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MrQwerty
06-12-2004, 02:06 PM
How should I use Parenthetical? Is it used to highlight an action a character does when they're talking? Or is it used to show an emotion when a character is talking...? Or is it both?

I'm confused...

Geevie
06-12-2004, 02:25 PM
Use a parenthetical (or wrylie) only when information is too limited for its own action line. It can be action or it can be emotion, just be cautious that you're providing necessary information.

For instance:

Joe
(angry) OR (shouting)
I told you if you crossed me again I was going to kill you!

We get the idea he's angry or shouting by the exclamation mark.

If your scene were this:

Joe
(calm) OR (whispering)
I told you if you crossed me again I was going to kill you.

Then you're providing information we wouldn't have had otherwise.

Postal Pictures
06-12-2004, 02:28 PM
Personally, and I don't know how kosher this is to everyone else, I try to use parenthetical within character dialogue only when I can't describe it with a regular action.

You probably SHOULDN'T do something like:

MR. QWERTY
(Walks over to the window)
It's hot today, let's crack one of these puppies open.

The correct form would be:

Mr. Qwerty walks over the window.

MR. QWERTY
It's hot today, let's crack one of these puppies open.

To use parentheticals correctly, I'd use them for lines of dialogue that would otherwise confuse the reader if they don't know the information. Like,

MR. QWERTY
(Sarcastically)
Yeah, it's real hot out today.

Without that 'sarcastically' parenthetical we might not pick up on the writer's intentions and just think it actually is hot and not a joke type of line.

Hope this sort of makes some kind of sense.

MrQwerty
06-12-2004, 05:27 PM
Ah, thanks guys.

Another thing, which is best/propper:

MR. QWERTY
It's hot today, let's crack one of these puppies open.
(takes bottle openner, opens bottle)
I'm real thirsty.

Mr. Qwerty drinks.

OR

MR. QWERTY
It's hot today, let's crack one of these puppies open.

He takes the bottle openner from the table and snaps the bottle of booze open in one clean action.

MR. QWERTY (CONT'D)
I'm real thirsty.

Mr. Qwerty drinks.

Deus Ex Machine
06-12-2004, 05:39 PM
It's a matter of choice. I don't like to see a wrylie that can't be processed at a glance. If the action is too complex to sum in it one or two words I give it a separate action line.

My 2 cents.

Geevie
06-12-2004, 07:17 PM
I wouldn't use a wrylie for more than a couple of words.

Your example really wouldn't need a wrylie at all.


MrQwerty grabs an icey longneck from the barrel.

MrQwerty
Where the hell am I? The surface of the sun?

He pops the top and guzzles the entire bottle.

Postal Pictures
06-12-2004, 09:34 PM
I'd prefer:

MR. QWERTY
It's hot today, let's crack one of these puppies open.

He takes the bottle openner from the table and snaps the bottle of booze open in one clean action.

MR. QWERTY (CONT'D)
I'm real thirsty.

TwoBrad Bradley
06-12-2004, 09:41 PM
A wrylie is one type of parenthetical. It is directing the actor on HOW to say the line - as in: sarcastically, angrily, calmly.

"(opens bottle)" is a parenthetical, but it is not a wrylie.

I suggest you avoid the use wrylies. Let the tone of your story be the clue as to how to say the line. If you think you need a wrylie for the sake of clarity then there is probably something else wrong with the story.

As for "action" parentheticals, I also suggest that you avoid them. Make them full action lines - no matter how short. Action is action and dialogue is dialogue.

Geevie
06-12-2004, 10:10 PM
If you think you need a wrylie for the sake of clarity then there is probably something else wrong with the story.

I disagree with this statement.

Many professional writers use wrylies - the key is they understand its appropriate use. If you're giving information that wouldn't otherwise be known, that is an appropriate use.

The reason new writers are urged not to use it is because they overdirect the characters or the scene with useless or unnecessary information.

In your example number one, it's too much information provided within the parenthetical - that deserves its own action line.

If you use a wrylie to direct the actor, make very certain it is something that adds to the scene a necessary element. For instance if the tone of voice is different than the scene would suggest.

For instance it might look something like this:

CLAIRE
Were you really disgusted by what I did with my lipstick?

BENDER
(nods)
No.

E J Pennypacker
06-13-2004, 12:11 PM
Most of the time a parenthetical is used when informing an actor/tress how to deliver their line emotionally.

Most of the time they simply don't appear.

Newbie scribes tend to overuse them.

Pros, under use them.

But another time you can use them for is planting info on a short moverment for an actor - that would otherwise slow down the script pace, if given its own line or sentence in description.

I've read a script that must've had not one parenthetical. And I understood the intent of dialogue 100%.

EJ

NoozYooz
06-15-2004, 05:58 PM
I used a wrylie in a scene where a cop in a car was talking to both the driver and into the police radio.

COP
(into radio)
They're heading for Trafalgar.
(to driver)
Get on the bus lane!

-- Nooz

dpaterso
06-16-2004, 01:27 AM
For what it's worth Geevie's logic and examples get my vote... most especially the avoidance of on-the-nose dialogue! That's more important than overuse of wrylies, IMHO.

(into radio) and other clarity directions aren't wrylies.

-Derek
-----------------------One of the many reasons you should never listen to dpat ~PipeWriter

StRogue
06-16-2004, 08:52 AM
Mr - As a new writer you want to start out with a BANG. One
way to accomplish a "clean" page is to avoid parathenticals.

I don't use them at all. I don't need them to tell the story.

Charli