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Old 9th December 2011, 01:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Graham View Post
Put simply, the wall of text would look less daunting if you set about it with a few commas, apostrophes and dashes.
This goes back to the 'should reading be easy' line, I think. I don't want it to look less daunting.

I live in a part of Edinburgh where it is very likely that, when wandering around the streets, you will be accosted by someone who talks not very much differently from the wall of text above (albeit with a different twang and perhaps slightly less intelligibly). Such an encounter is daunting and, sometimes, a bit scary.

Last edited by odangutan; 9th December 2011 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 9th December 2011, 01:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

I don't doubt it. But your drug-addled Reekie scroat is still using punctuation. He might not know it, but every little gap and inflection which he unconsciously applies to his speech is represented by a punctuation mark in written text.

As you have rendered your potter's speech into writing, you therefore need to reflect his speech patterns with punctuation - otherwise it risks coming alive again (through the act of reading) as a flat, emotionless monotone.

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Peter
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Old 9th December 2011, 02:28 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

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Originally Posted by odangutan View Post
This goes back to the 'should reading be easy' line, I think. I don't want it to look less daunting.

I live in a part of Edinburgh where it is very likely that, when wandering around the streets, you will be accosted by someone who talks not very much differently from the wall of text above (albeit with a different twang and perhaps slightly less intelligibly). Such an encounter is daunting and, sometimes, a bit scary.
As I mentioned only the other day in a post on the Chrons, spoken language isn't at all like written language. Unless one is making a point, we don't, when we speak, separate out the words. We do, however, punctuate () our speech with pauses added for effect and to emphasise the meaning of what we're saying.

So to take your own words, I'd probably say them like this**:
Quote:
IlivinəpartəvEdinbərəwhereitisverylikelythat <short pause> whenwanderingaroundthestreets <short pause> youwillbeaccostedbysomeonewhotalksnotverymuchdiffe rentlyfromthewalloftextabove <short pause> albeitwitha different-twang <short pause> andperhapsslightlylessintelligibly <full pause> Suchən encounter <micro pause> isdauntingand <short pause> sometimes <short pause> a bit scary.
The lesson I draw is that the punctuation (albeit a slightly more sophisticated version than my variable pauses) is rather more important than separating out the words. We almost always do the latter, so why not the former?


** - Note that spaces in this wall of characters, other than those surrounding the pauses, have been inserted by the forum software (which doesn't like long strings of non-space characters).
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Old 9th December 2011, 02:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

Also, just to say I would cross the street to avoid such an unpleasant encounter; similarly I'd put the book down, too.
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Old 9th December 2011, 02:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

As an exercise, I tried to re-write the text with punctuation. I didn't like it. It gives the character a greater sense of coherence than I want them to have (as this is meant to represent thought, not speech). However...

I do have a piece which is a similar character (or possibly the same character, somewhat earlier) actually talking out loud to another person. I feel that the punctuation works here;

-------------------------------------------------------

What's that ye were sayin', young feller? I was thinkin' that I 'eard ye say something about the Sleepin' Cliffs, eh? Plannin'? Plannin' a what? A nexpedishun? Wassat? Y'goin' out there? Ye don' wanna go out there, young 'un. Lissen… lissen t'me! I been out there. Yeah, yeah… I been out there a good few times. Long ago, now, but I still been and I'm tellin' ye that ye don' wanna go out there on no nexpedishun!

Drinkin'?! Sure I been drinkin'! Ye'd be drinkin' too if y'seen what I seen out on them cliffs. Wretched things…wretched. Ain't nothing for no human eyes to see… Once ye get past the Slums then it ain't no land o' man no more. Beasts is all there is. Beasts! An' worse'n beasts…

Aye! Ye might well laugh! Daft ol' coot livin' in the gutter I be but I gots more sense than any o' ye an' I reckons that I'll live a sight longer'n ye if'n ye go on this nexpedishun.

Yer bones'll be bleachin' in the sun afore I'm dead, boy, I tell you that straight off. Bleachin' inna sun!
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Old 9th December 2011, 03:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

This I have no problem with. I read as much drama as I do stories and I could use this and hear the voice, what you wanted to say. I couldn't that with the first extract. If you look at it as if you are setting a scene, the director/reader needs to be able to hear/see it, just as an actor needs enough to know where the inflections go; what the writer wanted.
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Old 9th December 2011, 05:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: The Beggar

I agree the spoken version is much more approachable. I appreciate the point about challenging the reader, but even readers who might appreciate being challenged once they're invested in a book might be put off if they encounter the same challenge in the first few pages.
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