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tko
06-12-2011, 01:08 AM
My character tends to think in questions when he's puzzling things out.

How had the bad guys gotten here?
Was the woman a relative?
What had happened to the two men who'd vanished?

Is this bad? Like too many exclamation points? Is it a weak habit on my part? What do you think? http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon12.gif (tongue firmly in cheek.)

In many cases I could rewrite as statements.

The bad guys must have used a horse to get here.
He didn't know if the women was a relative.
He wasn't sure where the two men had gone.

Questions can be open ended, a bit more personal, more intimate, more like interior dialog. But I wonder if too many would bother a reader.

I like open ended questions, but don't see other authors using this style. Maybe it's how I think? http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon12.gif

Talk me out of using so many question marks!

Guardian
06-12-2011, 01:11 AM
Your character could also say, "I wonder if..." and that would make a statement instead of a question.

Kelsey
06-12-2011, 01:17 AM
I was going through some early pages of my current WiP, and noticed the same thing. I've never had a character do that before. I kept some of them, but changed others to read like statements. I also made sure that I wasn't asking questions to take the easy way out (as in, as a question to make something occur to the reader, when I should have brought it up another way). I'll see how they read when I go back through them during edits.

dangerousbill
06-12-2011, 01:19 AM
Is this bad? Like too many exclamation points? Is it a weak habit on my part? What do you think?


It's style. To me, one way is as good as another. Three questions in a row are just an indication of thought processes at work. (Five or six might be pushing a reader's retention.)

Interrogatives and bangs are entirely different. You rarely need a bang, only on rare occasions when there is no better way to transmit emphasis or surprise. But an interrogative is compulsory when a sentence is phrased as a question.

quicklime
06-12-2011, 01:32 AM
tko,

if it works for the guy's style, it is fine. If it does not, and distracts the reader, it is not. Its that simple.

I realize that doesn't tell you how to tell if it is an issue in YOUR work, that's a lot harder. I would highly, highly recommend you go to a used bookstore and track down Fireflies by Piers Anthony and force yourself to read at least half the book so you have a good, thorough understanding of why it looks so bad when it does NOT work.

This is not a joke, I consider that an excellent assignment for your question at hand.

atombaby
06-13-2011, 01:39 AM
I've found myself doing this recently as a way to get rid of passive sentences. In a way, I think it's more personal and opens up the character more by writing it out this way, rather than just "stating facts" and leaving it at that. Too many questions in a row can seem rather forced, and sometimes you have to trust the reader to come up with these questions on their own. Just leave in the questions that serve purpose and perhaps even create some foreshadowing.

Maryn
06-13-2011, 02:05 AM
There's nothing wrong with sentences like:

How had the bad guys gotten here?
Was the woman a relative?
What had happened to the two men who'd vanished?

However, a string of them can be, I don't know, pushy and demanding of attention? If your narrating character is trying to puzzle something out, I suspect as a reader I'd grow impatient with a whole slew of these questions.

I'm not in favor of adding phrasing like She wondered before the question posed, since that's direct filtering which puts the reader one step removed. But you can break it up by turning all or some into statements:

The bad guys had gotten here somehow.
Maybe the woman was a relative.
Something had happened; the two men vanished.

So if this is in keeping with the narrative voice, throw some variety in there.

Maryn, hoping this helps

Fallen
06-13-2011, 02:05 AM
I also made sure that I wasn't asking questions to take the easy way out (as in, as a question to make something occur to the reader, when I should have brought it up another way).

Kelsey sez it there, but I think you also say it yourself, hun: you're putting your own fingerprint on the text (running of questions as you may do in real life). It's not such a bad thing, I think the majority of us run off on interrogatives when we're under pressure. But like a mum losing patience with having her four-year-old constantly pull at her strings and say 'mommy, is this, why's that, how can, can I, will you...?', your reader will lose patience too, especially if it's happening to your character all the time.