Currently I have a very uncomfortable sentence:

'#####' announced Graham behind himself, turning his head away as he knelt towards the window.

I just don't know how to phrase this. He's addressing someone who's behind him, while looking in a certain direction through a window.


I have questions.

First, does the positioning of the players and the direction of the gaze have any meaning? Is the speaker saying something that is painful to the listener? Is the view outside of the window of higher priority? Does Graham trust the listener? Care about the listener? So many questions, so little time. I want to help you but I cannot point out a direction until I know where you want to go.

Second, what style of writing do you want to use? Does the thought need to be expressed as a single sentence? Is the intent to write fancy or plain? What are the emotions of the participants? What is the tempo of the story at this point, fast, slow, contemplative?

Third, let me offer the following.

Graham moved past the other(s) to the window. He knelt. After scanning the outside, he said, "######." The other(s) in the room listened, without comment.

The meaning, at least to me, is very clear. No subtle shadings. No subtext. And no confusion. But you might read this and say that it misses the point that you were trying to convey. And that realization may help you answer my first set of questions, and, thus, guide you to figuring out what you want to say in the way that you want to say it.


Stop trying to do it with a tag; clarity is more important than brevity.

While looking out the window, Graham spoke to John standing behind him. "####."


I would suggest that using "Said" and then describing Graham's position relative to the person he is speaking too and his actions while speaking (did he look back at the other person of his shoulder? Or not bother to look at the other person at all).

One being "Behind oneself" is typically impossible ), as I can't occupy a space that is behind my own back (Unless Graham can be in two places at once such as using time travel so that a young!Graham and old!Graham are speaking to each other. You should either address this by postion (said to those behind him) or (said, keeping his back turned to the rest). Being "Besides oneself" is a turn of phrase for an emotional state, not a physical arrangement of anything in a physical space.

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