Please explain to me... - Page 2


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Thread: Please explain to me...

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    “Nonsense,” Jennie said, and grabbed Millie's hand. dialogue continues

    I would not say they are not grammatical, but it is clunky. I would change it to:
    Jennie said before grabbing Millie's hand.

    I would also take feedback from that Beta with a grain of sand.
    This is a prime example of why I avoid wannabe-editors for Beta readers.
    They spend too much time trying to show you how smart they are when they are really supposed to be giving you broad strokes. Beta reading is not proofreading. Beta reading is about the big picture.

    I had another beta who did just that, gave me broad strokes of what they thought could make it better, not getting into the nitty gritty. They figured the editing stuff is what an editor is for. I didn't ask for grammar fixes, and they didn't give me any, just story issue suggestions. This other one had their editing cap on for most of the manuscript, and they weren't exactly polite about it in some areas.
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  2. #12
    To quote from my book, "The rule against the two-predicate comma is broken so often nowadays that I don't know why anyone bothers saying it."

    So technicslly ungrammatical. Let's look at meaning. Without the comma, they could be two actions occurring at once. With the comma, they're sequential. Good writing! (If that's what you wanted.)

    Yes there are more wordy ways of writing that sentence to make it meet some grammatical rule that few people know about and fewer people care about.
    Last edited by EmmaSohan; October 2nd, 2019 at 07:04 PM.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  3. #13
    Grammatically, they are fine. As others have said, structure is where the problem lies. I would try changing up your syntax if there are several examples of this throughout your story.

  4. #14
    It's hard to say what the reader meant from such a small sample. But since you say this reader marked similar sentences over and over again, could it be that the grammar wasn't the issue?

    I say this because it's quite common for someone to include a small motion or facial expression with nearly every bit of dialogue, to the extent that if the work was acted out as written, the actors would appear to have some kind of bizarre seizure disorder.

    Aside from that, I wouldn't take anything one reader says too seriously. It's only another opinion; could be they're just wrong.
    Last edited by Ma'am; October 2nd, 2019 at 07:46 PM.











  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'am View Post
    It's hard to say what the reader meant from such a small sample. But since you say this reader marked similar sentences over and over again, could it be that the grammar wasn't the issue?

    I say this because it's quite common for someone to include a small motion or facial expression to nearly every bit of dialogue, to the extent that if the work was acted out as written, the actors would appear to have some kind of bizarre seizure disorder.

    Aside from that, I wouldn't take anything one reader says too seriously. It's only another opinion; could be they're just wrong.
    LOL! No, I don't think that's the issue. I think it's because they thought it wasn't grammatically correct, and I use that same structure repeatedly. I do action beats here and there, but not all the time.
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  6. #16
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    “Nonsense,” said Jennie grabbing Millie's hand.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  7. #17
    They may have been pointing out the fact that it breaks the cadence of the writing.
    It does change the flow of the sentence. I'd go with the suggestion that Scars or I gave.

    Another option is to upgrade your attributions. I am of the belief that Said is Dead.

    “Nonsense,” Jennie gave a scowl before grabbing Millie's hand. "We don't need no steenking badges!"

    “Nonsense,” Trying to put on a brave face, Jennie grabbed her friend's hand. "We don't need no steenking badges!"

    “Nonsense,” Jennie gave a clever wink as she grabbed Millie's hand. "We don't need no steenking badges!"

    See, I didn't use said once, yet I illustrated something key in Jennie's behavior/attitude.

  8. #18
    Oh, I can't use wink. I've used it like a dozen times in the novel already, as had been pointed out. LOL!
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  9. #19
    Actually, it should be written this way:

    “Nonsense,” Jennie said, grabbing Millie's hand.

    No need for and/while or any of that. The use of 'grabbing' in the present tense indicates it is done at the same time as the word is uttered.

    Keep it simple.
    Last edited by luckyscars; October 3rd, 2019 at 09:43 AM.

  10. #20
    The request was only for an explanation of the issue surrounding your wording, so that is all that I gave in my previous post. Often members suggest alternative wordings without explaining why they might be better or what the shortcoming in the original was, which doesn't teach the enquirer anything. Maybe those members can't explain why their wording is better but just feel that it looks better because they are unconsciously applying the rules that haven't been explained. As I have already given my analysis of the problem I now feel free to offer my own version of the wording, which is:

    “Nonsense.” Jennie grabbed Millie's hand. dialogue continues

    The word "said" doesn't need to appear at all as Jennie is clearly the primary actor in this paragraph and therefore any dialogue is implicitly attributed to her in the reader's mind. Also isolating the initial dialogue with a full stop in this way gives it more emphasis without implying the extreme emphasis that an exclamation mark would.

    When we write we are not simply informing the reader but building an experience for them step by step, so in this case the isolated dialogue at the beginning is intended to make the reader momentarily think "Who said that?" before continuing to read the next sentence to find out. It is a very rapid process within their mind but nevertheless it creates a different experience for them from that created by the original compound sentence incorporating the dialogue. In reality we hear something spoken, then determine who said it and then go on from there, so putting the dialogue tag after the dialogue does create the equivalent of what the brain normally does. We don't normally watch a person's mouth to tell that they are about to say something before they make a sound, which is what putting the tag before the dialogue implies. However, deducing who is speaking from the context without any explicit tag is equally true to life, so should be adequate provided that the context is.

    I think that it is worthwhile to consider what thoughts every minute clause and punctuation mark induces within the reader's mind in this way as that probably lies close to the heart of showing rather than telling. Just omitting the word "said" in this case eliminates a little telling and persuades the reader to imagine what they are being shown. Sometimes the difference between showing and telling can be that subtle.
    '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.

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