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How to write the drawn-out,plaintive, "Mommm," cry of a teenager?

lichtyd

I must have seen an example of this somewhere, but nothing comes to mind.

My sentence:

"Mommm…, I never said I liked him and even if I did, I don't know we'd talk about."

Thank you,

lichtyd

Replies:   joyR  Ross at Play  PotomacBob
joyR

@lichtyd

My sentence:

"Mommm…, I never said I liked him and even if I did, I don't know we'd talk about."

Thank you,


Personally I dislike the addition of extra letters to draw out a word or words. I tend to think it's used for the more illiterate stroke stories where the author finds it easier to add an extra twenty letters to a word rather that actually write the scene properly.

There are various ways to convey that teenage cry of despair, embarrassment or just plain pleading, body language, actions, attitude, thoughts, all add far more to the scene than simply adding extra unnecessary letters to a word or words. And of course there is punctuation and capitals or bold if necessary.

Using your example; "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"

My 2c worth.

Ross at Play

@lichtyd

To me, 'Mo-om' would seem less amateurish than adding extra letters.

awnlee jawking

@joyR

Using your example; "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"


It doesn't convey the way petulant teenagers can draw it out into a three syllable word.

In my not-in-progress work-in-progress, one of the characters says, "But Mu-u-um, it's a Tri-State Qualifier."

AJ

Replies:   joyR
Crumbly Writer

@joyR

And of course there is punctuation and capitals or bold if necessary.

Using your example; "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"

While I too dislike dumping extra letters into a perfectly good word, what I dislike even more, are adding unnecessary punctuation marks. Is something is an exclamation, adding twenty exclamation marks doesn't make it twenty times as exclamatory. Punctuation serves a single purpose, it identifies things, and makes it easier to read.

However, your suggestion about alternatives is reasonable, as "Mom ... !" conveys the image just as well, without violating every single grammatical and syntactical rule.

But again, you find this mostly used by largely inexperienced authors, often in stroke stories, where each orgasm has to be ten times as intense as the very last one, and the intensity of the scream conveys more than any sentiment.

As always, there are literary ways of handling these situations, which generally involves showing the character's frustrations and motivations by their and those around them's (?) responses. But, of course, that takes a more time and more experience in handling these situations. But emphasizing the relative strength of a pout doesn't make it any less of a simple pointless pout. It's frustrating (listening to it), but it rarely changes a parent's rules (at least not if the parent has a spine, that is).

@awnlee_Jawking

It doesn't convey the way petulant teenagers can draw it out into a three syllable word.

In my not-in-progress work-in-progress, one of the characters says, "But Mu-u-um, it's a Tri-State Qualifier."

Actually, that's a decent suggestion, as it conveys the teen drawing the word out, but doesn't belabor the point to the (pardon the pun) point of absurdity.

However, if you go that route, I wouldn't repeat it (as is typically seen in most stroke stories). After the first use, it's not only redundant, but quickly becomes annoying. Once you make your point (as an author) about how the character speaks, quit, as the readers will remember that as a character trait without your repeating it endlessly. Each time you repeat something, it becomes less effective.

By the way, Awnlee, I appreciate the literary pun (3-letter word associated with 'tri-state qualifier'). Most will miss it, but it warms my heart to see that kind of clever use or words so effectively.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

By the way, Awnlee, I appreciate the literary pun (3-letter word associated with 'tri-state qualifier').


You're giving credit where it's not due. No pun was intended :(

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

You're giving credit where it's not due. No pun was intended

Still, it was clever, even if you didn't recognize it. 'D That kind of virtually invisible word play spices up books on serious topics, lightening depressing subjects so readers can continue following the travails of a beleaguered MC.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

travails of a beleaguered MC


Not that it's of earth-shattering import, although still a teenager, my MC has grown out of the petulant phase. The speaker is his younger sister. ;)

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Not that it's of earth-shattering import, although still a teenager, my MC has grown out of the petulant phase. The speaker is his younger sister.

That's assumed. It's usually the beleaguered individual that technique—in this context, at least (of adding extra letters, punctuation or syllables) is used for (to highlight how unreasonable the other party is being).

REP
Updated:

@joyR

I agree the extra letters would be inappropriate in the narrative.

However, dialog represents what is said by a character. In the real world, teenagers will draw out the 2nd M of Mom. The extra Ms in the example represent that extended vocalization of the 2nd M.

For me, "Mom..!!" does not signify the extended vocalization of the 2nd M. It implies a short, simple Mom as an explanation with no emphasis on the 2nd M. When I first saw '..', 2 periods, I thought it was an ellipse used to indicate a delay, which is what follows 'Mommm. Although I would put the ellipse after the comma in lichtyd's example.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

Author and Anal both begin with A. I have to stop hanging out in the Author Hangout.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
joyR
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


It doesn't convey the way petulant teenagers can draw it out into a three syllable word.


You are absolutely correct.

But

I never said it did. I only suggested "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"

Nothing more.

And for the record I don't lump your "But Mu-u-um," in with those who would use MMmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm etc.

Now I need to go stick pins in a doll named awnlee jawking, just because I had to use the horrific non-word as above.

See what you brought down on your own head..?? (Other body parts too..!!)

awnlee jawking

@joyR

I only suggested "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"


I'm not sure about that. Like a previous responder, I see them as subtly different.

Now I need to go stick pins in a doll named awnlee jawking, just because I had to use the horrific non-word as above.


Actually (ouch!) it is (ouch!) pretty (ouch!) horrific (ouch!), not that (ouch!) my offering (ouch!) was much better (ouch!).

AJ

Replies:   joyR
lichtyd

Thank you all for the replies. The reasoning behind the suggestions are great.

For a plaintive wail, the best method might be to use awnlee jawking's hyphenated form with a descriptive dialog tag.

joyR's exclamatory method might work best for an abrupt protestation.

lichtyd

Replies:   Ross at Play
joyR

@awnlee jawking

Actually (ouch!) it is (ouch!) pretty (ouch!) horrific (ouch!), not that (ouch!) my offering (ouch!) was much better (ouch!).


Forgiven... Now be good and I'll kiss it better later... *grin*

Ross at Play

@lichtyd

For a plaintive wail, the best method might be to use awnlee jawking's hyphenated form with a descriptive dialog tag.

But, but, but ... it's not "AJ's hyphenated form".

The third post on this thread reads:

Ross at Play
@lichtyd

To me, 'Mo-om' would seem less amateurish than adding extra letters.

PotomacBob

@lichtyd

Using your example; "Mom..!!" conveys more than "Mommm...,"


If your attempt is to spell it phonetically to copy the way it sounds, why wouldn't you write it "Mah-um" or "Mah-uh-um" or whatever spelling it takes to make it sound like you imagine your character sounding?
Same goes for what I've most frequently read as "uh-huh" but to my (very bad) ears sounds more like "Mmm-hmm."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I agree the extra letters would be inappropriate in the narrative.

However, dialog represents what is said by a character. In the real world, teenagers will draw out the 2nd M of Mom. The extra Ms in the example represent that extended vocalization of the 2nd M.

I agree with that view, but I object on another. Since the extra letters only convey how annoyed the parent/family member is, it's more of a 'cheap trick', when their frustration can be better described in other, more direct (i.e. less passive-aggressive) ways.

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Author and Anal both begin with A. I have to stop hanging out in the Author Hangout.

Yet, many authors appreciate the anal play! 'D

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@joyR


And for the record I don't lump your "But Mu-u-um," in with those who would use MMmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm etc.


I completely agree. Not only is it a clever usage, but it makes it more concise and straightforward without the extra value-judgment associated with the extra letters (the extra letters seem to add 'levels of frustration' here, but adds levels of excitement in sex scenes).

If extra letters are annoying, then surely an extra (and utterly unnecessary) twenty extra are that much more annoying. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Same goes for what I've most frequently read as "uh-huh" but to my (very bad) ears sounds more like "Mmm-hmm."

That's a common problem, and why I generally avoid using either, as they're too easily mistaken for the other.

If a word doesn't clarify or help a sentence, it has no place in it.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

So what DO you use? Have everybody says "yes" sounds uppity to me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

So what DO you use? Have everybody says "yes" sounds uppity to me.

It depends on the context, but generally, rather than expressing a parent (or a brothers') frustration over a plaintive cry, I'll focus on the underlying frustration in a separate setting, where I can deal with the underlying frustrations, rather than the 'breaking point' elements which typically lead to fights. That way, when the fight does occur, the readers already know the causes, and understand the conflicting emotions behind them.

If nothing else, if push comes to shove, I'd probably go with "her plaintive cry" to better convey what was frustrating them, rather than ducking the issue by only dealing with the spark which sets the fire in the relationship.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Since the extra letters only convey how annoyed the parent/family member is, it's more of a 'cheap trick', when their frustration can be better described in other, more direct (i.e. less passive-aggressive) ways.


Those drawn out words to express annoyance is something real people do in the real world, so I object to you calling it a "cheap trick".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

... rather than ducking the issue by only dealing with the spark which sets the fire in the relationship


I don't understand that portion of your comment at all. I don't argue with it; i just don't understand. Why would writing something phonetically be characterized as "only dealing with the spark which sets the fire in the relationship"? What is there about "uh-huh" or "mmm-hmmm" or even a simple "yes" that needs to convey any conflicting emotions?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Those drawn out words to express annoyance is something real people do in the real world, so I object to you calling it a "cheap trick".

I understand that, but the focus on the 'annoying moment' robs the reader of understanding why it's annoying (though, seriously, most parents will inherently understand, and most American TV shows feature it so often it's really a trope, which is where most kids learn it from, IMHO (we broke our kids of that behavior pretty quickly. They'd still roll their eyes, but they knew better than to plead, because we simply never buckled.) So my point is really moot. There are other ways of expressing the point, but if the trope works, it works. I still consider it a cheap trick, but it still works. :(

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

I don't understand that portion of your comment at all. I don't argue with it; i just don't understand. Why would writing something phonetically be characterized as "only dealing with the spark which sets the fire in the relationship"? What is there about "uh-huh" or "mmm-hmmm" or even a simple "yes" that needs to convey any conflicting emotions?

I just object, on principal, to breaking the basic rules of grammar, spelling and word construction to create an annoying sound, when you can just as easily say "plaintive cry", which conveys the same thing without it's both looking (to knowledgeable readers, at least) and sound annoying? By going directly to what the child is doing, you bypass the need to write anything phonetically.

But as I noted before, it works, simply because it's such an overused trope by anyone who's ever watched a Disney movie, that it's instantly recognizable.

And no, I don't object to phonetic spellings, but I just save them for when I'm trying to paint an image of someone as being ethnically different from the other characters and convey how they're perceived. I just don't see readers gaining much from using it to describe EVERY single American child! In that sense, it's exactly like the authors of stroke stories who have every single woman screaming out "Ooooooooohhhhhh Goooooodddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". In short, it's overkill, adopted by those unable to construct a scene without relying on overused cliched tropes.

But once again, I'm the resident old man on his porch, waving his cane and yelling about "Those Dang Whipper Snappers!" so I'll quit my rant, as I'm assuming the discussion is essentially dead anyway.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

and most American TV shows feature it so often it's really a trope, which is where most kids learn it from, IMHO


I can't agree that it was created by TV. I know adults in the real world, who are old enough to have grown up before TV, who will express annoyance/frustration with a drawn out word, usually shit or damn.

Kids are as likely to have learned that trick from their parents as they are to have learned it from TV.

Replies:   Ross at Play  joyR
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

I can't agree that it was created by [American] TV.

In my experience it's quite common among kids who only know a few words of English right across SE Asia.

joyR

@Dominions Son

More likely you are both right.

A parents manner of speech spreads to their kids, a TV personalities manner of speech spreads to all kids.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@joyR

A parents manner of speech spreads to their kids, a TV personalities manner of speech spreads to all kids.


You kind of missed my point. In my experience, there is solid evidence that it predates TV, so the TV trope didn't create it, even if the TV trope contributes to perpetuating it.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Dominions Son

You kind of missed my point. In my experience ...

@JoyR missed my point too. In my experience this "trope" is not even confined to kids who speak English.

Although it pains me to say it, America and Americans are NOT responsible for every atrocity in this world.

Replies:   Dominions Son  madnige
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

is not even confined to kids who speak English.


I thought that was what you meant.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

To be clear, I have agreed with all of your comments in this exchange.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

their frustration can be better described in other, more direct (i.e. less passive-aggressive) ways.


I can't think of a more direct way to show an emotion than by showing that emotion using a single word that has been modified to reflect how the word is used to reflect frustration, anger, joy, or some other emotion.

madnige

@Ross at Play

Although it pains me to say it, America and Americans are NOT responsible for every atrocity in this world.


I would have put it as:

America and Americans are not responsible for every atrocity in this world.

dharmabumme

Sheesh, for some here, it seems Huckleberry Finn never arrived on the literary scene.

db

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