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Old 06-12-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
Steven Lake
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Describing horse commands

Okay, I've got a bit of a question. In the story I'm working on I have a point where the characters have to ride on horses. I know the commands for go, stop, faster, slower, left, right, etc. However, some of the commands that I would use aren't actually words. They're more clicks and grunts and other noises that the horse understands and responds to. How would one best describe those in a bit of dialog?

For example, the "forward" command I most regularly use to make a horse go is two cheek clicks followed by "hup, hup", although, depending on the horse, sometimes the two clicks are enough, and the hup-hup is sort of an extra emphasis that's not needed. Hup-hup with me is usually reserved for when the animal is hesitant about going. Kind of like saying, "It's okay to go." So if I was to use that standard "go" command in dialog, how best would I do that given that it's technically non-verbal?

I mean, I *could* just leave it as part of the narration, but I want to use it as part of the dialog if possible.
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Old 06-13-2017, 04:13 AM   #2
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It's hard to tell what might be best without knowing more of the context - how much "conversation" is going to be directed to the horse. In a lot of situations it simply wouldn't be necessary to include it at all, but it's also possible to envisage a scene in which the horse(s) are more directly involved in how the scene unfolds.

I don't have any problem with "hup, hup" in dialogue - although I don't know how you might express some of the other non-verbals. The first time you might explain whatever commands you decide to use, but after that I think it should be fine.

I haven't been on a horse since I was a kid, so about the only thing I'd be saying if I found myself on one now would be, "Get me down from here," or maybe just, "Help!"
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:49 AM   #3
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:29 AM   #4
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Glad I wasn't the only one that thought that.
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #5
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Whatever you do, please don't give us "sound effects" like Modesset does in his "Recluse" series. Great series, but the sound effects annoy me considerably!
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Old 06-13-2017, 03:37 PM   #6
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Whatever you do, please don't give us "sound effects" like Modesset does in his "Recluse" series. Great series, but the sound effects annoy me considerably!
I have the solution for horse commands. Full cast audiobooks with sound effects and music. That would be great.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:16 PM   #7
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It's hard to tell what might be best without knowing more of the context - how much "conversation" is going to be directed to the horse. In a lot of situations it simply wouldn't be necessary to include it at all, but it's also possible to envisage a scene in which the horse(s) are more directly involved in how the scene unfolds.

I don't have any problem with "hup, hup" in dialogue - although I don't know how you might express some of the other non-verbals. The first time you might explain whatever commands you decide to use, but after that I think it should be fine.

I haven't been on a horse since I was a kid, so about the only thing I'd be saying if I found myself on one now would be, "Get me down from here," or maybe just, "Help!"
lol, yeah, that's kinda what my problem has been. Namely figuring out how to translate non-verbals into a dialog context. In narrative context they're pretty easy to express, but the trick is putting them into a dialog scenario. Although, I do admit the grand total of conversation with the horse amounts to just the commands. So I've actually been questioning if I really need to put them in as dialog.
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Just ask Mister Ed for a description!


Of course! Of course! :P
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Glad I wasn't the only one that thought that.

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Whatever you do, please don't give us "sound effects" like Modesset does in his "Recluse" series. Great series, but the sound effects annoy me considerably!
Yeah, I hate that myself in novels and avoid it like the plague in my own. However, there are those rare times, such as in this case, that they seem to give more authenticity and realism to the scene than just saying, "He commanded the horse forward" or something dull like that. o_0
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I have the solution for horse commands. Full cast audiobooks with sound effects and music. That would be great.
Actually, I'd LOVE to do something like that. My problem is I'm always broke. So unless someone did something like that for me pro-bono, eh, not gonna happen. Although it would be cool if it did happen.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:39 PM   #8
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He clicked his tongue/cheek.
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:39 AM   #9
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lol, yeah, that's kinda what my problem has been. Namely figuring out how to translate non-verbals into a dialog context. In narrative context they're pretty easy to express, but the trick is putting them into a dialog scenario. Although, I do admit the grand total of conversation with the horse amounts to just the commands. So I've actually been questioning if I really need to put them in as dialog.
If they really aren't actually needed (to achieve the effect you wanted to create) then then I would avoid them. Allowing the occasional easy/obvious ones through may be enough, with support from relevant narrative inclusions, to do what you need without it becoming an unwanted distraction.
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Old 06-14-2017, 05:00 AM   #10
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Yeah, I hate that myself in novels and avoid it like the plague in my own. However, there are those rare times, such as in this case, that they seem to give more authenticity and realism to the scene than just saying, "He commanded the horse forward" or something dull like that. o_0
In case anyone doesn't understand what I mean by the "sound effects" in Modessit's books:

Quote:
“So…you really aren’t going to give in.” The big bandit shrugs, half-turns. “Well, it was worth a try.”

Whhsttttt…

The heavy man swings through the turn and thrusts toward Kadara.
Quote:
With all the time it takes him, and the stubbornness of the mounts, the stew is ready when he stumbles back into the way station. Brede sits on one end of the stone bench.

…tu…whuuuu…

Dorrin jerks his head up.

“Just an owl,” Brede says quietly. “They hunt earlier here in the cold weather, I think. It’s probably too cold for the rodents late at night.”
Quote:
Dorrin extends his senses toward the dog, feeling the infection and the age within the body.

…hhhhnnnn…thump… The dog’s tail flicks against the plank floor.

His hands, as gently as he knows how, scratch the shaggy brown coat between her ears, even as he tries to help the ailing animal. Certainly, a little order cannot hurt.

…slurrppp… A damp tongue runs across his wrist.

“Easy, lady, easy…”

…thump…thump…

Dorrin scratches the dog’s head again before standing up. “You’ll feel better in a while, lady,” he says quietly, bending and patting her head.
... and so on on virtually every page .
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Old 06-14-2017, 05:24 AM   #11
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'Ka-Pow !' over the the top of the head should end the sound effects, don't you think? *


* = In no way am I advocating cruelty to animals. However, I do advocate extreme cruelty to authors who insist on using sound effects.

'Whoa, there, big fella!'


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Old 06-14-2017, 05:26 AM   #12
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In case anyone doesn't understand what I mean by the "sound effects" in Modessit's books:







... and so on on virtually every page .
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
'Ka-Pow !' over the the top of the head should end the sound effects, don't you think? *


* = In no way am I advocating cruelty to animals. However, I do advocate extreme cruelty to authors who insist on using sound effects.

'Whoa, there, big fella!'


I was hoping you meant the author.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:59 AM   #14
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Hey Steven,
You might want to avoid the sounds and just be straight forward with the commands because I don't think all horses are trained exactly the same with tongue clicks and stuff.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:36 PM   #15
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In case anyone doesn't understand what I mean by the "sound effects" in Modessit's books:... and so on on virtually every page .
*groan* Wow, even without the sound effects his writing leaves a lot to be desired. Oy.

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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
'Ka-Pow !' over the the top of the head should end the sound effects, don't you think? *

* = In no way am I advocating cruelty to animals. However, I do advocate extreme cruelty to authors who insist on using sound effects.

'Whoa, there, big fella!'


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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
Hey Steven,
You might want to avoid the sounds and just be straight forward with the commands because I don't think all horses are trained exactly the same with tongue clicks and stuff.
Yeah, that's what I eventually opted for. It didn't give me the same effect as I wanted, but I decided it'd be the easier way out for now. lol.
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