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Names, not a rant about the Ashleighs of the world

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by wtrag, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. wtrag

    wtrag New Member

    Long time reader, first time poster. Struggling with writing a story about a family involved in short track racing. Any easy solutions for handling quotes and second refrence names when three people have the same last name in your story?
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Mr./Ms. Rag -

    Assuming this to be a feature or a profile, I'd suggest the following:

    - If it were me, I'd be sure to lay out everybody's full name early on, then use first names thereafter. Unless that's a violation of your paper's style. But I would think there'd be some latitude in a case like this.

    - If not, ask the family members how they refer to each other (nicknames? "JR" for "Junior", etc.), then try using those.

    - Use qualifying characterizations like "the elder Johnson said," or "The youngest Johnson claims," when quoting.

    - But you can sidestep the problem of excessive repetition almost entirely by building the story in such a way that you're not constantly citing short quotes. In other words, don't fall into the trap of quote/text/quote/text/quote/text sentences the way so many sports writers do.

    Hope this helps. Welcome, and thanks for posting with us.
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