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February 8, 2013
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Using caps

:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Characters can shout, and characters can shout really loudly. Do you think the use of caps is sometimes appropriate to show someone is shouting really, really hard?
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've seen the example in your work. In your work it works, because you used it sparingly (only once) in a situation that justifies it and you've established the emotional baseline before. The readers know that he screamed and raged before, so this one all caps tells them how much stronger and louder his shouting is in this case. It works well as a way to stress how this shouting varies from previous moments of shouting.
The problem with other writing is that the authors often establish all-caps as their baseline and it makes it look like the characters are hyperactive like the old hyporactive ferret girl or the youtuber Fred. It makes it look like his shouting all the time. And you know what they say - if you stress everything (with all caps or bold font) then you aren't stressing anything. Hyperactive people are annoying because their tone of voice suggests justified excitement even before they say what they want to say. After they say it it becomes clear that the payoff did not justify the excitement... and every other of their messages follow the same pattern. It's basically a callous and continuous abuse of human attention-directing mechanisms.

PS. Terry Patchett's death speaks in allcaps. Always. But it has been established that it is his normal, hollow voice. A voice that you can hear in the brain without it going through your ears. Allcapsing is here basically a way to differentiate it and remind the reader in what voice to read his lines (yes, Death is a HE in Pratchett's world).
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:iconkayanne21:
kayanne21 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Depends entirely on the book, I think.
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:icondr-vergissmeinnicht:
Dr-Vergissmeinnicht Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yelling is often times followed with an exclamation point. If you write well enough, readers will be able to feel how angry the characters are by their dialogue as well as by their actions.

Personally, I think Caps are for immature arguments in chatrooms and for childish role-play.
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:iconyourdoom243:
yourdoom243 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional Writer
Earl Gray Tea. Hot. Engage!

DISENGAGE! SHIT!! ANTI-GRAVITY DISENGAGE!!!

If the book could be considered in the genre of comedy than I think its okay. But that's personal preference.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Echoing some previous comments, I've not seen the particular technique used much in published work.  More often, I've seen exclamation marks and "s/he yelled" used sparingly.
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:iconsonamyfan362:
SonAmyFan362 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Writer
Instead of trying to use all caps, describe your character's rage or intense emotion, instead. Then, that way, it won't be so intimidating for someone to read what the character is shouting.
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Writer
I personally hate characters speaking in ALL CAPS. There are plenty of other ways of getting across that a character is speaking loudly, yelling, etc. It comes off as very amateur and highly unprofessional. The only time I like to see all caps in writing is when used for company names, abbreviations, etc. where it is grammatically correct to have them capitalized. Aside from that, however, it makes me cringe and turns me away from pieces.
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:iconbeccajs:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013   Writer
I'm not really a fan of people doing things for the sake of doing things to look aesthetically like someone is shouting. The words you chose and the way you write it should indicate the stress alone.

Rowling and Pratchett have very good grasps of language choice which is why the examples work- if you can say the same about your own work then go for it, but use sparingly.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Student Writer
Personally, I don't like it. I think it looks unprofessional. :shrug:
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student Writer
PERSONALLY, I HAVE NO QUALMS USING CAPS FOR CHARACTERS WHO ARE HILARIOUSLY LOUD!

Being serious, ~Hurricaneclaw is really on to something about genre. I almost never have a problem with caps lock shouting in comedy, provided it's not used excessively. I almost never like caps lock shouting in serious work, even if it's used just once or twice.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
There's the now-famous Harry Potter example--'NOT MY DAUGHTER' etc etc. Which I found narmy but many fans seemed to find emotionally poignant.

On the other hand, it's possible that relatively younger readers would relate caps-usage with ALL CAPS INTERNET POSTS I FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THINGS AND THINK THAT 'SHOUTING' WILL STOP PEOPLE FROM ARGUING WITH ME. That kind of thing.

In general I don't like reading caps-as-shouting in books. It seems cheap. It seems like bad writing, that the author can't convey shouting without a font change.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

what scene is this? I can't remember.

although I do remember the year we called PMS Potteritis in honor of book 5. shit was way over the top.


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:iconsaartha:
saartha Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Big battle in the final book, Molly Weasley vs Bellatrix, just after Bellatrix tries to kill Ginny. Except now I'm wondering if it was all in caps, or just the word bitch? I thought it all was, but someone with the book will have to check for us.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Seems to be all caps (see Becca's response to me). Ah, I didn't recognise it without the 'bitch' part.
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm pretty sure it was just the word "bitch" in all caps. Haha, as if emphasizing "look! The first 'curse' word!" :lol:
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:iconbeccajs:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013   Writer
How do you not know this? :stare:

NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH

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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I got it as soon as I saw it with the last two words :B
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:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student General Artist
I agree with you about the Harry Potter example! I have so many mixed feelings about that series. Like a lot of people found that scene shocking (it's also the only swear word in the entire series) but I didn't think it was as provocative as all that.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student Writer
Getting a bit off topic, but I think the one-off swearing was far more effective than the caps. Not provocative exactly, but it definitely stands out.
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:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student General Artist
I agree.
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:iconhurricaneclaw:
Hurricaneclaw Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd only use it in non-published stuff that you're posting on the interwebs or something. And even then, only in certain genres, like comedy or crack. :P It wouldn't do well in a tragedy or drama, I don't think.
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:iconytcyberpunk:
YTcyberpunk Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, but use it sparingly. If you're writing an adventure story, characters will be yelling and shouting a lot. So only use capps if the yelling is supposed to really affect the reader emotionally. Like, if you're "up close" to the character, and she's screaming at the top of her lungs at someone who's inches away from her. (As opposed to yelling across a ship or a mountain to someone.)
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Using proximity as a criteria is actually an interesting take.
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:iconytcyberpunk:
YTcyberpunk Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I never actually thought of it before. But when I write characters shouting, I usually don't use caps unless he or she is right in your face, screaming in your ear.
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:iconjeffandwilbur:
JeffandWilbur Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   Writer
Maybe it's just my narrow-minded opinion, but I TEND TO THINK OF USING CAPS AS VERY IMMATURE. When I convey shouting, a simple exclamation mark and italics will do just fine.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
+1

In terms of published books, I only see it in self-published ones, that I can recall.
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:iconslytherinsheiress:
SlytherinsHeiress Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Writer
The only time I've seen it done was in a V.C. Andrews book many, many moons ago. I personally wouldn't use it, as I think there are more effective ways to indicate someone is hollering other than using all caps. :)
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:icontrampire:
Trampire Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Of course. Or you could mention that they're shouting!!
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013   Writer
this
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:icondj0hybrid:
DJ0Hybrid Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
The only time I could think of to justify the use of all caps is when the "loudness" of an individual's voice changes drastically to the point of not even being an outside voice very quickly.

i.e. People protesting or cheering at a stadium: use an exclamation point at most, but no caps lock.
Politician yelling like this one (note: language and this isn't as good as the one I wanted): [link] : yes, but sparringly. When the guys voice goes up is at the time for all caps. After that, exclamation point as like the previous example (it is rather difficult to yell that loudly for a period of time.)
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   Writer
are there other ways you can get yelling across without caps? 
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Yes. That's why I put 'is it sometimes appropriate?', -> because commonly you would use the common ways.
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   Writer
well then i think you just answered your own thread, bud
thanks for that
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Not really. I'm asking for opinions, so I can't give an answer for someone else. It also seems to be more complicated than that.
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   Writer
what does it matter, though, someone else's opinion? you're the one ultimately making the decision.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Um, a lot of people might argue with you that sometimes considering other people's opinions is worth it, especially when you are treading on ground you know you may not have the best information about.

If your boss is showing you around your new workplace on your first day, for example, and warning you about the machines that could potentially kill you, it's best to listen to his, and co-workers' advice. Or if you're not sure which sandwich to pick, someone with experience going to the bar you're at might be able to tell you which ones are the best, and which ones are completely terrible (and if it's a really crappy bar, he might even tell you to look someplace else).

You see, there's lots of situations where other people's opinions can be helpful / informative. Even when someone completely disagrees with me, self-reflection happening through discussion or simply the discussion itself can give rise to new insights you might not have considered before.
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   Writer
um lol you did words at me
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:icontrampire:
Trampire Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Caps lock won't kill you.
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
If think you need to use allcaps to communicate shouting, that's a pretty good indication that you're not ready to be using allcaps. The context, the character's choice of words, and the author's tone can all be used to indicate a shouting situation without having to resort to tacky formatting. Learn to tell stories using just your words, first. You know. Learn the rules before you break them.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
I didn't ask whether you 'need' to use caps for shouting, I asked whether people here think it could be used to indicate the volume of the shouting, to create a distinction between speech that is already being shouted, in certain (rare) situations. That doesn't even have anything to do with me considering using it or not. I am aware commonly you're supposed to get shouting across with 'he / she shouted / appropriate synonym for shouting' or metaphors like 'his voice was so loud he imagined it sending a ripple across the water' at the end of the speech or even putting something in front of the sentence like 'he jumped up' to already show the character is stressed out and about to shout, but to get a very urgent, very direct, very loud shout (so, one that tops your regular ones) across, especially when in an urgent situation, a long metaphor or even a synonym might not be the best approach, especially not since it's only read at the end, when the reader has already read the written speech. Personally, I would avoid it must of the time, but in very rare situations consider using it when having no caps just doesn't 'feel' right. This doesn't happen often, but again, the situation might present itself from time to time.
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
If you can't build your prose so that certain areas of shouting feel even shoutier than ordinary shouting, then you need to get better at writing, not switch to all caps. Calling it a "special situation" is making an excuse. The use of scale is an essential skill in writing.
Also, based on your description of how you communicate shouting, it sounds like you could be a lot more proficient at making shouting feel bigger without resorting to all caps.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
I can do it without caps, I just think it can be appropriate sometimes. Becoming a better writer includes keeping options open and considering them even when you're not 100 percent sure you're going to use those options, and it certainly doesn't include dissing others or misinterpreting them.
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Although the words "diss" and "disagree" sound similar, they are not the same thing. Telling people that they have room to improve, when their skill level is relevant to the discussion at hand, is also not dissing them.

Speaking of people misinterpeting people, or putting words in their mouth, I never said that I though you were definitely going to use all caps for shouting. I also I never said that using all caps isn't an option. In fact, I like to imagine that with the whole "not ready," "learn the rules before you break them" spiel, I was making it clear that it is an option for people who know what they're doing, if they do it for the right reasons. My argument is that while using allcaps can be appropriate in some circumstances, but using all caps under the circumstances you're describing is unnecessary and amateurish.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
If you go from my expression of interest in people’s opinions on whether or not the use of caps is sometimes appropriate in written speech (without pointing out whether or not it's something I'd be planning to do) to this:

If think you need to use (so, not 'can use') allcaps to communicate shouting and the whole assumption (why else the 'spiel') that I was going to use it inappropriately, and that I'm not ready, based on one expression of interest, and that I'm not aware of the basics of indicating a situation through other means (why else would you describe them to me) to this:

I never said that I though you were definitely going to use all caps for shouting

It gets pretty confusing, because you're basically just contradicting yourself, and then trying to return on your steps when it suits you by trying to write sentences off as meaning whole different things, things you would have said differently and more clearly had you meant them like that at the time. Maybe your communication and reading comprehension have room for improvement, too?

First claiming a 'special situation' is an 'excuse' and then saying you can do it 'for the right reasons' (thus, when a situation presents itself) is also a contradiction, hermano.

Use of the proper verbs to indicate the sound of someone's voice, character behaviour right before the speech (someone who's clearly already angry is more likely to speak in an angry voice), use of metaphors, recognizing the limitations of metaphors put behind the written speech when you desire an immediate effect as the reader is reading the speech (not behind it) aren't circumstances of which the consideration points to amateurism (although I am obviously an amateur, I'm sure you mean something else by it than the literal meaning), they're basic methods, things you need to be aware of, things I am aware of. That's not a bad thing, yet you're writing it off as one. Why? I don't know.

I merely described these basics, and you don't have enough information to act upon to make a proper assessment of my grasp on these basics, yet you make negative assumptions either way. Why? I don't know.

Everyone always has room to improve. I'm a perfectionist, and am rarely satisfied with what I write. That's why I open topics like these, preferably without the conversation becoming aimed at me, but rather, people's own methods, experiences and opinions. But there's a difference between stating that someone has room to improve and assuming someone has the writing capacity of a 14 year old practically right off the bat. Your problem is that you assume too much, too quickly.

Saying you should avoid advanced methods (caps, in this instance) by default if you're 'not ready' for it is also a dangerous business. You wouldn't be able to differentiate being ready and considering using them when you strolled past a sequence where you weren't happy with it and caps came to mind as a viable solution (which could, and I do say, could mean that you've reached the point where you're able to recognize situations where the caps are a good option, so it's worth taking a shot) from not being ready and potentially using them wrongly, upon which someone can always tell you your use of the caps in that instance was wrong (and why), and you will have learned something, because you're avoiding using them by default. Or should a writer simply at one point decide 'from this point on, I feel ready, so I'm changing my writing style dramatically. From now on, I'm doing things differently, and I will use caps rather than trying to find a way around it.' I don't think so.
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:iconaircatskylion:
AircatSkylion Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think using caps for shouting can work sometimes, but only sometimes. If done at the wrong time it can look tacky and badly written, but if used correctly then it can work quite well.
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I think for comedic effect caps can work if it is sparingly used. The rest of the time, no. When you need to use caps to emphasize a character's tone or volume, then the dialogue and/or reaction is in need of revision or an edit.
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist
How long has all caps been associated with shouting?
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
I never did associate all caps with shouting. I read it as meaning I'M FOURTEEN YEARS OLD AND I HAVE YET TO DEVELOP THE WRITING SKILLS TO DRAW ATTENTION TO A STATEMENT OR SOUND AUTHORITATIVE WITHOUT USING GREAT BIG FUCKING LETTERS.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
I DON'T KNOW.
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist
As far as I know, it's mostly a netiquette thing. The dialogue and the character's actions should make it pretty clear someone is shouting.
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