Rules of Writing, Part Two


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Thread: Rules of Writing, Part Two

  1. #1
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Wink Rules of Writing, Part Two

    So, Ive been playing with the following passage as part of my WIP. Therere two versions. The first one is all past tense and the second one messes with the tenses. Amongst other things, one sentence in the second version contains both future and past tense.

    Is there any rule that says the first version is the only way to go, or are both equally okay?

    (To put you in the picture, the guy is looking for a specific hard-copy file)

    For close to thirty minutes Morgan rummaged through boxes. Occasionally an item caught his attention and he paused to read it. Then he realised hed diverted himself from his purpose and after shuffling the papers back into place, returned the box to the stack with a self-deprecating shake of his head.

    For close to thirty minutes Morgan rummaged through boxes. Occasionally an item would catch his attention and hed pause to read it. Then hed realise hed diverted himself from his purpose and after shuffling the papers back into place, would return the box to the stack with a self-deprecating shake of his head.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Did I just do that?

  3. #3
    Of course they're both equally okay. One is in the pluperfect, and the other is in the past tense. Generally speaking, you need pluperfect if you're writing a scene in your story that took place previous to where your current story takes place. A flashback, if you will.
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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  4. #4
    Member terrib's Avatar
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    Exactly...go with the first one, Ox...
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  5. #5
    Patron Foxee's Avatar
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    As previously said, they're both correct. The first one reads a lot better.
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  6. #6
    I prefer the first though they both read okay. I find the '...he'd...' used so closley together in the second a bit clumsy. I'd prefer '...he had...' using apostraphes like this is fine in dialogue but I want authority in prose. I don't want the author to be my pal, rather my authoritative guide, if you know what I mean. When I write a first draft I'll do this myself for speed, but when I edit I get rid of them, even if I have to restructure sentences and paras.

    btw, I'd also prefer 'For nearly thirty minutes...' but maybe that's just my taste.

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