February 2023's Writer Support Thread

Instead of adverbs (which add extra words and make the sentences longer), how about tone-indicating single words? “I hate her!”, he growled, leaves the say out and indicates (or, in this case, emphasises) tone.

And yeah, if you have a convo between only two people, unless there’s a specific indicator you need to put in there, you just need to indicate who the first speaker is and then you can just alternate between them without further indicators.


That’s the ridiculous thing - at least the people who have yelled at me about it seem to be of the opinion that “I hate her,” he shrugged is bad, but “I hate her.” He shrugged. is not, and to my ESL/ETL brain, I don’t even see what’s the big difference. But maybe that’s just me.


To me, the difference between those two is timing - the former suggests simultaneousness, the latter sequentialness.


Again, this is just my opinion, so take it as you will: using tonal indicators such as “growls” is most useful for indicating the tone of the words in the dialogue differ from the tone of the speaker.

So: “How delightful,” he says. vs. “How delightful,” he growls.

My mentors prefer the first … the latter seems abrupt and jarring to me, personally. I am not sure why they scream at you to use the second.

I’m not an editor, so I do not have an answer here.


I mean, yeah, probably there’s a difference in timing, but I don’t think the issue is that two actions shouldn’t happen simultaneously, that would be just weird.

I’ve pretty much just settled to not even trying to understand, all it gives me is a headache.

Obviously skipping the tags completely is a good solution if it’s between two people, and I gladly do that (although I like to remind who is who every now and then if it’s going for long… I do have a problem with characters refusing to shut up), but it becomes a problem when there’s multiple people (what is a four-way conversation even called? Quadrologue? It’s just “speaking in turns” in Finnish, no matter the number of speakers. Also adverbs flow differently. Also now I’m rambling, I need sleep) although I still tend to skip them in lines where it’s not important which one is speaking.


Some purists would insist on the latter because “shrugged” isn’t a synonym for “said.” You can’t literally shrug words (in the way you can growl, squeal, shriek, etc. them). So from that perspective

“I hate her,” he shrugged.

is a comma splice analogous to

“I hate her,” he did a backflip and danced around the room.

and would read better as two sentences.

“I hate her.” He did a backflip and danced around the room.

Personally, I think “shrugged,” “frowned,” “laughed,” and similar words are used consistently enough as dialogue tags that they work just fine.

@JBento, the style preference for unadorned “said” is a reaction to the past overuse of elaborate dialogue tags, especially in pulpy genre fiction.


To me, at least, “I hate her,” he shrugged conveys a markedly different meaning than “I hate her,” he said., though.


IMO the better way to phrase it would be: He shrugged. “I hate her.”

It’s a clear indicator of who’s speaking, it doesn’t have a comma splice, it doesn’t use a “he said”, and it doesn’t involve any of the growling/exclaimed/cried/etc phrasings.


Now that, I’d pay to see.

I hate writing in English. Too bad that’s where the money is.

Wait what. Then that’s exactly what I should be doing, no two questions about it.

Also if I’m not making any sense anymore, I’m sorry.


A minor celebratory milestone for me - Chapter 1 has passed 10,000 words (excluding code), with an average of ~3,000 per run through. There’s also about 40,000 in the unedited chapters from Nanowrimo, but that’s going to be so heavily edited it’ll be like Theseus’s ship up in here.

Feels really good to hit that 10k. If my guesstimates are anywhere near accurate it’s about 50% of the first chapter, which may well turn into a WIP thread when it’s ready (depending on how desperate I get for feedback).


One of character sheets I’ve written for myself as a base looks grand, takes 1,5 word pages of size 11 and is only 661 words long for a single character. Ugh, wordcounts. At least I have the template: name, short description, correlation to player character’s personality stats, personality, appearance, approval, romance, character’s correlation to game’s themes.

For now romance is mainly personality locks that stop or trigger the romance. We’ll cross this bridge when we’ll get out of prologue!

To join the snippet train, here's a description I wrote last night.

Vega’s in their true form now, all fur and feathers and theropoda limbs, like someone trying to put together an action figure of an arctic troll dragon.


@LiliArch – I love “arctic troll dragon” as a descriptor :revolving_hearts:


I envy you, I just got their mbti type, wrote their backstory and called it a day. :face_with_peeking_eye:


Hey, backstory is a wonderful character base! For the cast, I don’t really focus on their backstory because it doesn’t feel important yet in my book. Personality comes first, then appearance, then… well, whatever comes next.

I don’t really give MBTI types because I don’t get this stuff. Transliteration is also funny - it should be Il’yas for the first LI to reflect the way his name sounds in Russian, but Ilyas just looks better in my eyes. Does Choicescript even support IPA? Should I write in the demo synopsis how the names are pronounced?


Personally I’d appreciate a pronunciation guide somewhere - preferably in the stats menu so I could get to it whenever I forget.
I spent a lot of time getting names wrong in my favourite books as a kid because I’d only ever seen them written down, and once I’d finished the book there was no way to change how the name sounded to me.


Alright! What would be the best way to show the pronunciation? Something like IPA or “it’s pronounced Ihl-yaas”?

1 Like

I’d imagine “Ihl-yaas” is going to be understood by more people. Not sure how well known IPA is, especially for people without backgrounds in more than one language.

Hope that helps!


Counterpoint: people with background in more than one language might understand IPA better. I know I do. “Ihl-yaas” is understandable only if it actually matches how you understand writing and pronounciation.

So to be on the safe side, both? I mean, unless you want to give pronounciation guides that are useful only to certain group of people and confusing to rest.


I would mainly do pronunciation guide to err on safety. I generally get pronunciation fairly instinctively, but I grew up in Russia and I’m used to seeing East Asian and Mongolian names. Since my work would feature both fairly extensively, I should probably use both in order to ensure no one gets confused.

One question, though. Do games on choicescript reflect IPA on phones and PCs well? I remember my Russian writing turning into garbled mess of symbols when I’ve tried feeding it to a spell checker. It turned out it didn’t really work with cyrillics.