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Is This An Acceptable Grammatical Convention? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I noticed it sneaking into my writing recently. It feels right and Word doesn't bring it up as incorrect but I can't help but feel the full stop disconnects it from the idea slightly, or is this just something I needn't worry about? Originally, I had this separated by a comma but changed it to a full stop:

In the morning, Arthur had no stomach for food, only strong coffee. Fuel for an exhausted mind, nothing more. After Sarah kissed his cheek, he set off on his pilgrimage(.) A shadow without a sun, clouds remnants of the night.

Is that in any way awkward as a standalone sentence?
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Hmmm.... I feel the urge to keep the full stop. As a sentence, it needs a bit of context. Are these his thoughts? Just random stuff from the author? Just plonked down they are rather incongruous.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
...mebbe ‘under cloud remnants’ ?

comma, I think. Read it aloud.

...
Read a great one today from the 50s. Muriel Spark...’clinging to her least word.’ It all came flooding back.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Hmmm.... I feel the urge to keep the full stop. As a sentence, it needs a bit of context. Are these his thoughts? Just random stuff from the author? Just plonked down they are rather incongruous.

That 'plonked down' incongruity is what bothered me. As a separate sentence, it's quite obvious this is the writer's voice. It still is with the comma but it's not so 'hard edged' so to speak. It IS actually how Arthur feels though, even though I haven't made it a thought. I weave in a couple of other subliminal references in this section too. I'm trying to create a mood that represents how he feels without actually directly referencing him as the source.

He watched the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook, ripples ushered away in the insistence, thinned into the flow.

It's a theme that appears here and there and I'm trying to convey how the village has swept him up and made him at one with it. In this instance, I do it with water. In another instance I do it with a 'motherly smell'.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think from a grammatical point of view it works fine. But my intial reaction was that "A shadow" was a metaphor for him, since he is the subject in the previous sentence. So, if that were the case, something more like:

A shadow without a sun, burdened by clouds, the remnants of the night.

Or if the sentence stands on it's own:

Before him, a shadow without a sun, clouds remnants of the night.

But those may sound less artitistic.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I think from a grammatical point of view it works fine. But my intial reaction was that "A shadow" was a metaphor for him, since he is the subject in the previous sentence. So, if that were the case, something more like:

A shadow without a sun, burdened by clouds like the remnants of the night.

Or if the sentence stands on it's own:

Before him, a shadow without a sun, clouds remnants of the night.

But those may sound less artitistic.

'A shadow without a sun' is Arthur and the second part of that 'clouds remnants of the night' is referring to fact he had a bad night filled with nightmares.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
A rough bodge.

The thing is, Arthur is 'a shadow without a sun'. Not a literal shadow, his inner, darker self, brought on by a bad night's sleep and the memories of Heather. It also doubles as a direct description that tells you there is no sun.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
A shadow without a sun, clouds remnants of the night.

Is that in any way awkward as a standalone sentence?
Yes.

In the original version that you don't have here, this imagery was attributed to Arthur. As in, Arthur was a shadow without a sun. This keyed in with him being sad. It worked.

Now that this imagery is a sentence on its own it reads to me like two fragments that don't quite know what to do with themselves. Word may not know what to do with it either.

For that matter, what are you trying to convey here? "A shadow without a sun" seems like it wants to be poetic imagery of Arthur's mood but you've snipped it free of that and put it with "clouds remnants of the night" which are an actual atmospheric thing. If I try to rewrite it I find myself hunting desperately for what the whole thing is supposed to mean and I'm defeated.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
'A shadow without a sun' is Arthur and the second part of that 'clouds remnants of the night' is referring to fact he had a bad night filled with nightmares.

Ok thanks, I like that. But something like my first example, because the shadow part works, but the clouds seem to be dangling on their own. Another version:

A shadow without a sun, clouded by remnants of the night.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
I didn’t perceive that..I thought he clicked the gate shut, striding under clouds...and the reader was to draw the allusion parallel.

the double s is jarring anti-poetry :)- I mean anti-prose.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Yes.

In the original version that you don't have here, this imagery was attributed to Arthur. As in, Arthur was a shadow without a sun. This keyed in with him being sad. It worked.

Now that this imagery is a sentence on its own it reads to me like two fragments that don't quite know what to do with themselves. Word may not know what to do with it either.

For that matter, what are you trying to convey here? "A shadow without a sun" seems like it wants to be poetic imagery of Arthur's mood but you've snipped it free of that and put it with "clouds remnants of the night" which are an actual atmospheric thing. If I try to rewrite it I find myself hunting desperately for what the whole thing is supposed to mean and I'm defeated.

I may add that comma back in again then. This is what I feared I'd done. It's difficult because I know how I'm meant to read it but a reader who hasn't seen the original won't know how it's meant to be read. That's why I needed to ask.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Ok thanks, I like that. But something like my first example, because the shadow part works, but the clouds seem to be dangling on their own. Another version:

A shadow without a sun, clouded by remnants of the night.

I actually like that but I'm trying to do two things here. Firstly I'm talking about Arthur (shadow/remnants of nightmares) and secondly I'm talking about the weather (no sun/overcast).
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I actually like that but I'm trying to do two things here. Firstly I'm talking about Arthur (shadow/remnants of nightmares) and secondly I'm talking about the weather (no sun/overcast).

I thought you said the clouds were "referring to fact he had a bad night filled with nightmares." Which I really like. I wouldn't lose that and switch it up to be the general weather because then you'd have two thoughts in one sentence that aren't linked.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I thought you said the clouds were "referring to fact he had a bad night filled with nightmares." Which I really like. I wouldn't lose that and switch it up to be the general weather because then you'd have two thoughts in one sentence that aren't linked.

Ah, but they are linked :) They tell us about Arthur and the weather separately and visually BUT the overcast sky and the shadow (as one) also give us a metaphor for Arthur's feelings. Sometimes I kill myself with this stuff! lol

Oh, yeah, and it's also representative of his pilgrimage to a grave.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
I haven't read the other replies. I would be tempted to use neither full stop nor comma, but go for a colon instead. It looks like the sentences are meant to be a linked idea, perhaps the second part a little metaphorical for the first. Even if that's not the case, using a colon could help the reader think of it that way, so it could make the writing look even more colourful than it is already.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Az, have you read any of the Odd Thomas novels by Dean Koontz? I know Koontz isn't to everyone's taste but especially in the Odd Thomas series Koontz seemed to enjoy extending metaphors. He'll start one off on one page and tuck a reference back to it later on the page and sometimes reprise the idea with further development a page or two on. I think you might appreciate how he does this as I think you're working on developing something similar (in your own style of course).

One thing, give the reader a little credit. By taking the 'shadow without a sun' idea and specifically writing it to connect to Arthur it doesn't mean that we're not going to pick it up for what the day is like, especially through his eyes. I feel like you're getting so tied up in how the sentences should go together so that each and every thing hits us over the head the way you want it, that your sentences are becoming harder to understand. Relax with it a little bit. The word choices will permeate the whole without trying so hard.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I haven't read the other replies. I would be tempted to use neither full stop nor comma, but go for a colon instead. It looks like the sentences are meant to be a linked idea, perhaps the second part a little metaphorical for the first. Even if that's not the case, using a colon could help the reader think of it that way, so it could make the writing look even more colourful than it is already.

Oooo ... a colon! Problem with that is they ARE separate images on one level but as a whole another. How about a semicolon?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Az, have you read any of the Odd Thomas novels by Dean Koontz? I know Koontz isn't to everyone's taste but especially in the Odd Thomas series Koontz seemed to enjoy extending metaphors. He'll start one off on one page and tuck a reference back to it later on the page and sometimes reprise the idea with further development a page or two on. I think you might appreciate how he does this as I think you're working on developing something similar (in your own style of course).

One thing, give the reader a little credit. By taking the 'shadow without a sun' idea and specifically writing it to connect to Arthur it doesn't mean that we're not going to pick it up for what the day is like, especially through his eyes. I feel like you're getting so tied up in how the sentences should go together so that each and every thing hits us over the head the way you want it, that your sentences are becoming harder to understand. Relax with it a little bit. The word choices will permeate the whole without trying so hard.

Oh, I love taking a metaphor and running with it. It's one of the reasons I love Koontz and the Odd Thomas books. With Rev. Thomson for instance, I have him with a granite face and later (much later), I have his face 'crumbling'. I honestly don't think about whether the reader will understand it. I write it so I can! lol. I've got so many old poems I can't understand. :)
 
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