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Author Topic: Pauses within a sentence - the opportunity to take a breath  (Read 8208 times)
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Ed
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2009, 07:22:58 PM »

I know delph hates the word "then," so you may want to try do some additional word-smithing to avoid it. I couldn't figure out a way around it off-the-cuff other than the phrase, "With a sigh, he turned..." which wasn't any better in my estimation, but I'm sure you can come up with something.

She's not alone. When we talked about smooth transitions between scenes (at band camp) the pros didn't like the word 'then'. They said there's almost always a better option than writing 'then'. It's too instructional, apparently.
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« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2009, 07:39:59 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:31:15 PM by Woody » Logged

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Ed
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2009, 03:34:14 AM »

Thanks everyone. I must finish the whole story before going into such nuances to make it right, otherwise I'll never finish the draft. Without a doubt, when I've got troubles with something I'm trying to tackle, I will post again - I need the advice and as Pharosian very adequately put it
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I see this construction a lot in beginners' writing
 Cry


Yep - I remember one of the panel discussions from band camp, where somebody asked what was the writing fault that most annoyed them. Ginjer Buchanan answered, without hesitation, "Gerunds." If you look at the manuscript I posted in the crit group you'll see none of the pros (if memory serves) left any 'ing' words in my story, not that there was many to start with.

Funny, my writing is still changing as time goes by, as is the style of writing I want to achieve. It's about eighteen months since I went to that weekend in Baltimore and, at the time, I least agreed with Doug Winter's editing of my story - it was covered in red ink. Lots of changes where the other three pros had left it as it was. Now I look at the edits he made and think, yeah - that's really crisp writing. But at the time I thought I was already writing tight.

Starting a sentence with a gerund (as I have just done), or an 'ing' word, is the sort of thing a creative writing/English teacher will advise you to do as a way of varying your sentence structures, but it seems to be a cardinal sin with most editors, and it does flag a writer as a beginner, I think.

They do make it into publications in some houses, though. I found quite a few howlers in The Rising. One that stands out in my mind is:

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Smashing open the vending machines, he ate a dinner of chips and candy and washed it down with warm soda.

That's quite a juggling act  grin He must have spilled loads. That and the looking through a knot hole in a sheet of ply description - priceless. There's probably a virgin birth for every time a knot hole could possibly line up with another and another layer of wood in a sheet of ply

We talked about this before, here - http://www.cafedoom.com/forum/index.php?topic=2040.0
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 03:55:02 AM by Ed » Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2009, 04:07:11 AM »

The lined-up knot hole is a classic  grin
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Geoff_N
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2009, 10:19:52 AM »

Not just dangling participles, but 'As' serves a similar error-prone scenario.

Geoff
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2009, 11:59:39 AM »

There's a whole section in Self Editing for Fiction Writers that deals with this. They call it the ing/as construction. It's a pretty good book all around, but even more invaulable to the beginner aspiring writer.
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« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2009, 04:01:30 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:31:32 PM by Woody » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2009, 04:21:00 PM »

Either of those is fine because the two actions - turning the corner and spotting the cap - are happening simultaneously. Take Ed's example:

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Smashing open the vending machines, he ate a dinner of chips and candy and washed it down with warm soda.

The ing construction in that sentences makes all the  actions appear to have occured simultaneously, which is pretty impossible, or, like Ed said, one helluva a juggling act.

There will be instances where as or ing is perfectly apt, but still, the overuse of either weakens the writing over all. See here:

Quote
As he turned the corner he spotted his friend's cap lying on the ground. Passing the hat he thought about the fair where he bought Jim the hat. Contemplating the fair, he was reminded of deep fried corndogs. Walking to the hot dog vendor accross the street, his tummy rumbling, he thought maybe he ought to go back and pick up the hat. As the smell of the vendor's hot dog's wafted up to his nose, a passing dump truck ran him over, killing him instantly.

And thank god, right?
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2009, 04:42:18 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:31:50 PM by Woody » Logged

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Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
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