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Greeting Etiquette in the Novel?


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I'm trying to get back to my on-going project.  (Haha, so much for that new story I was planning...)  So, I was wondering, what's a better way to express hellos, greetings, etc.?  Like, it seems inadequate for my character to just say, "Hello!" or something.  I know in some cases, greetings are unnecessary business and can be skipped over altogether, but just for context, in the scene I'm working on, my MC Joanna hasn't seen her father for a year ... plus, their reunion takes place in a hospital, so I think some kind of greeting is in order.  What do y'all think?

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Like Zee said, it could be a moment of pure shock and a bunch of other emotions thrown onto her at once, so your MC might just run up to him and hug him for several seconds before they start talking.

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14 minutes ago, Sarah Daffy said:

"Greetings. It is I; your long-lost daughter Joanna, whom you have not seen since the increase of last fall's harvest."

I just went on a laughing jag.  No kidding, I totally lost it!  This is amazing, thank you, @Sarah Daffy!!  I can't envision Joanna saying this, but I love it anyways.

 

6 minutes ago, Ky_GirlatHeart said:

"'Tis Joanna, Father."

This feels really nice and cute.  I might even be able to use this sort of greeting later on in the book.  Thanks, @Ky_GirlatHeart!

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Actually, it depends upon their relationship. If they have been close, even though they haven't seen each other in a year, just her appearance would be enough, I would think. She might say something like, "So ... whatcha doin' here?" or something "smart" like that.

 

If they have not been close, then something like "Mom called and said you were in the hospital." 

 

I don't know. That's my two cents' worth.

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5 hours ago, Grey_Skies said:

I know in some cases, greetings are unnecessary business and can be skipped over altogether, but just for context, in the scene I'm working on, my MC Joanna hasn't seen her father for a year ... plus, their reunion takes place in a hospital, so I think some kind of greeting is in order. 

 

Do they love each other? Did they part on uncertain terms? Are they wildly different or exactly the same? Either way provides grist for the mill. There are endless possibilities. Maybe layer in a thin layer of suspense with the introduction.

Quote

The man standing in the doorway exuded a presence which immediately filled the room. An air of mystery surrounded him, as if he knew things he wouldn't share until the opportune moment. His steel grey eyes flitted around the room, missing nothing. Then, and only then, his eyes met mine. It was as if everyone held their breath waiting for him to speak. 

I beat him to the punch. "Father," I said.

"Joanna," he said, and the spell of the moment was broken.


...or something along those lines. People are complicated. Even good people and close-knit families have their little rituals, their little secrets. Have some fun with it and you'll not only have a greeting,  you'll have made the character introduction just that much more memorable.

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2 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Well, that depends on whether or not I know anything.

So if you don't know anything, then you wouldn't know how to type, you wouldn't know what you just said, and you wouldn't know how to use your mouse or touchpad or whatever you used to send your message.

Thus, you know some things.

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16 hours ago, Johne said:

Do they love each other? Did they part on uncertain terms? Are they wildly different or exactly the same? Either way provides grist for the mill. 

They are very close.  Personality-wise, they are also very similar, because Joanna takes after him.  Her relationship with her mother is ... complicated, so she's that much closer to her father, Finn.  

 

16 hours ago, Johne said:

Have some fun with it and you'll not only have a greeting,  you'll have made the character introduction just that much more memorable.

This is precisely what I'm going for.  Thanks a ton!!  I really like the example you gave as well, and I may end up using elements of that.  I'd like their reunion to be touching, but not at all on a sappy level.  It should have both humor and heart, to show the sweet, but casual, closeness of their relationship.

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11 hours ago, Grey_Skies said:

I'd like their reunion to be touching, but not at all on a sappy level.  It should have both humor and heart, to show the sweet, but casual, closeness of their relationship

These scenes are hard! "Show, don't tell" will be important here, I think. Describe how they act and what they do, rather than saying "she felt overwhelmed", etc.

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As others have already said, the greeting depends completely on both characters and their relationship. This is an instance where the "show don't tell" can really impact the story. 

 

Think about their body language--not just their faces but their hands, head, posture and stance. Think about their reaction to everything else around them. Does the sun suddenly seem brighter? Does the wind moan and beat your protag fiercely? How does your character react physically to those situations.

 

Show don't tell expands beyond thoughts and words. Each character reacts to situations differently. Have your character react in a way that is unique to her and that furthers the story or shows something about her character or character growth.

 

Good luck!

 

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On 2/28/2021 at 2:22 PM, Sarah Daffy said:

"Greetings. It is I; your long-lost daughter Joanna, whom you have not seen since the increase of last fall's harvest."

"Hail, O Paterfamilias!"

 

 

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