Fragments - Page 3


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Thread: Fragments

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ppsage View Post
    I should suppose the fastest way to improve one's writing to be highly dependent on the particulars of one's extant skill set. Having mastered the rigors of elementary verb selection, one might seek more esoteric challenge.
    I should suppose for a person of your extant skill set, this may be true.

    But for myself, I don't view verb selection as elementary, and it's always a challenge.
    John Oberon
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  2. #22
    I like mustard on a sandwich. Condiments turn food of reasonably high quality into something delicious when applied judiciously, but it's really easy to put too much mustard on a sandwich and ruin the entire thing.

    Fragments can add emphasis to your writing. They can show disjointed thinking or abrupt action. To many fragments, the wrong fragments, and fragments in the wrong place can ruin a piece, though.

    My personal practice is to only add fragments to my exposition at a revision stage, where I have a better idea of where they are needed. Fragments in dialogue are different, of course--people speak in fragments all the time, so I'll try to write dialogue the way it sounds in my head.
    Wisdom is seldom boisterous.

    -- a guy I know --

    If you're into hillbilly themed pornography (and, really, who ISN'T these days?), check out Hidden Content and Hidden Content . There's no pornography, but everything IS written by a hillbilly.

  3. #23
    I was a computer science major with a concentration in mathematics. I didn't pay much attention to what I learned in my English classes. However, I was very fortunate to have a professor who took off 10 points for every fragment, comma splice, or run-on sentence. That really did drill it in to my brain although I generally have all kinds of mistakes in a first draft and only catch them on the edit. I really wish I could find that professor and thank her

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    The first two mistakes a writer with no grounding in grammar will make are fragments and run-on sentences.
    I adore a well-placed sentence fragment for emphasis. I love what Bruce Ross-Larson says in Stunning Sentences: The Effective Writing Series (which I highly recommend):

    Sentence fragments, disallowed by rigid writers and grousing grammarians, often mimic speech and thus pick up the pace of your writing. Unexpected, they command attention, so you should draw that attention to big points and comments.

  4. #24
    What would be an example of using a fragment for emphasis?

    In the following, I am using my fragment almost for lack of emphasis. (Her thinking is interrupted.)

    And what's he going to check? He said he was --

    "Please commence lockdown procedures."

    The loudspeaker. It's a drill. Everyone groans. Mr. Simmons is annoyed.
    In earlier drafts I left out the information that it was the loudspeaker, then I decided I needed it. I didn't want to devote a whole sentence to it, hence the fragment.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  5. #25
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Emma

    Here is an example of what I would describe as an effective fragment from Val McDermid, The Distant Echo:

    'But the more he wrote, the more he began to worry that he'd just be dismissed as another conspiracy theorist. Or worse.'

    The context is the bad guy finally coming apart near the end of the tale. McDermid is building tension towards the climax, and I assume she, as I would, wants the reader to pause and take a breath before what is going to happen next (well that's how I would describe the use of this fragment).

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    'But the more he wrote, the more he began to worry that he'd just be dismissed as another conspiracy theorist. Or worse.'
    I believe the grammatically correct way to do this would be an em dash. The sentence is fine with a comma instead ("conspiracy theorist, or worse"), but since you're going for emphasis on the "or worse," you'd be better served with the em dash ("conspiracy theorist—or worse.")
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  7. #27
    I suppose that fragments are there as a trigger to send the reader in a direction, general or specific, without leading them, a form of literary impressionism. In that case their success must depend on whether the reader knows which way to go, how to interpret them.

    "Quartz." -- It's a fact, one that's emphasised, but is it a good thing well received or a disappointment? Set against the material used for the clock's case it appears to be presented as a redeeming characteristic.

    "Piece of cake." -- What, where, when? Is the reader clear?

    "Tinted windows." -- Just a fact? Ah no, the reason why he then presses his nose against the window. Literary impressionism -- the stimulus is described in isolation before the reaction that it prompts without cause and effect being directly linked.

    "Or worse." -- Does the reader know what would be considered worse in this context or are they being asked to accept something undefinable, maybe just the impression that there could be something worse?

    Well, that works for me, a way of testing one's fragments. Sorted.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  8. #28
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Gamer

    Gramatically correct or not, here it's offered as an example of how an established author has done it this time.

    Within the context of her writing I think it reads well and it's the way I do it occasionally.

    @Just: I used 'Quartz.' to suggest the cheapness of the free gift.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    Hello Gamer

    Gramatically correct or not, here it's offered as an example of how an established author has done it this time.

    Within the context of her writing I think it reads well and it's the way I do it occasionally.
    The incorrectness of the grammar is what pulls the reader up short. And therefore provides emphasis.
    Wisdom is seldom boisterous.

    -- a guy I know --

    If you're into hillbilly themed pornography (and, really, who ISN'T these days?), check out Hidden Content and Hidden Content . There's no pornography, but everything IS written by a hillbilly.

  10. #30
    Yair . . .

    because the good ones go unnoticed.
    Except by the squiggly green line underlining monster!

    Cheers.

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