More sentence cogitation.


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Thread: More sentence cogitation.

  1. #1

    More sentence cogitation.

    First the lead in paragraph:

    'As a child, he did not know he cast a shadow. It rested profoundly on his world, diminishing the colours, thinning them. The earth, the heavens, and everything between, left him indifferent, bereft of wonder. But Tommy did not know.'

    This is the beginning sentence of the next paragraph. As you can see, I've changed it a little:

    His clothes reflected the same insipid outlook
    I didn't think 'reflected' or 'insipid' fitted exactly what I was trying to accomplish. 'reflected' is too distant for me and only speaks of 'reflection', a mirror for the previous paragraph. 'Insipid' just wasn't the right word.

    His clothes portrayed the same forlorn outlook
    'Forlorn' adds more insight into what I mean with the first paragraph. 'Portrayed' is in keeping with Tommy's world view. Not necessarily really him but rather what he's convinced himself he is. 'He did not know he cast a shadow'. I'm happy with this as it stands but that 'clothes' is bothering me. Clothes I find to be a warm word, too 'cosy' for the tone of the first paragraph, and it doesn't really carry much at all. The word I want to use is 'attire'. It's impersonal and colder, something I think reflects the previous paragraph better. But is it too archaic? I not attire, what else? 'wardrobe'? 'apparel'? I need an indifferent word. 'Outfit' kind of works! It's neither here nor there and it's something an actor dons.

    His attire portrayed the same forlorn outlook
    His outfit portrayed the same forlorn outlook
    Last edited by TheMightyAz; February 1st, 2021 at 02:59 AM.
    Just An Ordinary Bloke, Doing Ordinary Things, In An Extraordinary World.

  2. #2
    The thesaurus benefitted you with "portrayed" and "forlorn". It betrayed you on "attire". Clothes was the right word. Clothes might be a "cozy" word in context, but you're not in that context.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    The thesaurus benefitted you with "portrayed" and "forlorn". It betrayed you on "attire". Clothes was the right word. Clothes might be a "cozy" word in context, but you're not in that context.
    Yeah, I've decided 'attire' is too grand, even if I accept it is archaic. I've plumped for 'outfit' for now. Tommy wears drab clothing because he doesn't want to be seen. He casts a shadow and so the shadow has become his stage. Outfits are worn by actors, and to some extent, Tommy is an actor in his own play.
    Just An Ordinary Bloke, Doing Ordinary Things, In An Extraordinary World.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMightyAz View Post
    Yeah, I've decided 'attire' is too grand, even if I accept it is archaic. I've plumped for 'outfit' for now. Tommy wears drab clothing because he doesn't want to be seen. He casts a shadow and so the shadow has become his stage. Outfits are worn by actors, and to some extent, Tommy is an actor in his own play.
    I don't like "outfit" either. Colloquially, an "outfit" is either a costume for children, or something fancy a woman wears to a social event, and prays no other woman has chosen a duplicate of.

  5. #5
    This sentence confuses me-
    The earth, the heavens, and everything between, left him indifferent, bereft of wonder.
    The earth, heavens and everything are what leaves him indifferent? If so, how did we get there?

    I don't know what to say about his clothing, except to suggest "He dressed indifferently" or "He clothed himself with indifference" or "He dressed himself with that indifference."

    I feel "outfit" and "attire" break the rhythm of the sentence.

  6. #6
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    'Unremarkable dress' might get the point across. Informal, nominally descriptive without breaking the overcast/washed-out voice.

    I don't like "outfit" either. Colloquially, an "outfit" is either a costume for children, or something fancy a woman wears to a social event, and prays no other woman has chosen a duplicate of.
    Also a group, an operation, a business, a set of tools, a vehicle....

    Texans like to get their mileage out of the English language. Sometimes to catastrophic effect.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMightyAz View Post
    Yeah, I've decided 'attire' is too grand, even if I accept it is archaic. I've plumped for 'outfit' for now. Tommy wears drab clothing because he doesn't want to be seen. He casts a shadow and so the shadow has become his stage. Outfits are worn by actors, and to some extent, Tommy is an actor in his own play.
    As many conversations and questions do, this prompted me into research, the result of which I felt was best served by an article in "Hints and Tips", so my next set of thoughts on this topic is there:

    https://www.writingforums.com/thread...93#post2328393

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMightyAz View Post
    First the lead in paragraph:



    This is the beginning sentence of the next paragraph. As you can see, I've changed it a little:



    I didn't think 'reflected' or 'insipid' fitted exactly what I was trying to accomplish. 'reflected' is too distant for me and only speaks of 'reflection', a mirror for the previous paragraph. 'Insipid' just wasn't the right word.



    'Forlorn' adds more insight into what I mean with the first paragraph. 'Portrayed' is in keeping with Tommy's world view. Not necessarily really him but rather what he's convinced himself he is. 'He did not know he cast a shadow'. I'm happy with this as it stands but that 'clothes' is bothering me. Clothes I find to be a warm word, too 'cosy' for the tone of the first paragraph, and it doesn't really carry much at all. The word I want to use is 'attire'. It's impersonal and colder, something I think reflects the previous paragraph better. But is it too archaic? I not attire, what else? 'wardrobe'? 'apparel'? I need an indifferent word. 'Outfit' kind of works! It's neither here nor there and it's something an actor dons.



    An expression doing the rounds right now that I quite like is "spoke to" - meaning related to, identified with. Then, with some light specifics around "clothes" (that you can always augment later) you could have:

    His moody trousers spoke to the same jaded outlook.
    Or something. Moody trousers though, defnitely


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  9. #9
    What about:

    His mode of dress portrayed the same forlorn outlook
    It's not really the clothes themselves, but his personal style you are trying to depict.

    Plus it has nice meter.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    What about:



    It's not really the clothes themselves, but his personal style you are trying to depict.

    Plus it has nice meter.

    'mode of dress'? Ooooo Mr Tayler, no ...

    I've settled on clothes for now.
    Just An Ordinary Bloke, Doing Ordinary Things, In An Extraordinary World.

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