Thanks for Summarizing the News, George
Now I can turn it off.
Now I can turn it off.
Headline in Southeast Asia (Thailand) Newspaper
I read a great article from an editor about how to feel about editing. It was good. She used “literally,” which isn’t a crime, and she used it correctly but it usually falls into my expendable word pile. And she “essentially” says to ignore what you don’t want to hear. I agree, to an extent. That article is from Literary Architect
I also watched a Lifetime movie. Talk about fondue…I digress.
What I want to know is, with all the rules and formulas out there, what is “right”? Said only? The other day I read “said is dead”. Unlike the heart of Rock n Roll I believe it. Check this out – randomly Googled scene builders and breakers dialogue tags –
articulated ejaculated narrated phonated recounted related sounded told uttered verbalized vocalized voiced accounted alleged assumed conjectured considered deemed estimated gossiped held reckoned regarded reported rumored supposed thought aloud announced communicated expressed mentioned equivocated sung sang spoke pronounced broadcast / ed disclosed divulged noted prevaricate / ed asseverate / ed (Thank you, Elmore Leonard) acknowledged argued claimed came back defended disputed mewled explained parried pleaded rebutted refuted rejoined remarked retorted refused returned sassed barked squealed screamed shouted retaliated enunciated pronounced mouthed off professed swore exclaimed sighed whispered chimed in stated spat drooled murmured
If you suffer from stilted dialogue, or fear dialogue you can write the most trite shit ever uttered, add one of those evocative tags and find an adverb to support it. Or –
Rodney whipped a nickel plated nine out of his shoulder holster, and with no mercy in his eyes he leveled it at Martin’s nose. “You say ‘show don’t tell’ one more time, Imma kill you, motherfucker.”
He professed, sternly.
In Revising Prose rhetorician Richard Lanham called for “translating the Official Style into plain English.” Simplified it comes down to finding the epidemic of “catalog like monotony” of multiple prepositional phrases strung together without a direct verb. Glued together with the weakest verb we have, “is.” He asserts that it has become criminal to state a situation for what it is without a lot of flowery gobbledygook that goes nowhere. He repeatedly, from students to published peers, finds ways to insert an active verb into a string of “of” and turn 35 words into 11. “Noun centeredness…generates most of our present day prose sludge.” He wrote this in the 70s.
Why do I post this? I have been bombarded of late with mystics and gnomes and fairies and wise travelers from the stars and desert islands who all speak like a combination of the Old Testament and any B grade 1940’s pirate flick. Attacked by dialogue stiffer than an Oxford cloth shirt fresh from the cleaners. By stories full of travelogue scene setting while a character takes a walk and internalizes the last scene just to be sure we, as readers, got it. Tell and ‘splain with the rusty light pole at the corner of 47th and Crishaven and Tony’s deli where they don’t know my name. Full of “is” and “of” and a prayer stringing it all together like a redneck’s Christmas lights.
Rant over. The book, should any of you who write care, is Revising Prose by Richard Lanham. The man can “Break it dowwwwwn.” Word by useless word. Thus it’s essentially like just an awesomeness casserole of basically cool word whatevers for ye.
Senator Ted Cruz – The whole world’s on fire!
Three-year old-girl – The world is on fire?!
Senator Cruz – YES! Your world is on fire. But you know what? Your mommy’s here, and everyone’s here to make sure the world you grow up in is even better.
From a campaign stop in Barrington, New Hampshire – The Header slogan is from a widespread Texas bumper sticker. Canada can have him back anytime…
Anybody remember 1972? Watergate? Nixon?
Alice was spot on then, and here we go round in circles.
(You have to wait for the Hilary/Trump fight at the end)
The Onion, if you are unfamiliar, is a “fake news” outlet that published, until recently, what seemed to be outlandish, profane and ridiculous “news” stories. Now? Their work pales in comparison to reality…
Enter with caution.
“I’ve only scratched the iceberg.” – Andre Agassi on reaching his talent ceiling, 1990
Unless he meant his future wife Brooke Shields, who should be entitled to her say in this as well. Or he really did get into a shred with a green, leafy vegetable.