posts on this thread, I responded to the single post instead of trying to backtrack every related post prior to that which is not quoted in the post I responded to. A stand alone post does not automatically make people aware of every prior post in the sub-thread of conversation when there are multiply sub-thread conversation going on, as is the case here.

The post I responded to had 2 lines, and only 2 lines. If you want people to be aware of the entire conversation, include it all.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


You're going to piss off readers if you put titles in quotes sometimes and italics at other times.


Yes, the main purpose of a style guide is consistency.

Book titles are in italics. Short stories, poems, and other stuff are in quotes. I don't remember all the rules.

Just the other day, my wife composed our holiday newsletter to friends and family. She mentioned my non-erotica novel and underlined the title. I told her it should be italics. That was a surprise to her. She said the convention used to be underline (her masters is in English Literature and Creative Writing and she was an English teacher for a short period of time. A long time ago). So I guess conventions change.

Italics and underlining generally serve similar purposes. However, the context for their use is different. When handwriting a document--or in other situations where italics aren't an option--use underlining. When you are word processing a document on a computer, use italics. The important thing is to stay consistent in how you use italics and underlining.

Italicize the titles of magazines, books, newspapers, academic journals, films, television shows, long poems, plays, operas, musical albums, works of art, websites.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

She said the convention used to be underline

Perhaps, but nowadays underlining anything digital that's not a link will piss off far more people much more than mixing up italics and quotes for your titles.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Book titles are in italics.


Perhaps that's a US convention. At school I was taught to use quotes, and that Titanic has sailed smoothly until encountering the CMoS fatberg :(

Supposedly it used to be a dead-tree publishing convention that underlines in manuscripts got converted to italics for printing or vice versa (I can't remember which way round it was). But modern printing has less restrictions so I believe its now archaic and neither italics nor underlining present a problem for printers.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Supposedly it used to be a dead-tree publishing convention that underlines in manuscripts got converted to italics for printing


Typewriters didn't have italics so underlining was used. Same for hand-written manuscripts. That's what Purdue University says (in my previous post) and they're not CMOS.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Thanks.

When posting to SOL, I'm going to stick with quotes because I've adopted the paranoid approach of converting everything to plain text before it gets shared anywhere. I once proofread a story in Word format by a fellow member of a now defunct writing group and was shocked when I saw the amount and content of metadata Microsoft held.

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Perhaps that's a US convention. At school I was taught to use quotes

It's not a US thing. Italics have existed in dead-tree publishing for a very long time, and still exist.
Italics did not exist when writing by hand or manual typewriters so something else had to be found that should not be interpreted with their standard meaning.
There have been three main uses for italics:
1. words from a foreign language
2. various titles
3. emphasis
They are usually easily distinguished. #1 because the words do not exist in the English language, #2 has words with initial capitals, and #3 are in lowercase except for proper nouns and the first word of sentences.
EB claims he assumed my italics were for emphasis. He didn't bother looking closely enough to see that was not so.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

When posting to SOL, I'm going to stick with quotes

There is only one danger with that approach. That is when you have a second level of titles, e.g. chapter titles of books, articles from magazines, episodes of TV programs, one poem from a collection. Find some way to distinguish those things and this Grammar Nazi will give you his tick of approval. :-)

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

There have been three main uses for italics:
1. words from a foreign language
2. various titles
3. emphasis


And, getting back to the OP, sounds. :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

"Differentiated in some way"? That was achieved with the capitalisation! That's what makes it clear it is not just some odd comment.

I got the inference immediately, but then I'd not only seen the movie, but I read the book in school nearly a half-century ago. But he did have a point, in that if the italics don't set the title apart (since the full line is italicized) then you need to include quote marks (Ernest's "apostrophies"), bolded text or even the test "THIS IS A FRIGGIN' BOOK, DAMN IT!!!" 'D

Since the claim (DS or EB, I'm unsure) was that they'd never heard of the classic book/movie, and supposedly thought you were referencing the actual historical event, italicizing the entire line might confuse the uninitiated.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

I had to look it up in Wikipedia to get the reference.

All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues, lit. 'In the West Nothing New') is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque...

I must say "All Quiet" is a more striking title than "Nothing New Here Folks"! It's no wonder you never read it.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Italics and underlining generally serve similar purposes. However, the context for their use is different. When handwriting a document--or in other situations where italics aren't an option--use underlining. When you are word processing a document on a computer, use italics. The important thing is to stay consistent in how you use italics and underlining.

I must say, I tend to mix and match techniques. In my books themselves (in the story text that is) I use italics, but in blog posts I use both double quotes and bolding, and in the back matter (Other Books by the Author) I use bolded oversized letters.

SO much for consistency. I'm consistent within each context, but not at all consistent between them. :(

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

SO much for consistency.


I often use quotes around book titles when posting here and on other forums. It's simply easier and even stands out more.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

When posting to SOL, I'm going to stick with quotes because I've adopted the paranoid approach of converting everything to plain text before it gets shared anywhere. I once proofread a story in Word format by a fellow member of a now defunct writing group and was shocked when I saw the amount and content of metadata Microsoft held.

I've mentioned before, you've got to manually turn off each of the various metadata inclusions for WORD (things like foreign terms, names, and other things they label only so they can highlight potential errors in your text.

Until you get comfortable with it, I suggest checking each of your html files until you're sure you've eliminated them all. Reviewing my earlier writing, it's amazing the crap I hadn't managed to strip out yet (like color changes for every edit I did on the road (from black to black and back again!!!)).

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

EB claims he assumed my italics were for emphasis. He didn't bother looking closely enough to see that was not so.

That's the biggest sticking point. Not caring to look doesn't count in the 'didn't recognize it' argument.

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Since the claim (DS or EB, I'm unsure) was that they'd never heard of the classic book/movie, and supposedly thought you were referencing the actual historical event, italicizing the entire line might confuse the uninitiated.

Yep, I can see it now. I am confused and drop a funny comment, trying to shake off my confusion. I am blameless and when someone points out I made a wrong reference, I'm justified to complain about the mistakes everyone else has made which caused my confusion.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Find some way to distinguish those things and this Grammar Nazi will give you his tick of approval.

And what's your approval tics name, just in case we run across each other someday? 'D

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Grammar Nazi will give you his tick of approval


Keep your goddam ticks to yourself - I don't want Lyme Disease :(

AJ

REP

@Crumbly Writer

You're more likely to "hunch over" when rushing from one safe position (ex: a wall, a car, a building) to another, but you stand to fire back, or to rush the shooter attacker. Once again: hunch=cowardice, standing=bravery. It's OK to cower when you're biding your time for the perfect opportunity, but you want to paint it as a aberration, rather than a primary position.


Your earlier point was your MC should stand and expose himself in order to shoot at the bad guy. In doing so, you demonstrate that your MC is brave. My primary position would be the least possible exposure.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

My primary position would be the least possible exposure.


I agree, a soldier's duty is not to die for his country, but to make the other guy die for his.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

@Me
He didn't bother looking
@You
That's the biggest sticking point. Not caring to look doesn't count in the 'didn't recognize it' argument.

Thank you.

WHAT IF I had written it in the way he says he interpreted it?
(QUOTE)
@Crumbly Writer

"No thanks, I think I'll stay behind for this particular action."

All quiet on the western front :(
(UNQUOTE)
A post like that has nothing to link my comment made to the one being quoted.
He made no effort to understand the post before making his reply.
Why can't he accept that is what caused the trivial "mistake" someone pointed out?
Why the insane need to find some excuse to blame somebody else for his mistake?

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

And, getting back to the OP, sounds [are also in italics]

Expanding on that a little ... and BTW, I did qualify my list above as 'main uses'.

As far as I can tell dead-tree publishers started using italics for emphasis almost universally a long time ago, at the time when they effectively did not have the options of underline or bold font. I don't think that's changed much with digital publishing. Certainly some now prefer bold font for emphasis, but most seem to reserve underline for links.

I think it has been as well established, for about as long, that italics are used some titles. The need is for two different formats to distinguish 'major titles', for an entire work, from 'minor titles', for parts of a larger work. Although their application is probably not consistent, I think the generally accepted principle is that italics are used for major titles and quote marks for minor titles.

I would define the other uses of italics as: anything else that requires a warning to readers that the words require some other type of interpretation than their usual meaning. The reasons writers have for using them will vary depending on the type of writing. Examples I can think of are:
* words from a foreign language
* to show the word is being identified, as opposed to its usual meaning. For example, CMOS routinely has things like, "the definite article, the," which I would usually write as, "the definite article, 'the',"
* some authors of fiction use italics for internal thoughts of characters within narratives
* some authors of science fiction use italics enclosed within quotation marks for "soundless speech" between characters

I don't recall seeing sounds in italics, or any suggestions they should be. I am NOT saying I have seen it done, in fact, I expect I probably have. I can see how encountering that may have felt so natural I accepted it without consciously noting what the author had done. To me, the theory at least says there is absolutely no reason you cannot choose to put sounds in italics. :-)

There is one comment I would make. I would adamantly maintain that one of your three examples, 'thud', is not a sound. It is preceded by the indefinite article, 'a'. That makes it a common noun. The meaning of that noun is exactly how you want readers to interpret it. In contrast, I think that your other examples, 'thump' and 'phut', definitely are sounds.

One question ... I don't doubt it, but I don't recall seeing the suggestion that sounds may be put in italics. Do you know of any references which suggest that? I have checked the Punctuation Section of CMOS (section 6) and that does not mention sounds.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I suggest displaying sounds in italics, place them between apostrophes, and underline them. Like this:

'Phut'

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Like this: 'Phut'


To which I say, "'PHUT' ".

Is 'phut' the right word for sound a person makes as a show of contempt?
It is an explosive kind of sound, but the dictionary definitions I found only list the meaning of the sound made by an explosion.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Is 'phut' the right word for sound a person makes as a show of contempt?

It depends on which orifice is used to emit the sound.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I would adamantly maintain that one of your three examples, 'thud', is not a sound. It is preceded by the indefinite article, 'a'. That makes it a common noun. The meaning of that noun is exactly how you want readers to interpret it.


I already made that change.


One question ... I don't doubt it, but I don't recall seeing the suggestion that sounds may be put in italics. Do you know of any references which suggest that?


I tried finding a reference on Google and couldn't.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

It depends on which orifice is used to emit the sound.

Please give me both sounds and I'll try to pick which is where.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I tried finding a reference on Google and couldn't.

Thanks.

I read the two Grammar Girl blogs that seemed relevant, one on 'Using Italics' and the other 'Onomatopoeia', and neither mentioned anything remotely like that.

Still, IMHO, it's not going to strike readers as in any way odd if you're consistent in how you do it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Still, IMHO, it's not going to strike readers as in any way odd if you're consistent in how you do it.


You emphasis words with italics. When I use a sound, like BANG! I want it emphasized.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Pffffft!

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Pffffft!

That's close enough. Thanks.

I bet you didn't expect ngrams to show a small, but apparently loyal, following for your preferred spelling with five f's. :-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Interesting.

The number of fs is commensurate with the amount of contempt so the market leader, 2 fs, isn't very contemptuous at all. No wonder pffft is catching up - I expect it to overtake shortly ;)

AJ

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I wonder how many times do you use 'sounds' in your story? Maybe one word representing a sound within 10,000? It's an outlier in such a proportion and I'd look at it like I view a homophone mistake. I don't mind the mistake but the story would be better without it.

I view the attempts to include sounds into your writing the same way I look at strenuous efforts of 'showing' when it doesn't improve the story. As an example; when my focus is on a dialogue I don't want to read:

She stomped with her feet, her hands balled into fists, and her face was flushed as she screamed, "...".

My reaction as a reader is, 'I get it, she's angry; why don't you just say so! Now let's move on with the story'.

I have the impression you want your writing as close to a movie as you can get it. I read a book when I don't want to watch a movie.

I hope you won't mistake my comments as a critique of your writing. It isn't. It's just my own personal preference. I'm fully aware you have yours as well and they appear to be differing.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I hope you won't mistake my comments as a critique of your writing. It isn't. It's just my own personal preference. I'm fully aware you have yours as well and they appear to be differing.

As always, there's a right and wrong way to show, but the 'proper way' predates modern movies by some time. (Mark Twain was an early proponent.)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

As always, there's a right and wrong way to show, but the 'proper way' predates modern movies by some time.

Do you believe there is a 'proper way'; a way not subject to personal preferences?

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

I hope you won't mistake my comments as a critique of your writing. It isn't. It's just my own personal preference.


That's why I started this thread. I wanted people's opinion. I got it on another forum where people didn't like the sounds and thought it was comic book-like and amateurish.

I like using sounds at the right time. Not a "POW" like you find in a Batman comic book (I used to get paid to write comic book scripts), but something that enhances the story.

"Don't! Wait there!" Steele shouted.

The woman looked over her shoulder. "Fuck you!"

She ran through the open door.

BANG!BANG! BANG!

The group of women screamed and ran like stampeding cattle down the hallway. Steele held up his hands, but they flew past him.

"Everyone, wait here!" he said and sprinted to the open door with pistol ready.

Steele crouched next to the door and peeked inside the bar. The woman lay slumped on the floor in a pool of blood. Her open, dead eyes stared at him. The bartender's bald head and black beard popped up from behind the bar counter. Steele ducked behind the wall. A loud gunshot echoed throughout the bar. The wooden door jamb splintered next to where Steele was hiding.


In the above, I could have said, "Steele heard three gunshots and ran to the open door. It tells the reader the same thing. But is it as exciting?

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

But is it as exciting?

I'll ask a different question. Why did you use an analogy for the fleeing women and not a similar approach as you used for the representation of the gunshots?

Dominions Son

@robberhands

Why did you use an analogy for the fleeing women and not a similar approach as you used for the representation of the gunshots?

My $0.02.

1. There isn't a good textual representation of inarticulate screams.

2. The analogy was for how they were running, not a sound. Stampeding cattle make a lot of noise, just from the pounding of their hooves on the ground. A group of stampeding humans, unless there are hundreds of them, not so much.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

Why did you use an analogy for the fleeing women and not a similar approach as you used for the representation of the gunshots?


I don't think they're the same, although both are ways to plant an image in the reader's mind. One is a sound effect, the other a simile.

With the "bangs," I was looking for impact. She runs through the door and then a shot, a pause, two more shots. Maybe I do try to make a novel like a movie. In a movie, Steele wouldn't say, "Someone's shooting. Hope she's okay." You'd hear the shots and wonder what happened.

With the "stampede," I simply wanted the reader to see the women running in panic as a group away from the gun shots.

robberhands

Fine; then I'll answer Switch's question.

When you hear gunshots in a movie, your first reaction to it is a sensitive reaction. A sound may surprise you if you didn't expect it, maybe even shock you. It's an effect you can't create with writing. A reader will never experience a sensitive surprise by reading BANG! … BANG! BANG! On an intellectual level maybe but you can achieve an intellectual surprise with 'Steele heard three gunshots' just as well.

For this reason, my answer is no.To read 'BANG! … BANG! BANG!' isn't more exciting to me than to read 'Steele heard three gunshots'.

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

My reaction as a reader is, 'I get it, she's angry; why don't you just say so! Now let's move on with the story'.


Somehow we get back to show don't tell.

I'll give you one reason to show her anger before she speaks her dialogue.

If the dialogue is followed by "she said, angrily" the reader is told how she said it. But it's too late. The reader already read the dialogue.

But if you show her anger first, then the reader hears her anger while she's speaking.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

If the dialogue is followed by "she said, angrily" the reader is told how she said it. But it's too late. The reader already read the dialogue.

She angrily said, "..." You can place a dialogue tag as easily before the dialogue as you can place it behind.

richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

stampede

Stamp ede

Ede name meaning - SheKnows
www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/ede
Ede. The name Ede is a baby boy name. Meaning. English Meaning: The name Ede is an English baby name. In English the meaning of the name Ede is: Wealthy guardian.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

In the above, I could have said, "Steele heard three gunshots and ran to the open door. It tells the reader the same thing. But is it as exciting?

Personally, I prefer splintering wood and flying debris, as it's more descriptive of the environment and the multiple dangers from bullets (both direct (i.e. being hit) and indirect. It give a better feel for what the situation is like rather than simply saying "someone fired three shots".

And that's why I prefer actual words over sound effects, because it allows more nuanced writing, allowing you to illustrate multiple details, rather than simply focusing on the most obvious ones, like you find in comics.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

One question ... I don't doubt it, but I don't recall seeing the suggestion that sounds may be put in italics. Do you know of any references which suggest that? I have checked the Punctuation Section of CMOS (section 6) and that does not mention sounds.

Did you check the "Comics Submission Guidelines"? Maybe Marmaduke or Garfield have something to say on the subject?

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

With the "bangs," I was looking for impact. She runs through the door and then a shot, a pause, two more shots. Maybe I do try to make a novel like a movie. In a movie, Steele wouldn't say, "Someone's shooting. Hope she's okay." You'd hear the shots and wonder what happened.

"BANG!" isn't much better, or more mature, than "POW!" , "KABANG!" or "ZAP!". It's not even a sound, as a comic representation of a sound. If anything, I'd use "the pop-pop-pop of repeated gunfire".

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Ede name meaning - SheKnows
www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/ede
Ede. The name Ede is a baby boy name. Meaning. English Meaning: The name Ede is an English baby name. In English the meaning of the name Ede is: Wealthy guardian.

She named him Ede, because having the gift of far-sight, she knew he'd end up being stampeded to death during a Black Friday Sale extravaganza one Thanksgiving Evening.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

One question ... I don't doubt it, but I don't recall seeing the suggestion that sounds may be put in italics.


I finally found someone who says sounds are in italics. I don't know her, but she seems to be a professional editor who offers other writing services to authors, such as, synopses and blurbs. http://mharriseditor.com/write-onomatopoeia/

In general, sounds in fiction are formatted using italics. If the context requires the sound to stand alone for emphasis, it is usually recommended the author use the sound on its own line.


She also has an opinion for my original question:

Many writers are familiar with the ways in which sounds can improve their storytelling. No matter if you write in first person or third person, your story (and ultimately, your readers) benefit when you bring in other senses.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

She also has an opinion for my original question:

Many writers are familiar with the ways in which sounds can improve their storytelling. No matter if you write in first person or third person, your story (and ultimately, your readers) benefit when you bring in other senses.

I definitely agree with that sentiment, but I don't think sounds like "Pop" and "Bang" add much to the other senses. They're not quite like "tangy", "tart", "sour" or "biting", which are all much more descriptive.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

I definitely agree with that sentiment, ...

I agree with your statement, CW, but I don't agree with hers. The only sense a writer stimulates is eyesight (I already foresee DS will now mention Braille). Prompting a readers memory of smells, sounds, taste, or sensations isn't the same as exciting those senses.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

I have the impression you want your writing as close to a movie as you can get it. I read a book when I don't want to watch a movie.


But don't you want the book to be as engaging as a movie? Come to life?

The professional editor I referred to about italicizing sounds also has an article on show don't tell. I just read it. Her first step in "How to Show Action in Writing Fiction" is: "Step 1: Think of the Movies."

Step 2, btw, is "Step 2: Use Your Senses." She has an example of bad "show don't tell" and good "show don't tell."

Bad example of "show, don't tell:"

The sun was bright and he squinted as he walked.

(Boring!)

Good example of "show, don't tell:"

He squinted hard against the blinding white-hot sunlight. Heat rose from the sidewalk as he trudged toward the door.

(I can picture it!)


Her opinion on show don't tell:

I don't care how cliche it is – I tell clients "show, don't tell" countless times (often until they tire of hearing it).

You know why I repeat it so much? Because it's true. How many times has a book languished because the writer took the easy way out and said, "Bob and Sue had a fight about chocolate chip cookies." Don't tell me this – show me it! What are their facial expressions? Does Sue throw flour at Bill? Do they reconcile their differences about the recipe? How?

Readers want to know and deserve better. It's your job to deliver.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

But don't you want the book to be as engaging as a movie? Come to life?

I'm usually more engaged with a story I read, than with a movie I watch.

I didn't claim I prefer 'telling' more than 'showing'. I simply object to the often generated impression that 'showing' always trumps 'telling'.

I also want to repeat that my comments aren't specifically aimed at you.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I prefer splintering wood and flying debris, as it's more descriptive of the environment and the multiple dangers from bullets


You can hear a gunshot from a vantage point where you couldn't see and wouldn't be in danger of any debris kicked up by bullet impacts.

And there's no reason why you couldn't combine the flying debris descriptions with a "sound effect"

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

You emphasis words with italics. When I use a sound, like BANG! I want it emphasized.


I linked to this one because I'm too lazy to dig through the over 150 posts to find where you first mention the 3 bangs.

Today, most of the people in the US who have a handgun carry and use high velocity heavy caliber handgun like a .40 or ,45, with a few going for the lighter caliber 9 mm guns. When you fire most of the bigger guns it's more of a 'boom' sound than a 'bang' so I'd have written a scene like that along the lines of:

When he heard the boom of a gun fire followed by two more in quick succession he raced for the door ...

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

I simply object to the often generated impression that 'showing' always trumps 'telling'.


I don't think anyone ever said that. In fact, I've read where people said, "Showing all the time would be tiring for the reader." There are many times to tell.

I also want to repeat that my comments aren't specifically aimed at you.


I know. :)

Replies:   robberhands
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

chocolate chip cookies

"The WORST Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sugar Spun Run
chocolate chip cookies from sugarspunrun.com
https://sugarspunrun.com/worst-chocolate-chip-cookies/
Rating: 4.9 - ‎213 votes - ‎25 min - ‎100 cal
May 8, 2017 - These easy, soft chocolate chip cookies will ruin your life, destroy your relationships, and consume your soul. They even have a secret ingredient. Ugh."

I guess it is telling. Which is worst? Ruin your life, or destroy your relationships, or consume your soul?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I don't think anyone ever said that.

Read the statement you just quoted. It implies exactly that impression.

I don't care how cliche it is – I tell clients "show, don't tell" countless times (often until they tire of hearing it).

You know why I repeat it so much? Because it's true. How many times has a book languished because the writer took the easy way out and said, "Bob and Sue had a fight about chocolate chip cookies." Don't tell me this – show me it! What are their facial expressions? Does Sue throw flour at Bill? Do they reconcile their differences about the recipe? How?

Readers want to know and deserve better. It's your job to deliver.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

When he heard the boom of a gun fire followed by two more in quick succession he raced for the door


That loses the impact. That was my point. Instead of writing that he heard the gun shots, let the reader hear the gun shots.

There's a lot going on that I don't want to get into, but think of the scene. Steele is freeing the women. Trying to help/protect them. One ignores him. He screams at her to stop. Next thing is BANG! … BANG! BANG!

It's not the same impact to write that a gun fired 3 shots or that Steele heard 3 shots. I want the reader to hear the shots. I want the reader's heart to skip a beat. I may not be a good enough writer to accomplish that, but that's what I try to do.

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

Read the statement you just quoted. It implies exactly that impression.


It doesn't. She doesn't say, "show NEVER tell." Her point is people tell when it's better to show. It's easier to tell. It's hard work to show. That's what she meant when she said, "How many times has a book languished because the writer took the easy way out."

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

She doesn't say, "show NEVER tell."

Her statement is very explicit, and it's 'show, don't tell'. You're the one who relativizes it, she doesn't - at least not in the passages you quoted.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

BANG! … BANG! BANG!

"Bang Bang Cafe Blog
Bang Bang Cafe, located in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, was started in 2009 by sisters Yuki and Miki Sodos as a way for them to share the food they loved growing up in New Mexico (and great coffee) with their community. We serve fresh made pastries (the "Best Scones in Seattle"), Albuquerque style breakfast burritos featuring roasted Hatch, New Mexico green and red chile, and some seriously tasty vegan food for our meat-free friends."

Just google BANG BANG.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Bad example of "show, don't tell:"

The sun was bright and he squinted as he walked.

(Boring!)

Good example of "show, don't tell:"

He squinted hard against the blinding white-hot sunlight. Heat rose from the sidewalk as he trudged toward the door.

(I can picture it!)


Ugh, overblown vernacular like that is actually more boring to read than the original.

Her opinion on show don't tell:
I don't care how cliche it is – I tell clients "show, don't tell" countless times (often until they tire of hearing it).


Cliche is a noun. A 'professional editor' should know that.

You know why I repeat it so much? Because it's true. How many times has a book languished because the writer took the easy way out and said, "Bob and Sue had a fight about chocolate chip cookies." Don't tell me this – show me it! What are their facial expressions? Does Sue throw flour at Bill? Do they reconcile their differences about the recipe? How?


No, that's not true. Books fail because the story is uninteresting. Chucking in some florid language won't fix them. If it could, Megan Harris wouldn't be an unsuccessful author.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Cliche is a noun. A 'professional editor' should know that.


It's also an adjective.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

It's also an adjective.

You're doomed. Welcome to Grammar-Nazi-Hell.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

I have a theory about bangs. Make 'em BIG!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

I checked in my own dead-tree dictionary before my post but I particularly remember it from an article on misused words.

Cliched is the adjective.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

@AJ
Cliche is a noun.
@SB
It's also an adjective.

I'd have used the adjective 'clichéd': I don't care how clichéd it is.
Welcome to my Hell.

EDIT TO ADD:
Damn, AJ. If only I hadn't spent those extra forty seconds copying the word from my digital dictionary to get the accent right. :(

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

In SB's defence, some dictionaries have now rationalised the misuse of cliche as an adjective, but the ones I refer to seem to be pretty unanimous about it being a noun only.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

Some might find this blog interesting.
It lists some types of situations where telling can be better.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

In SB's defence, some dictionaries have now rationalised the misuse of cliche as an adjective, but the ones I refer to seem to be pretty unanimous about it being a noun only.

I recall Steven Pinker writing something like, "the language abhors having two different words with the same root word used as the same 'part of speech'."
I assume he was referring to the British English language. :-)
I would generally try to prefer something a dictionary lists as only an adjective instead of a form it lists as a noun or an adjective.

Dominions Son

@robberhands

You're doomed. Welcome to Grammar-Nazi-Hell.


Two Grammar-Nazis walk into a bar...

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Damn, AJ. If only I hadn't spent those extra forty seconds copying the word from my digital dictionary to get the accent right.


Since my stories get converted to plain text, I don't usually bother with accents. The exception is my Twitter profile, but that's under a different name ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Yet again, I found the 'show' version more boring than the 'tell'. There's no need to go so overboard, that's just kicking readers like me out of the story.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Welcome to my Hell.

I'll picture you as a three-headed dog from now on.

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Parallel evolution may be taking place.

People who live in RestOfTheWorldville grimace when Americans pronounce 't' as 'd', hence the names Hetty and Hedy have become homophones. But recently I've noticed more and more that Americans are dropping 'd' entirely from their pronunciation, so Hedy is becoming He'y (the apostrophe representing a slight pause). So is dropping the 'd' from cliched intercepting the future?

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Yet again, I found the 'show' version more boring than the 'tell'. There's no need to go so overboard, that's just kicking readers like me out of the story.

I tend to agree. In my opinion, the challenge when it comes to 'show' isn't that it's more difficult to write than 'tell'. The far bigger challenge is to keep the right balance. The effort invested to 'show' has to be congruent to the importance of the scene you want to emphazise. Otherwise, it's a distraction and waste of space.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

But recently I've noticed more and more that Americans are dropping 'd' entirely from their pronunciation, so Hedy is becoming He'y (the apostrophe representing a slight pause). So is dropping the 'd' from cliched intercepting the future?

Isn't that what Cockneys do?

They do similar things in Indonesia. For example, their phonetic spelling of the way they pronounce 'contract' is kontrak. Then, they drop the 'k' too when they pronounce that. It gets really confusing when they drop the 'tee' sound from tiada, which means does not exist. Maybe they hear the difference, but what I hear is ada, which means does exist?!

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@robberhands

I'll picture you as a three-headed dog from now on.

If you want authenticity, a three-arsed cat would be closer.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

The far bigger challenge is to keep the right balance. The effort invested to 'show' has to be congruent to the importance of the scene

TWO THUMBS UP from me for that one. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

He squinted hard against the blinding white-hot sunlight.


Interesting that 'hard' is the adverb from the adjective 'hard', and yet the more intuitive 'hardly' means something else and has a different etymology.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

And there's the silent 'n' in 'me neither'. :)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@Ross at Play

If you want authenticity, a three-arsed cat would be closer.

Cats Arse:
Facial expression adopted by scorned women. So called due to the (*) shape created by the lips resembling a cats sphincter.

That ain't a pretty picture. I think 'third time's a charm' does't apply here.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Interesting that 'hard' is the adverb from the adjective 'hard', and yet the more intuitive 'hardly' means something else and has a different etymology.

There are a few like that in the language, with an adjective that has two adverbial forms, one with a '-ly' suffix and the other the same as the adjective.
I'm pretty sure about this ... For those cases, the adverbial form without the '-ly' suffix can only be used after its verb.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

And there's the silent 'n' in 'me neither'. :)

Oh, they drop sounds all over the place!
They drop so many sounds it's hard to reconcile the fact that so many still manage to be lou'-mowf' 'its.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

For those cases, the adverbial form without the '-ly' suffix can only be used after its verb.


The motorbike hard turned, leaving my SUV's tyres scrabbling for grip as I attempted to follow.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

The motorbike hard turned

Nice try, but I cannot award a banana for that one.
The meaning is very different if you replace 'hard' with 'hardly' in that sentence.

I would say that, functionally, that sentence is using the phrasal verb to hard turn. It has an adjective 'hard' modifying the noun 'turn', but that noun phrase is being used as a verb.
I would not debate that my opinion is debatable. :-)

EDIT TO ADD:
Actually, I should take back the banana I awarded myself after my previous post. :(

There are two reasons that an adjective can have two adverbial forms, one with and one without a '-ly' suffix.
One reason, both mean the same thing. They are rare and for those the form without the suffix can only be used after the verb. For example, both drive slowly and drive slow mean the same thing.
The other reason is when the two adverbial forms have quite different meanings.

* * *

I'm going to risk being accused of "doing an EB" here, and try to blame AJ for making a mistake which caused my mistake.
He said this in his post:

the more intuitive 'hardly' means something else and has a different etymology.

I don't agree the etymology is different. My quick research suggests that both derived from the same source, and over time 'hard' speciated away from 'hardly' taking one of its former meanings with it.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I agree with your statement, CW, but I don't agree with hers. The only sense a writer stimulates is eyesight (I already foresee DS will now mention Braille). Prompting a readers memory of smells, sounds, taste, or sensations isn't the same as exciting those senses.

It doesn't need to be as exciting, but merely including the other senses help to invoke the other senses and conveys a more complete world. Of course, that assumes every author is equally capable of accomplishing such things. Given the sheer lack of examples in most works, that's hardly something any advice 'couch' can assume.

For a short while, following the release of "Like Water For Chocolate", there was a spate of 'food books' which did just that. The hungry acceptance for such books shows there's a definite need for such outreach, but again, the fact that few others managed to achieve the culinary perfection in their words as she did shows just how difficult it is to carry out.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But don't you want the book to be as engaging as a movie? Come to life?

Not really, because books based on movies rarely are as captivating as books written for readers. It's merely an attempt to trick non-readers into reading, which is a losing proposition across the board for voracious readers.

The fact is, if you try to make your book read like an action movie, it's almost guaranteed to fail as an engaging read, as it focuses on the visual rather than the emotional, which is primarily what attracts most readers. They want to feel that they're a part of a separate world. They don't really want to 'feel' like they're in a movie theater being read to be famous movie actors. There's an essential disconnect there.

That's not to say there isn't a need for dramatic action scenes and visual components in stories, just that equating literature with movies is, ultimately, a losing proposition. Need I remind you, the vast majority of outstanding movies derive from books, while virtually no outstanding books have ever derived from movies.

In short, why limit your books to visual motifs when they're designed to strike readers across a variety of interests? It seems like you're purposely short-selling yourself.

Your 'good show' example exemplifies this:

He squinted hard against the blinding white-hot sunlight. Heat rose from the sidewalk as he trudged toward the door.

This passage wouldn't work at all if the author tried to imagine a movie. Instead, you get that kind of writing when writers try to completely integrate all the senses in their writing, completely immersing the reader into the fictional narrative.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

You can hear a gunshot from a vantage point where you couldn't see and wouldn't be in danger of any debris kicked up by bullet impacts.

And there's no reason why you couldn't combine the flying debris descriptions with a "sound effect"

It's a question of 'immersive details'. Somehow "BANG, BANG" isn't a very immersive detail. It's just a comic book motif which demonstrates a lack of imagination by the author.

While I commend you for thinking outside the box, I think you've got to reach farther than simple one-word descriptions. The flying debris won't sell any single scene, but adding those elements remind readers that they're IN the scene, rather than having someone TELL THEM what happened. They're living it, experiencing it and feeling what the characters are feeling, as opposed to simply seeing what they might see on screen.

Finally, unless you're extremely close to a shooter, you're unlikely to hear anything similar to a "Bang". What you traditionally get is a "pop-pop" similar to fireworks, which is why many people don't recognize when they're in danger until it's too late.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

It doesn't need to be as exciting, but merely including the other senses help to invoke the other senses and conveys a more complete world.

I already said I agree with your statement.

My point was, writing 'BANG! BOOM! COWPOW!' or whatever else doesn't exite a readers hearing. Easy enough to prove for another sense - smell.

'The dark room reeked like a mixture of rotten codfish and an overripe papaya'.

If the reader never experienced such a smell-blend all he can do is trying to imagin it, but if his sense would be stimulated, he would know how it reeks.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

When he heard the boom of a gun fire

I prefer "When he heard the unmistakable boom of a gun firing he ..."

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I guess it is telling. Which is worst? Ruin your life, or destroy your relationships, or consume your soul?

I prefer "consume your soul", as it turns the taste metaphor on itself. "Ruin" and "destroy" really have little role in cookies other than to remind readers how easy it is to screw up baking , which only reminds them how easy it is to screw up basic literary descriptions too! There's never any call to preannounce your own failures among readers. When you do, it's like Checkov's gun, they'll only start looking for where your writing doesn't measure up.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

When he heard the boom of a gun fire followed by two more in quick succession he raced for the door

That loses the impact. That was my point. Instead of writing that he heard the gun shots, let the reader hear the gun shots.

How about:

The sound of gunshots exploded a short distance away, and I heard the whizzing of bullets flying past, reminding me our lives were in danger before we even realized where the danger originated from.

There are more ways to use sound that "BANG, BANG!".

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I would say that, functionally, that sentence is using the phrasal verb to hard turn.


Is that the same as the phrasal verb 'to turn hard'?

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Her statement is very explicit, and it's 'show, don't tell'. You're the one who relativizes it, she doesn't - at least not in the passages you quoted.

The point is, there are scenes which call for showing, and others which are easier to merely tell. If a scene has little emotional import, then there's not much sense wasting time on it. Simply saying "I was stupidly drunk" is more effective than recounting how you threw up on yourself at a party (Yuck! Talk about squick value). But, when you're describing how a relationship falls apart, it's often during those relatively minor issues (like baking cookies, when one party doesn't listen to the other).

Though the detail seems unimportant, it's an essential emotional point in the story! But again, that's something you don't pick up on by thinking of your story as a 'poor man's' movie!

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Is that the same as the phrasal verb 'to turn hard'?

I'm tempted to answer with 'hardly' but I agree with you.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Just google BANG BANG.

Just Google (Capital "G") "Bang Bang" on SOL and you get an entirely different kind of reference! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I have a theory about bangs. Make 'em BIG!

That's what Yo' Mamma says! 'D

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

drive slowly and drive slow mean the same thing.

Not always. I have two cars, named slow and fast. Today I want to drive slow. If you used drive safely and drive safe I could agree, although if you had a motorized safe, maybe not.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

When you visit the forum and start your commenting barrages it reminds me of a downpour and I'd like to have an umbrella.

robberhands

@richardshagrin

I have two cars, named Slow and Fast.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

People who live in RestOfTheWorldville grimace when Americans pronounce 't' as 'd', hence the names Hetty and Hedy have become homophones.

Which Americans are you referring to. The only reason why Americans confuse names like "Hetty" is because we're completely unfamiliar with those types of names. A simple "No, that's not right," will normally straighten them out. But I've never noticed ANY American dropping 'D' trends!

In my own usage, I drop hard consonants to show characters are upset and emotional, rather than convey an inherent American distrust of hard 'd' sounds.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

If you want authenticity, a three-arsed cat would be closer.

That's closer to the mark, as most of the 'cats' here are three-arsed! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Interesting that 'hard' is the adverb from the adjective 'hard', and yet the more intuitive 'hardly' means something else and has a different etymology.

That's hardly hard news!

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

I'm tempted to answer with 'hardly' but I agree with you.

I liked the answer which tempted you, but I don't agree with AJ.

I think of 'to hard turn' and 'to turn hard' as two phrasal verbs with quite different meanings. To me the first applies to the motion of something, and the second to the texture of something.

I'm going to say it's the verb 'turn' that's playing tricks here with all its possible nuances.
I had copied the definition of turn from my OxD here. It was hundreds of lines long, and I've deleted it now to stop wasting others' time.

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

turn somebodyˈoff
1 to make somebody feel bored or not interested


Too much information.

If you are in formation, fall out!

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

I have two cars, named slow and fast.

Think about this, richard.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

The infallible 'Google Translate' treats both phrases equally. You can argue till you're blue, you're proven wrong.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

I have two cars, named slow and fast.


Do you ever drive slow in the fast lane and fast in the slow lane?

AJ

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ross at Play

@robberhands

The infallible 'Google Translate' treats both phrases equally.

From this I assume you're joking.

You can argue till you're blue, you're proven wrong.

If this was not joking, what has been proven, and where? If it's there, I cannot see it.

I did say that my opinion of how expressions were functioning was "debatable", but in general, if you tell me something is an adverb (or some other part of speech) because that's what it appears to be when you look it up in a dictionary, my answer will often be, "it ain't necessarily so."

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

If this was not joking, what has been proven, and where? If it's there, I cannot see it.

You poor, poor man, you really need a smiley, Don't Cha?

Edited to add the smiley

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

Will you guys give me a break!

AJ started by saying, "Interesting that ... yet the more intuitive ..."

I knew I'd read something about that type of situation. I said, "There are a few like that [identified by X]. I'm pretty sure about this ... For those cases [behaviour is Y]. In fact, only some subset of cases identified by X have the behaviour Y.

Sheesh! Forgive me for trying to be informative.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

You poor, poor man, you really need a smiley

Why don't we gang up on richard instead? Don't Cha just hate it when people don't even know to capitalise their own names, robberhands?

Replies:   Robberhands
Robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

I never add a smiley to my comments. If you believe my statement contains anything to argue about, you'll have to do so without me.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

They want to feel that they're a part of a separate world.


That's what I've been trying to say about having the reader live the story. Don't tell the reader the door slammed shut. Have the door slam shut and make the reader jump.

I bet everyone prefers showing even if they don't realize it. My wife is a voracious reader. In her book club, they're reading a novel by a local resident here. She says it's so boring. It's all telling. The omniscient narrator is telling the story rather than the reader living the story.

They don't really want to 'feel' like they're in a movie theater being read to be famous movie actors.


When you're watching a movie you don't want to hear the actor reading his lines. That's poor acting. Same for authoring.

The fact is, if you try to make your book read like an action movie, it's almost guaranteed to fail as an engaging read, as it focuses on the visual rather than the emotional,


Absolutely not. Why would you come to that conclusion?

you get that kind of writing when writers try to completely integrate all the senses in their writing, completely immersing the reader into the fictional narrative.


Yes, showing.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@robberhands

The infallible 'Google Translate' treats both phrases equally. You can argue till you're blue, you're proven wrong.

OK, rather than using Google to validate using "google" over "Google", let's try a different tack.

We can all agree that the main purpose in using guidelines, wherever we derive them from, it to promote consistency in our writing. In that case, why would you treat "google something" different from every other use of a Corporate name, especially since we're specifically referring to the specific company's product (as opposed to, say, "Duck-Duck something").

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

Somewhere previously you stated, you view your use of 'sounds' as 'showing'. To me, it represents the opposite. Writing 'Bang' is essentially TELLING the reader 'use your own imagination'. You provide a short 'word' to convey an image you could show but you don't.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Absolutely not. Why would you come to that conclusion?

The whole point of my examples (in the previous post) was that literary works portray emotions, rather than just visual scenes. Readers get to feel what the protagonist feels, rather than just 'seeing' the action on a screen.

The follow-up on that premise, is that restricting a literary story to the purely visual (to the exclusion of invoking the other senses) is inherently limiting, eliminating the literary word's strongest selling point—allowing the reader to personally connect with the protagonist.

Showing an action isn't the problem here, it's the exclusive focus on 'showing like a movie'. Merely thinking of a story like a movie, inherently prevents you from considering the other literary focuses.

It's better to say "I want this scene to be exciting," rather than saying "I want this story to read like a movie". If you want to write a movie, then go sit in a Starbucks with other the other struggling authors and start writing movie scripts!

Again, the argument for this approach is that there are vastly more famous movies made from novels, than there are famous books made from movies. Why limit yourself if there's really no gain from doing so?

If you think, 'fast-paced scene', you'll incorporate more into it than if you ONLY think 'make it like a movie'.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@robberhands


Somewhere previously you stated, you view your use of 'sounds' as 'showing'. To me, it represents the opposite. Writing 'Bang' is essentially TELLING the reader 'use your own imagination'. You provide a short 'word' to convey an image you could show but you don't.


Here, here! Excellent point.

As Switch keeps repeating, showing takes work, whereas most authors don't want to invest the necessary time, resulting in lackluster prose. So then, why limit yourself to one-word sound shortcuts?

P.S. For me, "explosive sound" sounds much better than "BANG", regardless of whether you italicize or add a dozen exclamation marks. Listen to your inner critic. It says "Add the visual clues" because the phrase ("Bang bang") is lacking emotional punch!

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

Somewhere previously you stated, you view your use of 'sounds' as 'showing'.


I said something like, isn't it a form of showing?

He heard the door slam shut (is telling)
The door slammed shut (is showing)

so how about:

He heard three gunshots (telling)
BANG! … BANG! BANG! (showing?)

Replies:   robberhands  REP
REP

@Switch Blayde


I don't think they're the same, although both are ways to plant an image in the reader's mind. One is a sound effect, the other a simile


I agree that the two ways you handled the text are not the same. However, you could have handled them in the same way.

You wrote:

The group of women screamed and ran like stampeding cattle down the hallway. Steele held up his hands, but they flew past him.


You could have written something like:

The screams and Thud! Thud! Thud! of feet striking the wooden floor of the hallway alerted Steele to the approaching group of women. As he threw himself against wall to avoid being trampled by the panicked women, they flew past his upheld hands like a herd of stampeding cattle.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The whole point of my examples (in the previous post) was that literary works portray emotions, rather than just visual scenes. Readers get to feel what the protagonist feels, rather than just 'seeing' the action on a screen.


"He's an abusive father" or "The father is abusive." That's telling. How does that evoke emotion?

Now, what if you never tell the reader the father is abusive. Instead, what if you have a scene where he beats his daughter and locks her in a closet for two days. Another scene where he belittles her in front of her friends. Another scene where he tells her she's worthless and will never amount to anything, that the world would be better off if she had never been born.

That's showing. That evokes emotion. The reader feels her pain. That's what happens in a movie. A narrator doesn't tell the audience the father is abusive. The movie shows his abusiveness. That's all I meant when referencing a movie.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

restricting a literary story to the purely visual (to the exclusion of invoking the other senses)


Who ever said that?

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

He heard three gunshots (telling)
BANG! … BANG! BANG! (showing?)

'He heard three gunshots' is telling because it simply states an inner process which isn't made visible to the reader by including observable clues.

'BANG! … BANG! BANG!' isn't showing because it's prompting the reader to do on his own what you are supposed to do, to show what's happening with your writing. It's an appeal on the reader's memory to fill in the blanks which you left behind.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

why would you treat "google something" different from every other use of a Corporate name

Personally, I treat all corporate names the same. I capitalise them for uses as nouns and adjectives, but lowercase when I use them as a verb. My reason is both the BrE and AmE style guides I use recommend that.
You ask, "Why do they recommend that?"
I answer, "I assume it's because the words are conjugated once they are made into verbs, i.e. have -s, -ed, -ing endings."
You object, "That is inconsistent with capitals being retained when a proper noun is modified to create an adjective, for example, the Gregorian and Julian calendars have capitals because they refer to Pope Gregory and Julius Caesar."
I concede, "Yes, there is an inconsistency in what they recommend."

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I concede, "Yes, there is an inconsistency in what they recommend."


So now you're googleplexed ;)

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

So now you're googleplexed ;)

Wow! You are in form tonight.

Actually, I would be Googleplexed.

I view this as the proper noun, Google, having the -plex suffix added to it to create another noun, which is then modified into an adjective with the addition of an -ed suffix. :-)

REP

@Switch Blayde

BANG! … BANG! BANG! (showing?)


I don't see it as showing. To me showing demonstrates or makes a statement about the action or activity being described.

"BANG! … BANG! BANG!" is about the same as "He heard three gunshots". "The door slammed shut" gives me context and I can visualize a door being slammed shut.

When I read "BANG! … BANG! BANG!", I don't visualize an automatic handgun is being fired, unless I have previously been 'told' that an automatic is being fired. The Bang could be the bad guys slamming doors shut. I also can't tell if the sound is a short, sharp easily ignored Bang of an underpowered popgun, or the a loud, overwhelming Bang of a high-energy hand-cannon that makes you jump when you hear the sound.

I don't have a problem with "sound" words in a story, and I do think they can add to the passages if done properly. However, a sound doesn't 'show' in my opinion. It is just a different way of 'telling'.

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

'BANG! … BANG! BANG!' isn't showing because it's prompting the reader to do on his own what you are supposed to do, to show what's happening with your writing.


The other aspect of showing is you don't spoon feed (tell) the reader everything. You let the reader come to the conclusion on their own (like my previous abusive father example).

I honestly don't understand your comment. I'm showing what's happening by using the words that represent a sound.

Switch Blayde

@REP

However, a sound doesn't 'show' in my opinion. It is just a different way of 'telling'.


That's why I had the question mark. I've never read that using sounds is showing.

When I read "BANG! … BANG! BANG!", I don't visualize an automatic handgun is being fired, unless I have previously been 'told' that an automatic is being fired.


You would if what I presented here wasn't taken out of context.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

The screams and Thud! Thud! Thud! of feet striking the wooden floor of the hallway alerted Steele to the approaching group of women. As he threw himself against wall to avoid being trampled by the panicked women, they flew past his upheld hands like a herd of stampeding cattle.

You can easily trim that to:

The screams and Thump! Thump! Thump! of feet striking the wooden floor alerted Steele to the approaching women. Ignoring his upheld hands, the women advanced, forcing him to throw himself against the wall to avoid being trampled as they flew past like a herd of stampeding cattle.

Replies:   REP
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I honestly don't understand your comment. I'm showing what's happening by using the words that represent a sound.

The proposition of this thread is that sound effects can be used in writing. My opinion is, there are no sound effects in writing unless you link sound files to your words.

Your 'BANG! … BANG! BANG!' means the same to me as 'Sound of a shot! ... Sound of a shot! Sound of a shot!'
Would you view that as an example of showing? Maybe it is for you, I can't deny the possibility. For me, it's a lackluster attempt to borrow not transferable impressions from another medium.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

That's showing. That evokes emotion. The reader feels her pain. That's what happens in a movie. A narrator doesn't tell the audience the father is abusive. The movie shows his abusiveness. That's all I meant when referencing a movie.

Just as you can always create telling examples in writing to further your argument, you can also imagine movies where the acting is so bad it's the equivalent of 'telling' the readers 'the father is abusive'. Bad examples don't prove your point, all it's proves is that you're using terrible examples!

My point wasn't that writing ISN'T showing or that movies ALWAYS show, it's that literary is better about conveying emotions, and if you continually try to copy the quick action in movies, you'll invariable forgo revealing the emotions which make writing such a rich medium.

To be more succinct: movies only SHOW, they don't emote, and they don't reveal any more than what's visual.

As was noted earlier, smells aren't more powerful than visuals, but a story without the other senses is little more than a flashing-picture show.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

why would you treat "google something" different from every other use of a Corporate name

Personally, I treat all corporate names the same. I capitalise them for uses as nouns and adjectives, but lowercase when I use them as a verb. My reason is both the BrE and AmE style guides I use recommend that.

I concede. You're right in this case. I hadn't following the logic all the way through.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

So now you're googleplexed

I still prefer "gobsmacked" (with the uppercase "Gob"). 'D

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@REP

I don't see it as showing. To me showing demonstrates or makes a statement about the action or activity being described.

"BANG! … BANG! BANG!" is about the same as "He heard three gunshots". "The door slammed shut" gives me context and I can visualize a door being slammed shut.

Our examples are all overly simplistic. It should be:

The door slammed shut, the wooden frame reverberating with the force of the impact.

or

The sharp retort of a gunshot caused me to flinch, though it was the echo of the shots reverberating through the enclosed room which informed me of the true extent of the threats. The splinters flying from the wall, and the bullets wizzing past further emphasized the immediacy of the danger."

That is a heck of a lot of works, much more work than simply saying "Bang! You're dead!", but it conveys what it's like to be IN that scene, and it goes beyond merely 'showing what a TV camera' would.

Relying on a simply movie motif is selling your storytelling short. Books don't NEED to be just like movies, because books were popular for thousands of years before the invention of movies, and they continue to be more popular, because no movie will ever prove to be more long-lasting than books. And if you doubt that, consider how strong your old 35mm photos are, and how worthless your three year-old digital pictures taken with your old smartphone are.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I honestly don't understand your comment. I'm showing what's happening by using the words that represent a sound.

You're NOT showing anything! All you're providing is a single word cartoon representation which doesn't convey anything other than 'imagine what this sounds like.' That's not just a short cut, that's lazy-telling too!

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Finally, unless you're extremely close to a shooter, you're unlikely to hear anything similar to a "Bang". What you traditionally get is a "pop-pop" similar to fireworks, which is why many people don't recognize when they're in danger until it's too late.


A hand gun will sound like a pop-pop. I've been hunting with rifles. Rifle fire at a distance from anything larger than a .22LR tends to stretch out a bit at a distance and sounds more like distant thunder than pops.

Unless the shooter is firing a high caliber crew served machine gun, any "flying" debris from a bullet impact is unlikely to be dangerous from more than a few feet (less than a meter for metric reader) from the point of impact.

As for seeing the debris, unless you are very close to the point of impact you are unlikely to see more than a indistinct puff that looks like dust or smoke.

If you are close enough to the shooter to hear a bang, you are too far from the bullet impact for debris.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

Do you ever drive slow in the fast lane and fast in the slow lane?


Yes, aren't you supposed to?

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

Finally, unless you're extremely close to a shooter, you're unlikely to hear anything similar to a "Bang". What you traditionally get is a "pop-pop" similar to fireworks, which is why many people don't recognize when they're in danger until it's too late.

If you are close, a small bore rifle tends to be a "crack" whereas a (for example) .303 is a real bang as is a shotgun. Target small bore pistols were also a crack sound.
Luckily I didn't have the chance to hear a .22 from a distance.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

Luckily I didn't have the chance to hear a .22 from a distance.


depending how far away they are, it's usual a sharp 'snap' like sound. I used to hear other people out hunting rabbits until the socialists convinced the government to disarm the population. So now only the criminals, the police, and the military are armed.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

disarm the population

Fortunately they didn't remove them at the shoulder. Probably they are working on inexpensive surgery to do so.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

Aren't there laws against it? It's like driving a car in the bus lane or a bus in the cycle lane ;)

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Fortunately they didn't remove them at the shoulder. Probably they are working on inexpensive surgery to do so.


With the jump in news reporting of drive by shootings and other shootings by criminals since then, I think they have it covered.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

You can easily trim that to


My first cut was 49 words; yours was 47.

The screams and Thump! Thump! Thump! of feet striking the wooden floor alerted Steele to the herd of stampeding women. Ignoring his upheld hands, they pounded past him as he embraced the wall to avoid being trampled.


My second cut is now 37 words - your turn. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@robberhands

My opinion is, there are no sound effects in writing unless you link sound files to your words.


I might concur with that concept. If I do, then I would also have parallel the comment by saying there is no action in writing unless you link video clips to your words.

robberhands
Updated:

@REP

The screams and Thump! Thump! Thump! of feet striking the wooden floor alerted Steele to the herd of stampeding women. Ignoring his upheld hands, they pounded past him as he embraced the wall to avoid being trampled.

That's really good, though I still would prefer 'The screams and din of many feet striking the wooden floor ...'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@REP

I might concur with that concept. If I do, then I would also have parallel the comment by saying there is no action in writing unless you link video clips to your words.

Deal!

REP

SB,

You called Bang, Thud, Crack, etc., sound words. It just occurred to me that they are more like adjectives for they are describing a specific type of sound.

As we have all said in one way or another, if something advances your story include it. If you feel it advances your story, go with it and don't worry about what the rest of us think or feel.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play

Dear Mr. Santa Blayde,

Do you still require the extra staff you had requested to help with your busy time of the year?

I ask for your confirmation for two reasons:
1. I assume your total workload will be down this year because the boys out there seem to have been unusually naughty this year; and
2. Your elves appear to working extra hard to complete everything for you. I even overheard one of them saying to another, "My first cut was 49 words; yours was 47 ... My second cut is now 37 words - your turn."

I thought you may have everything under control and all will be ready in time.

Yours Sincerely,

Roger Rabbit.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@REP


If you feel it advances your story, go with it and don't worry about what the rest of us think or feel.


I'm always seeking other's opinions. I may not agree, but I can be persuaded to change my mind. Right now I have doubts. The people in the forum I read were adamant about using sounds being amateurish. That seems to be the belief here (although I don't agree with the alternate suggestions). But I think it adds effect to a story if used correctly, just like fragmented sentences.

REP

@Switch Blayde

But I think it adds effect to a story if used correctly, just like fragmented sentences.


I read and consider what is said in the Forum. What I read may change my views; but in the end, I do what I believe is right for me.

I think that is a good guideline for all of us, but as I said we should do what is right for us as individuals.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I think it adds effect to a story if used correctly, just like fragmented sentences.


Very true, and the hard part is working out how to use it correctly for the scene you're writing, because what may be correct for one scene may not work in another. However, the final answer is what you want to best portray what you want to present is what's best.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

The people in the forum I read were adamant about using sounds being amateurish. That seems to be the belief here

To label something as amateurish is hardly a valuable argument. I understand your intention. I think it's lastly a matter of perception. You read 'BANG!' and hear a gunshot.Your readers might very well react the same way. I read BANG! and don't hear anything but miss the bubble display. As always, it's a matter of personal preference.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

But I think it adds effect to a story if used correctly, just like fragmented sentences.

Didn't Strunk say writers should go with the perceived wisdom of the crowd unless they know breaking the rule will be better?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

... unless they know ...

According to Socrates that will never happen.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@robberhands


You read 'BANG!' and hear a gunshot.Your readers might very well react the same way. I read BANG! and don't hear anything


I think if you were at that point in the story you'd hear a gunshot. I posted a small piece of a large scene. So much happened before the "bang." The tension was there.

I could follow the "bang" with something like, "There were three shots fired from the bar." But it isn't necessary.

The women were gathered at the entrance to the bar. One woman ran into the bar. bang … bang bang. The women stampeded away from the entrance to the bar. Why? They ran away from the gunshots. Steele ran towards the gunshots and peeked into the bar. He saw the dead woman. The shooter appeared. This time I didn't write "bang." I wrote


Steele ducked behind the wall. A loud gunshot echoed throughout the bar. The wooden door jamb splintered next to where Steele was hiding.


The novel isn't filled with sound effects. After all, it's not a comic book. But sometimes the sound is a great way to describe something.


With each step, the Russian's head dropped onto the next marble step. Thump, thump, thump.


The sound in the above adds something. The first part tells the reader his head hits each step on the way down. The sounds reinforces it. The reader "hears" his head hit each step.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I think if you were at that point in the story you'd hear a gunshot.

Tightly embedded into narrative prose it lessens the comedic effect it has on me but I doubt you'll ever convince me of the literary value of phonetic sound attempts in a story.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

The people in the forum I read were adamant about using sounds being amateurish.


FWIW, I don't think it's amateurish. It's one of the tools in your arsenal as a writer. If it feels right to you to use sounds in a certain context, use them.

If all the trendy writing experts are decrying the practice, you'll be ahead of the curve.

AJ

Switch Blayde

Just found an opinion that says what I have been thinking (http://blog.janicehardy.com/2010/04/zip-crash-bang.html)

The whole thing is quoted, but I didn't know how to do a quote within a quote so I only quoted the lines from the fiction she's talking about.

Creak

Bob spun around. Was that a zombie or just the wind?


While I appreciate this device and what it does for my writing, not everyone likes using sounds this way. They find them awkward, or distracting, detracting from a scene instead of enhancing it, or feel they're too comic book and not literary enough perhaps, or they seem like a cheap trick.

I find using onomatopoeia gives me a much tighter point of view than describing how something sounds. Creak on its own line jumps out just like a creak in the night would. "She heard a creak" just doesn't have the same sense of intimacy. "A board creaked" is closer, but it still doesn't convey what

Creak

does for me. It's someone jumping out at readers on the page. It emphasizes a sound that matters to the scene, cranking up the tension and giving readers that nail-baiting edge-of-their-seat feeling we get in the movies.

Besides, "a board creaked" can sometimes give away too much information. Does our POV character really know it's a board? Can she tell what made the sound? Using just the sound gets around all those pesky POV problems.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

onomatopoeia

Thanks! Never heard that term before.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

@SB
onomatopoeia
@You
Thanks! Never heard that term before.

You weren't paying attention while class was in session ... you naughty, naughty boy!

My first post on this thread began with:

I question whether all of those are sound effects.

Certainly not, 'the thud of ...' To me, that's just an ordinary word being used with its usual meaning. It is an example of onomatopoeia, a word that when spoken sounds like the sound it is describing. So what? I see no reason to put that one in italics.

Merry Xmas to me!

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

It is an example of onomatopoeia, a word that when spoken sounds like the sound it is describing.


But it's three sounds th - u - d

When a dying body falls on the floor, does it make all three?

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

But it's three sounds th - u - d

You should stop clowning around and pay more attention too. Go stand in dunce's corner!

Replies:   awnlee jawking
robberhands

@Ross at Play

onomatopoeia

Thanks! Never heard that term before.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Thanks! Never heard that term before.

I accept this statement as your apology.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

onomatopoeia


Like @robberhands, who doesn't hear a shot being fired when he reads 'BANG!', I find the majority of words claimed to be onomatopoeic to be poor representations of the actual sounds.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I find the majority of words claimed to be onomatopoeic to be poor representations of the actual


AJ,

There's a good start for a humorous Sci-Fi with conflict between the alien races of the Ka-Pow vs the Bang-Bang while a group of human mercenaries called the Boomers getting paid to help both sides until the mind controlling Pfft join in. :-)

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I find the majority of words claimed to be onomatopoeic to be poor representations of the actual sounds.

I agree many of the representations are poor, but any attempt that sounds similar suffices to qualify IMHO.

awnlee_jawking

@Ross at Play

!

That's the onomatopoeic representation of a spaceship firing a laser. I even put it in italics. ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee_jawking

That's the onomatopoeic representation of a spaceship firing a laser.

Congratulations. That one wins you a bah-na-nah!

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

As for seeing the debris, unless you are very close to the point of impact you are unlikely to see more than a indistinct puff that looks like dust or smoke.

The point of the debris isn't to further the plot (ex: by crippling the character with a painful facial splinter), but it brings in the other senses, providing a more complete environment which pulls the reader in. They not only SEE the action, they smell the smoke, their eyes sting with the sulfur in the air, they trip over shell casings, and the suffer the 'fog' of war (unsure who the good guys and bad guys are). All go into creating a scene which feels more 'authentic' than a simple 'shoot-em up' where one guy shoots another and never misses.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Yes, aren't you supposed to?

Whenever someone drives slow in the fast lane, creating a slower lane, I drive faster (in the new slow lane), riding their bumper, reminding them they're in the WRONG DAMN LANE!!!

If the young bucks don't teach the old blue-haired biddies how to drive, they'll never learn! 'D

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@REP

My first cut was 49 words; yours was 47.

I noticed that as I wrote it, but I emphasized (expanded) a different segment than you did. The point, and I did have one, is that by trimming the unnecessary passive or duplicate phrases, the whole thing reads smoother and the end result is (hopefully) more powerful.

By the way, is that two sentences or five? If your grade school teacher never explained it to you, exclamations go on the end of sentences, not at the end of each individual word. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I might concur with that concept. If I do, then I would also have parallel the comment by saying there is no action in writing unless you link video clips to your words.

My repeated objections to Switches use of "Bang! Bang!" wasn't whether I don't believe in using sounds, rather it was echoing what his Wattpad critics already told him, that "Bang!" is an amateurish cartoon expression, rather than a serious literary application of sound.

Authors need to use their words, rather than trying to appropriate shortcuts from other imprecise mediums. That's why I like terms like "slam", "rebound" and "reverberate" to indicate sound rather than "Bang!".

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

That's really good, though I still would prefer 'The screams and din of many feet striking the wooden floor ...'.

That's better, because as was noted earlier, no one's individual footfalls are likely to register as "Thud! Thud! Thud!". Many footfalls sound like a stampede, but no one's footfall sounds like a gunshot or rockfall.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

That seems to be the belief here (although I don't agree with the alternate suggestions). But I think it adds effect to a story if used correctly, just like fragmented sentences.

The ideas wasn't to dissuade you. I'm sure that, with your experience, whichever approach you pick will work well. Instead, we were merely presenting alternatives. In each of our cases, we were trying to present abstract alternatives with no clear idea how they'd work in your story's context.

Feel free to accept any, or reject them all. We (mostly I) just wanted you to be aware of just how strong the 'amateurish' component rings out with each of your "Bang"s.

However, if you minimize them (ex. don't add the extraneous italics and exclamation marks), they shouldn't be obnoxious enough to stop anyone's reading of the passage either way.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I think it's lastly a matter of perception. You read 'BANG!' and hear a gunshot.Your readers might very well react the same way. I read BANG! and don't hear anything but miss the bubble display. As always, it's a matter of personal preference.

Again, "BANG!" isn't really a sound, any more than cats really say "Meow" (hint: they don't!). Instead, it's shorthand for 'fill in the missing sound yourself, whenever you see Wile E Coyote holding up his question mark speech balloon'.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The novel isn't filled with sound effects. After all, it's not a comic book. But sometimes the sound is a great way to describe something.

Sometimes a specific scene needs a shock element, to switch the story pace, typically revealing a life-or-death element. Again, "Bang" is fine, but I wouldn't over-emphasize it or else you make a mountain out of a molehill, which will only trip up readers who wouldn't be bothered by it as it is.

Your "BANG!" is similar to a small boy finding a dead body in the water, it's effectively a wake-up call for the characters, and a signal to the readers that the scene has changed from one situation into another. However, such a transition often works best when painted simply, rather than when it's overplayed.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

onomatopoeia

Thanks! Never heard that term before.

I'm familiar with the term (i.e. I recognize it when I see it), but I can never remember the actual words when I need them (like here in the forum, when Google is no help with my piss-poor spelling attempts). :(

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Like @robberhands, who doesn't hear a shot being fired when he reads 'BANG!', I find the majority of words claimed to be onomatopoeic to be poor representations of the actual sounds.

Me three! Me three!

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Rather than using onomatopoeic to mimic sound, often it's used to convey a sensation though the sound of a word. Words like "slimy" and "soggy" suggest physical reactions based exclusively on the sound of the word, and are practically enough to have certain people pulling into a fetal position just from the one word alone.

Those are much more powerful examples of onomatopoeic than a comic-book sound like "Bang" or "POW". Just consider the image that "slimy slithering snake" conveys. Each word conveys a distinct evolutionary distrust of things we encounter in the dark. Just as we're all born with an inherent distrust of bitter taste (bitter=poison, in most instances), certain words convey the same distrust, which is WHY bringing in the different senses can make a scene more powerful, even when the other senses are nowhere near as powerful as the visual elements are.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The point of the debris isn't to further the plot (ex: by crippling the character with a painful facial splinter), but it brings in the other senses, providing a more complete environment which pulls the reader in.


Even for the later purpose, anything beyond a puff of dust is unrealistic unless the character is either right next to the point of impact or the weapon at issue is a high caliber crew served weapon.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@robberhands

onomatopoeia

"The word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning "name" and the other meaning "I make," so onomatopoeia literally means "the name (or sound) I make."
It may be an English word, but it is Greek to almost everyone. When the speakers of the Greek Language want to communicate that comment other languages use ("its Greek to me") I understand they say (in translation), "its Chinese to me."

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

more powerful examples of onomatopoeic

The bird's name cuckoo (or coo coo) is derived from the sound it makes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

onomatopoeia
Thanks! Never heard that term before.


Then you've never been to http://www.writtensound.com/index.php

It's hard to see, but at the top there's a search field. Put in something like "ball hits metal bat" and it comes back with "clang."

"Ball hits bat" comes up with "clang" and "pock."

"Gunshot" comes up with nothing.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Even for the later purpose, anything beyond a puff of dust is unrealistic unless the character is either right next to the point of impact or the weapon at issue is a high caliber crew served weapon.

Although I was stretching for examples here on the forum, typically when I use it in a story, I use it to convey a 'near miss', almost fatal shot, rather than a more general 'chaotic scene'.

My latest story, "A House in Disarray" uses it, but I didn't want to bother searching for the passage. :(

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

The bird's name cuckoo (or coo coo) is derived from the sound it makes.

Then why don't suicide bombers go up in a cloud of Suice? Then again, it puts Dr. Seuss in a whole new light!

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

where one guy shoots another and never misses.


Lee Child's introduction in his first Jack Reacher novel defines Jack Reacher. He always wins. Realistic or not, that's his character.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

what his Wattpad critics already told him, that "Bang!" is an amateurish cartoon expression, rather than a serious literary application of sound.


It wasn't wattpad nor the word "bang." It was on a forum, maybe even Amazon's board, where people were talking about using sounds. Maybe it was a Linkedin group.,

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

riding their bumper


Not advisable in European cars. The sterns are relatively resilient but the prows are designed to crumple and are expensive to repair ;)

AJ

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

It wasn't wattpad nor the word "bang." It was on a forum, maybe even Amazon's board, where people were talking about using sounds. Maybe it was a Linkedin group.

Still, it's been a fascinating discussion. For as opinionated as we all are in this topic, it highlights the dangers these techniques carry (which highlights my 'minimize the danger by minimizing the special effects' caution).

A single "Bang!" won't change a story's score much, but a BANG! BANG! BANG! just might tip someone's minor annoyance into a show-stopper.

Personally, I like the Star Wars scenes where all the characters say "Zip! Zip! Zip!" while firing their lasers! 'D

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Personally, I like the Star Wars scenes where all the characters say "Zip! Zip! Zip!" while firing their lasers! 'D


Allegedly they couldn't stop Ewan McGregor from making light sabre sounds while he was filming the relevant scenes so they had to edit those out then splice in the 'correct' sounds over the top.

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@Switch Blayde

"Gunshot" comes up with nothing.


That's true, but just putting 'gun' gives

p-taff
pew pew
ratatatat
rat-a-tat; bratat
Schklikt, klikt
takka takka

robberhands

@Capt. Zapp

p-taff
pew pew
ratatatat
rat-a-tat; bratat
Schklikt, klikt
takka takka

How poetic.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Capt. Zapp

That's true, but just putting 'gun' gives


"Weapon" gives more, for a lot more types of weapons.

I was reading a forum where someone asked what sound a firing gun made. Someone who seems to be a gun enthusiast had different sounds. A 9mm made "pop" whereas a 45mm and up made "bang." (I think he said a rifle made "clack" but I don't remember.)

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

p-taff
pew pew
ratatatat
rat-a-tat; bratat
Schklikt, klikt
takka takka

How poetic.

Hemingway has nothing over the poetic power of the internet! Why bother describing something when you can simply shout "p-taff!" instead?

Who comes up with this shit? "Schklikt?"

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@Capt. Zapp

takka takka


tikki takka (and its various alternative forms) is a style of football made famous by Barcelona, and involves keeping possession with lots of short passes. It derives from the 'tick tock' of a clock, so a gun presumably sounds like tock tock.

AJ

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Although I was stretching for examples here on the forum, typically when I use it in a story, I use it to convey a 'near miss', almost fatal shot, rather than a more general 'chaotic scene'.


That's fine, but isn't relevant to SB's example.

My impression from the beginning of SB's three shots example, which SB has confirmed is correct, was that the POV character hearing the shots was not in a position where he had line of sight on either the shooter or the point of bullet impacts.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Who comes up with this shit? "Schklikt?"


That would come close to the noise made by manually working the action on many rifles of different types or racking the slide on a semi-auto pistol.

richardshagrin

This is my rifle, that is my gun. One is for shooting, the other for fun. Unless in the Artillery, soldiers are trained in part with that little poem and a lot of pushups, not to call their weapons a gun.

Switch Blayde

Saw on the news that someone was shooting at cars. One driver got hit in the leg. He went into a gas station asking for them to call the police. In the recording he said he heard a "bang."

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Saw on the news that someone was shooting at cars. One driver got hit in the leg. He went into a gas station asking for them to call the police. In the recording he said he heard a "bang."

That's cause, if he told the police he heard a schklikt, he'd be subjected to a drug test while he's bleeding in the parking lot.

For however appropriate it is, everyone understands "Bang", just as everyone understands "Pow" and "Zap". However, recognition doesn't make the fitting literary tools.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Most of the shooting I've heard has been clay pigeon shooting which sounds like a succession of fireworks exploding. However, a few years back there was a shooting incident near me involving a handgun. I dismissed it as a car backfiring until I heard about it on the news.

'Bang' works for me.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

'Bang' works for me.


Yeah, what would erotica be without a good bang?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Yeah, what would erotica be without a good bang?

Hopefully multiple bangs, several at the same time, accompanied by lots of moaning and screaming—whether real of fake really doesn't matter to most of us.

Switch Blayde

I emailed Janice Hardy to point out the soot/shoot typo. I also thanked her for her article on onomatopoeia and included the snippet from my novel we've been discussing. I'm not proud. Why not get free advice? LOL This was her response.

I love onomatopoeia, but it works best when used sparingly. I'd have written that bang bang bang scene the same way, so that's a great example of when it works to emphasis a sound. I like to use it to surprise or shake up the reader a little.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I love onomatopoeia, but it works best when used sparingly. I'd have written that bang bang bang scene the same way, so that's a great example of when it works to emphasis a sound. I like to use it to surprise or shake up the reader a little.

For as much as I've been bitching about your using it, I've used it plenty of times myself. As you say, it's best when the 'attack' is a surprise, rather than a running gun battle and it introduces the sudden influx of danger, where "He heard gunshots" just doesn't.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Like @robberhands, who doesn't hear a shot being fired when he reads 'BANG!', I find the majority of words claimed to be onomatopoeic to be poor representations of the actual sounds.

Me three! Me three!


"Bang" c a n refer to a gun or rifle shot but it applies equally, perhaps better to a door closing/slammed rapidly, fireworks going off, something falling (even breaking sometimes).

I think the vast majority of "sounds" in text must be associated with an indication of their cause, either before or afterwards. That could be a plate falling, a gun going off ....., a car crashing

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

but it applies equally, perhaps better to a door closing/slammed rapidly, fireworks going off, something falling (even breaking sometimes).


All sounds that someone somewhere has mistaken for a gunshot.

I think the vast majority of "sounds" in text must be associated with an indication of their cause, either before or afterwards.


Yes, but it could be significantly afterward. There can be legitimate story driven reasons for the POV character to not be aware of the cause of the noise.

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@Dominions Son


All sounds that someone somewhere has mistaken for a gunshot


or vice-versa.

karactr
Updated:

I haven't read the whole topic, sorry, I just don't have the patience. But in the OP, the use of the onomatopoeia "phut" seems perfectly legitimate and perfect in context to me. It emphasizes both the action and the character's lack of regard for the person he just killed.

"You're scum. phut. Goodbye." Onto next action.

Perfect.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@karactr

I haven't read the whole topic, sorry, I just don't have the patience.

Don't apologise. That was the wise choice to make.
Thank you for contributing your thoughts on the OP. I hope the response from Crumbly Writer does not intimidate you too much to return.
Some of us here get a bit obsessive sometimes. That can be a relief to others given that at other times we are very obsessive. :)

Your post "hit a nerve" with CW; he wanted to respond; that's fair enough, but I don't think he should have directed his response at you.
I think he should have made a Reply to Topic. He could have quoted what you said, introduced it with something like "A post above by karactr said", and then continued on as he did above.
That way, you would not feel, as I guess you did, that you were lectured at with details you had no context to understand. You had even said you had not read the whole topic!

CW's comments were actually meant for the regulars here, not you. I think he should have taken care to ensure you did not feel as if his comments were directed at you.

Please come again. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  karactr
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Your post "hit a nerve" with CW; he wanted to respond; that's fair enough, but I don't think he should have directed his response at you.

Sorry, about that. Ross is right, my response to your message wasn't directed at you, but was a response to the previous discussions where we kept discussing onomatopoeia, but we didn't seem to grasp the use of the term.

Since you, karactr, had never ventured an opinion on the topic before, there was little reason for me to lecture you on your previous comments. :(

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

This is in response to a post by karactr, but is in reference to previous discussion by on the thread by others. Although it doesn't sound like it, I was actually agreeing with karactr in arguing that "phut" was an appropriate use of onomatopoeia, while "bang" is a bad example of it.

I haven't read the whole topic, sorry, I just don't have the patience. But in the OP, the use of the onomatopoeia "phut" seems perfectly legitimate and perfect in context to me. It emphasizes both the action and the character's lack of regard for the person he just killed.

"You're scum. phut. Goodbye." Onto next action.

Perfect.

Again, onomatopoeia isn't just the use of sound in writing, it refers to the sound of the word which describes a sound reinforcing the sensation. In that case, "phut" is perfect, because it has a note of dramatic ending. "Phut" almost deserved an exclamation just because it sounds like it deserves one (ex: "I'd like to order a dish of phut! please.").

The word "bang", on the other hand, doesn't sound like the sound it describes in the least. Conversely, the comic book sound "Pow" does sound remotely like a fight. The word is short, powerful and efficient, just like a short attack (though again, it doesn't sound at all like a fist crushing a fleshy face).

That's why I prefer the sound of "explosion" in those contexts, as the "ex" sounds explosive, while the "plo" sounds like the fallout (fragments flying away). The word sounds like what it describes.

Unrelated to the topic, the word "rape" is stronger than "sexual assault" or "forcible sexual congress" because it sounds forced. It's short, and ends in a 'hard' "p" sound, much like most rapes are, hurried, forced and violent.

This is why a wide variety is essential for better writing, not because you know more esoteric words, but because you're better able to come up with words which fit across a wide spectrum of different levels: meaning, implications, sound, descriptive ability and, most importantly, able to invoke the sensations of the event. Most of us who didn't grow up writing poetry have a hard time wrapping our minds around these types of phrasing concepts, whereas poetry is all about such subtle uses of language, which is why many world-recognized best sellers have a history of studying poetry, even when they don't actively write poetry.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, about that.

We all make little mistakes here, but everything remains pleasant when our attitude upon one being pointed out is: so what? I'll correct it as best I can and move on. :)

Switch Blayde

@karactr

I haven't read the whole topic, sorry, I just don't have the patience. But in the OP, the use of the onomatopoeia "phut" seems perfectly legitimate and perfect in context to me. It emphasizes both the action and the character's lack of regard for the person he just killed.


Thanks.

The original post wasn't about a specific sound. It was asking how people felt about using sounds in fiction (instead of words to describe the sound).

I will continue to use sounds when I believe it has the impact I'm seeking — sparingly. Hopefully I'll choose the correct sound.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

phut

P hut sounds like a latrine.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I will continue to use sounds when I believe it has the impact I'm seeking — sparingly. Hopefully I'll choose the correct sound.

After all the discussion here, I'm now thinking I need to search for an authors' onomatopoeia thesaurus (i.e. which lists all the 'sound words' an author can use in any given circumstance, with special emphasis on those where the words sounds like the sound described, conveys the feel (wince inducing?) and the literal meaning.

Unfortunately, there aren't that many 'author thesaurus' books available yet. :(

P.S. Part of my obsession here is that I too was, until this discussion, largely ignorant of these details too. I was marginally aware of them, but I'm hardly well-versed in the similarity between sounds and the sound of the words describing them.

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

"rape"

I don't say you are wrong, but would you use the same comments about "grape" (the fruit that grows on vines.) Especially seedless grapes are a favorite of mine. And people make wine from them. I don't see grapes as hurried, forced and violent. Sometimes the prices are a little extreme.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

"phut" (sound), sounds like "fut", similar to the way an old car sounds, "phut, phut, phut". 'D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I don't say you are wrong, but would you use the same comments about "grape" (the fruit that grows on vines.) Especially seedless grapes are a favorite of mine. And people make wine from them. I don't see grapes as hurried, forced and violent. Sometimes the prices are a little extreme.

Words don't always need to sound like the thing, as few will associate "rape" with "grapes". It's only essential when words describe sounds. (It's similar to the sensations words like "slime" and "mucus" invoke in readers when they encounter the words.)

For "rape", it's a combination of the "r" and the hard "ape" sound. You'll notice that "grape" doesn't sound (for whatever reason) as final as "rape" does, as if any sentence with it ENDS one the word is invoked, which tends to focus attention on the act, rather than the context, which probably explains why discussions concerning rape tend to be so sensationalized.

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

re: "rape"
I don't say you are wrong, but would you use the same comments about "grape"

True story. While I was living in Malaysia some emails to a friend in Australia started disappearing. I wasn't getting delivery error messages. It was a mystery.
The reason was the government had ordered a new round of internet censorship which included spitting out emails sent to addresses with "offensive names", such as @grapevine.com.au. :(

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin
"phut" (sound), sounds like "fut"

CW, perhaps you should look more carefully at who made posts you are responding to.
I fear another pisspot-poor pun whenever I see Richard has honoured us with a specimen of his wit. For example:

P hut sounds like a latrine.

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

a specimen of his wit.

you can find a lot of puns in latrines. Even Pee uns.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

CW, perhaps you should look more carefully at who made posts you are responding to.
I fear another pisspot-poor pun whenever I see Richard has honoured us with a specimen of his wit.

Actually I found his latrine joke damn humorous, but I wanted to ensure he understood what we were referring to (the proper sound), so I went ahead and stated the obvious again, adding my own piss-poor joke to make it less obnoxious.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

adding my own piss-poor joke to make it less obnoxious.

In contrast, I take advantage of every poor piss joke I think of to be even more obnoxious.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

even more obnoxious

We all make allowances, after all you are from Australia. The country that is proud that its founders were "recruited" from prison. I have been to Australia, visited the great barrier reef and other monuments. One of my more memorable observations is that there are no chain drugstores there, each pharmacy was owned by the resident pharmasist. I visited what seemed like a lot of them because my wife was ill. Probably something she ate. I also learned that Quantus was an amalgam of several of the names of provinces. If I looked it up on the internet, probably I would remember which names they were. I think Queensland and New Territories are in there somewhere. Australia was an ok place to visit but I don't think I would want to live there.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@richardshagrin

there are no chain drugstores there, each pharmacy was owned by the resident pharmasist ... I also learned that Quantus was an amalgam of several of the names of provinces.

I presume it was a while ago that you visited. The owner-managed suburban pharmacies are dying out faster than smokers, and a few big chains are taking over.

The airline name is Qantas, Queensland and Northern Territory Airline Service. It indeed, started out very small.

karactr

@Ross at Play

I am neither intimidated nor offended, by any means. I am a reader, not a writer. I cannot comment on this topic from an author's perspective, but from a reader's view...scene and action descriptions can often get long-winded and boring. Properly interjected terms (such as the aforementioned "phut") can keep such passages shorter while conveying so much more.

It all seems to come down to context, usage and implementation. If the term has the correct impact, than it was a good usage of it.

After this though, I think I will stay out of writer's forums in the future. What a hornet's nest. LOL

Switch Blayde

@karactr

After this though, I think I will stay out of writer's forums in the future.


Authors are more interested in what readers say than other authors.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@karactr

After this though, I think I will stay out of writer's forums in the future. What a hornet's nest. LOL

That is precisely what I was hoping would not happen.

As I see things, it requires great attention to detail to achieve even a credible standard as an author. Many may be attracted to writing, but only those who are somewhat obsessive stick around. They develop their pet theories, what works for them, and the result they start discussing what works with each other is, as you say, a hornet's nest.

However, we really would benefit from more feedback by readers regarding what they actually prefer, for example, your common-sense insight:

It all seems to come down to context, usage and implementation. If the term has the correct impact, than it was a good usage of it.

I cannot promise any further opinions you express here will not be debated, heatedly, but I can promise you some here will very much appreciate any new ideas coming in from the "real world".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@karactr

After this though, I think I will stay out of writer's forums in the future. What a hornet's nest. LOL


nah, just do what many of us do - join in and enjoy the forum while we ignore the worst of the hornets and their buzzing so they're left with stinging each other.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I cannot promise any further opinions you express here will not be debated, heatedly, but I can promise you some here will very much appreciate any new ideas coming in from the "real world".

As Ross stated earlier, I sorta 'went after' you, but I was trying to make a point to the other authors, not you specifically. That wasn't very clear thinking on my part. The fallout, as that one post got discussed by multiple authors, is more typical of what we typically get into here.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

typical of what we typically get into here.

And then somebody makes a pun.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

And then somebody makes a pun.

And then the discussions become pun-tastic! 'D

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

pun-tastic!

And the discussion becomes punative.

To save a separate communication, my most recent joke is the youngest people in South America are the Argenteens.

Replies:   karactr  Ross at Play
karactr

@richardshagrin

But, what about the Chiledren?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

the youngest people in South America are the Argenteens.

Preuvians are younger.

Dominions Son

@karactr

But, what about the Chiledren?


They are the responsibility of their payrents

Replies:   karactr
karactr

@Dominions Son

So who exactly ARE the youngest in South America?

And can this get anymore OFF topic?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@karactr

And can this get anymore OFF topic?

Okay, we'll get back on topic: what sound for South Americans use for explosions? La Bango?

Personally, this discussion ran out of steam about 250 messages ago.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

The analogy was for how they were running, not a sound. Stampeding cattle make a lot of noise, just from the pounding of their hooves on the ground. A group of stampeding humans, unless there are hundreds of them, not so much.

i wasn't terribly fond of the stampeding either, as "scrambling for safety would be more accurate, but Switch seems focused on sound effects at the moment, so I wasn't going to quibble.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

i wasn't terribly fond of the stampeding either, as "scrambling for safety would be more accurate, but Switch seems focused on sound effects at the moment, so I wasn't going to quibble.


Stampeding has nothing to do with sound. It's the women running like a herd of scared cattle. I think the verb is perfect.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Stampeding has nothing to do with sound ... I think the verb is perfect.

I think so too.
Both verbs show people driven by fear to seek out somewhere safe as quickly as possible.
"Stampede" also suggests a mob in such a state of panic that their efforts to find safety are uncontrolled to the extent of creating other dangers.

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