Christopher Moore Home Page

The bulletin board is currently closed to new posts. Instead, why not check out Chris' Twitter and Facebook pages?


bbs.chrismoore.com Forum Index -> So You Wanna Be a Writer?

This isn't a rhetorical question

  Author    Thread This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
Dr. Schadenfreude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 9
This isn't a rhetorical question  Reply with quote  

Do you say 'said' or 'asked' after a rhetorical question (from which you expect no response)? I assume that since it's a question, then it should be asked. But, since an answer isn't actually expected, it really is a statement.

Example from Chris:

Chapter 25, Lamb:
"Joshua here might be the Messiah."
"Might be?" I said.


My examples are:

"I've done some bad things in my life," he said.
"Shit, who hasn't?" I asked.

"I've done a lot of bad things in my life," he said.
"Shit, who hasn't?" I said.

A man hanging from a cliff, a woman comes up to him.
"You going to hang around here all day?" she asked.

"Do you enjoy being stupid?" he says.
"Do you enjoy being stupid?" he asks.

Should it be asked or said? The narrator doesn't really expect an answer, so ... is it an actual question? A rhetorical question is a statement posed as a question, so it's really a statement.

Does it all rely on the aggressiveness of the speaker or the situation, or is there a hard rule to follow? I'm more concerned with the sound of the sentence and getting the meaning across, but if I'm breaking a rule, I'd like to know about it.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:56 am   View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
y



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 3858
 Reply with quote  

Does it have to be asked or said? How about any of these:

"I've done some bad things in my life," he said.
"Shit, who hasn't?" I mumbled.

"I've done a lot of bad things in my life," he said.
"Shit, who hasn't?" I quipped.

A man hanging from a cliff, a woman comes up to him.
"You going to hang around here all day?" she shouted.

"Do you enjoy being stupid?" he says.
"Do you enjoy being stupid?" he snapped.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:35 am   View user's profile Send private message
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

You can always use said, even if it's a question. I find that using asked will break the rhythm sometimes, but I couldn't tell you why, since it has the same number of syllables.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:08 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Y -- I write about the "said" vs. other attributive verbs in another section of this forum. Short answer, avoid other descriptions unless absolutely needed. They are the mark of bad writing. Besides, thinking up creative ways to say said is not a good way to spend your time.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:11 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
y



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 3858
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Y -- I write about the "said" vs. other attributive verbs in another section of this forum. Short answer, avoid other descriptions unless absolutely needed. They are the mark of bad writing. Besides, thinking up creative ways to say said is not a good way to spend your time.
yeah, yeah, yeah. That's why you're a famous author and I'm not...yet anyway. And, yes, it is a very good way to spend my time especially when avoiding doing actual work and between explaining why I'm still sitting naked on a pile of your books, furiously pounding away at my keyboard.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:42 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Dr. Schadenfreude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 9
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
You can always use said, even if it's a question. I find that using asked will break the rhythm sometimes, but I couldn't tell you why, since it has the same number of syllables.


Ok. Good. I was just checking, since I couldn't find an answer on the internet or in the MLA or anything. Said (or in my case, 'say') just fits the rhythm better. Thanks.

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:36 pm   View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
 Reply with quote  

Why bother with a said-ism at all? In that kind of dialog, the words spoken are sufficient.

"Yeah, right."

Post Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:26 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

I've never really given much thought to attributives. I probably should, but it just seems easier to write said if I have to write anything at all. I'll use asked without batting an eye and won't feel guilty about it for a second, though. My favorite attributive I've ever used is in my book:

"Hmmm," I hmmmed.

Right, wrong? I don't care. I like it.
_________________
"We went together like Kennedys and head wounds."--Lenny Kapowski

Post Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:01 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dr. Schadenfreude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 9
 Reply with quote  

Boota wrote:

"Hmmm," I hmmmed.


That's great. I can go with a tag like that.

But, since tags are mostly invisible, it really jars a person out of the story if they're too 'adverby' or just too awkward.

The hmmmmed one would kick me out of the story, but it's the kind of sentence I would put the book down because I would be laughing, not because I didn't like it. It's pretty hilarious.

Post Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

I could see where it could jar you out of a story, but for the style of narration in this particular book it works.

I also try to avoid overusing adverbs, but once again, I'll do it if it feels right. If I can come up with a nice smart ass way to use one then I'm definitely on it. Smile
_________________
"We went together like Kennedys and head wounds."--Lenny Kapowski

Post Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:21 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jaandlu



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 4578
Location: Location, location, location.
 Reply with quote  

Boota wrote:

"Hmmm," I hmmmed.



I have to read your book. We can get it where?
_________________
I honestly never thought I would live this long. Now I don't know what to do with myself.

Post Sat Jun 25, 2005 3:39 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

I sent you a PM about it jaandlu.
_________________
"We went together like Kennedys and head wounds."--Lenny Kapowski

Post Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:44 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jaandlu



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 4578
Location: Location, location, location.
 Reply with quote  

Thanks Boota!
_________________
I honestly never thought I would live this long. Now I don't know what to do with myself.

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:28 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
You can always use said, even if it's a question. I find that using asked will break the rhythm sometimes, but I couldn't tell you why, since it has the same number of syllables.


It looks odd on the page sometimes- though I think its the redundancy, once you've placed the question mark in the appropriate place, using "asked" can be like beating the reader over the head with it...

but I do use it sometimes...

Post Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:26 am   View user's profile Send private message
  Display posts from previous:      
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.

Jump to:  


Last Thread | Next Thread  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 
Templates created by Vereor and Ken