Author Topic: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)  (Read 529 times)

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Offline Dionna

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Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« on: June 11, 2014, 07:26 AM »
I love asides. I think they are like cues that let the reader know my narrator is having an internal grumbling--his words are being spoken under his breath. Yet, I've heard that asides are annoying and should be used sparingly, if at all. (Whoever heard of such a ridiculous thing?) But if I want to show the reader that the narrator is grumbling under his breath, what better way to do it than by using an aside? (Writing rules can be so annoying!)

What say you (on asides, that is)?
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Offline Anne Marie

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 08:47 AM »
It's like any writing "rule":  it's not a rule.

Do it well and it works. Do it poorly? Not so much.  I know that's simplistic, but it's really the answer to this and lots of similar questions.  So much of these stylistic "rules" stem from either personal opinion or a preponderance of people writing poorly.
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Offline Kell

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 10:15 AM »
Those kind of asides can be very charming or annoying, depending on execution. I bet you can do it well, Dionna.

It's like that old rule from Coco Chanel, "Before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and take one thing off." It doesn't work for me and accessories, but it would work for asides. Write your asides, then delete the ones that aren't necessary.
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Offline Artemesia

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 01:35 PM »
 :lol4 Kell I'd end up leaving the house with no pants!

I agree with Kell and  Anne Marie. I like asides when they are done well. Kell's idea of just writing them and then going back and removing the ones that aren't necessary sounds like great advice to me.
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Offline mrh

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 02:50 PM »
I think they add humor when done well and used sparingly, though regularly. (That is, they're not ALL over the place, but they're not just there in, say, one half of the book and not the other.) But too many can bog the reader down. I'm sure betas can give you feedback on that aspect. Or you can gain perspective by letting the book cool and then reading it fresh.
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Offline JulieM

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 03:31 PM »
I love asides too but must make myself always cut back to the essential ones, as people have just advised.
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Offline Dionna

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 06:14 AM »
Great advice! And thanks for your vote of confidence, Kell! (Off to accessorize with one less scarf!)
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Offline KeithM

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 06:29 AM »
I'll chime in to agree with everyone, is that useful?? There's no real reason to censor your asides ahead of time, they probably give a good sense of what the story is. But take the devil's advocate point of view after--what would the story be without any asides, for instance. That can be interesting to look at, even if just for a few pages. It could bring up some interesting thoughts just thinking about why there, why this aside exactly here? But obviously for a certain voice it would be a disaster to never have asides. Some awesome authors use them.
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Offline Debbie Vilardi

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 08:12 AM »
I think it depends on how you use them. Why is the character saying the words out loud instead of thinking them? Are any of the asides overheard? How does this impact that relationship? Do they add humor or voice? Do they show that the narrator isn't as willing a participant in events as the reader would otherwise believe?  If the asides impact the story in some way, I'm fine with them. If not, not so much. But every story is different. Yours might need them.

I did find the parenthesis visually annoying in your post, clutter. I'd rather see a tag: mumbled, grumbled, said under my breath or the like. These are still dialog after all. If you do choose to use parenthesis, fewer will be better. I'm not sure if there is a specific convention for an aside. Go with that if there is.

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014, 08:41 AM »
I know that parentheses are helpful in some cases, and I do use them - but not ever in a manuscript. Years ago, I used them a lot more when I was writing for a family magazine, until I was told they weakened my writing and not to use them unless absolutely necessary. I think the same thing can be true of asides. Can you use them? Yes. But is there another way that will get the same thing across that is not as distracting? If there is, consider it.


In the end, though, you are the one who must decide the format that works for you!
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Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: Regarding Asides (I think they're awesome, don't you?)
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2014, 09:07 AM »
My current MG WIP was full of asides. I found that in my latest out-loud read-through, I cut quite a few of them - mostly cases where they bogged me down and added nothing. Some I replaced with emotional showing. I think in early drafts I clung to my asides while I got to know my character. As I revise, and find my character is revealed in other ways, many asides are unnecessary. I'm more comfortable letting go of them.
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