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Best way to Introduce quotes

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Digital Sports Daily, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. For instance I wrote On his final season with the New York Yankees Joe didn't reveal much other than what we already knew
    then inserted this quote

    “2007 was the toughest year in the 12 years because every day I had to answer a number of questions about if I’m going to get fired or not…because the club wasn’t doing very well. It was a lot of distraction, in my opinion, in the clubhouse, and I think it affects players when that happens.”

    I am floored as to how to integrate quotes into stories, the only thing that feels natural to me is Torre said
     
  2. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

    Read.

    Pick up a newspaper or a book, click on over to ESPN.com (or almost any other site), and see how those writers deal with the dialogue in their stories.
     
  3. What are some principles to keep in mind though?
     
  4. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

  5. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    First always, always, always use said. Some people will tell you they use other words, but others on this board are like me, only use said.

    In a recent story I wanted to use the phrase said jokingly, and the editor changed it to joked. I was furious. It's a pet peeve of mine and I don't know why.

    There's also something else I do, which no one at my shop seems to do, but I vow to never do it.

    I always put the name followed by said. Not the other way around.

    For example.

    “2007 was the toughest year in the 12 years because every day I had to answer a number of questions about if I’m going to get fired or not," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

    Rather than

    “2007 was the toughest year in the 12 years because every day I had to answer a number of questions about if I’m going to get fired or not," said Yankees manager Joe Torre.

    I don't know why I am so hell bent on the second one... I just don't want to sound like a TV anchor. It's fine for what they do, but not fine for what I'm writing. I'm sure there are people that will disagree but, those are my personal rules.
     
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I tend to use said [so and so] when I attribute the person the first time, then [so and so] said on subsequent refs.

    For example: "I am outraged by the lack of cooperation by Godless County police in this matter," said Podunk City Mayor Crass Bullshitter.

    "This place is a police state," Bullshitter said.

    I almost always use "said" rather than other ways of doing things. It really depends on the context. In mustang's example about "said jokingly" vs. "joked" I would have changed it to "joked" partly to rid a story of excess wordiness. But again, it depends on the context.

    Taking my real life example of a response to a question I asked:

    "I don't need to talk about it; you guys talk about it all the time," Fitzgerald said.

    "I don't need to talk about it; you guys talk about it all the time," Fitzgerald snapped.

    Which tells more of the story? If I had my tape with that interview, you could hear why I chose the word "snapped." Simply writing said doesn't get the flavor of the quote across. If I'd used "said" and I still wanted to get the point across how he said it, it would have taken extra words that really would have done readers a disservice.

    Yes, I believe firmly that you should usually write "said." But once you get experience writing stories and talking to sources, you'll have a better understanding of when to break the rule.
     
  7. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    No offense intended, but it reads as if you have not done any original reporting. If you're getting the Torre quote(s) from his new book, you should note that.

    "2007 was the toughest year in the 12 years because every day I had to answer a number of questions about if I’m going to get fired or not…because the club wasn’t doing very well," Torre wrote in the recently released book, The Yankee Years. "It was a lot of distraction, in my opinion, in the clubhouse, and I think it affects players when that happens.”
     
  8. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    I think it's the opposite in some cases. If you are just using the name of someone, for example:
    "I can't believe I hit that half-court shot," Joe Smith said.

    That's fine to put said at the end. But if you have a big long title, you would put said at the beginning, since you want people to just glance over the "said".
    For example: "State U just came to play today; we really were overmatched," said Podunk State University head coach Jack Sprat.

    There's a time and a place for each. IMO.
     
  9. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I guess with long titles it is better.
     
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I also try to use the "Joe Smith said" format, but I'll also go the other way to sneak some information in there.

    Joe Smith scored 63 points to lead Cowchip State to a 100-75 victory over Badunkadunk University.
    "I went through those guys like butter. They stink," said Smith, who was 20-for-30 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range.

    Probably a bad habit, I know, but not the end of the world.
     
  11. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Not bad at all. You still glance over said to get the important information out there (his stats in this case.)
     
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    That's pretty much the one exception I use.... but, it doesn't work as well for news stories.
     
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