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Post Your Snippets For Craft Help Here (1 Viewer)

Steve_Rivers

Senior Member
Maybe Im mis-reading the context here but isn't it easier to just express that last sentence as "better someone else than me?"

"The real secret, the one everyone thinks but keeps to themselves, is: better someone else than me." ?
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
Does that work for 3rd person pov?

It's possible I'm reading too much into it, I've stared at that one sentence/paragraph for so long, the words barely make sense to me anymore.
 

Steve_Rivers

Senior Member
I would think it should work, because you're not specifically referencing a person or a viewpoint, rather you're relaying a common-use saying from the general public. That's why I used the : to more denote you're relaying it as an example of such.

Like "The saying around town was: If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I know that doesn't include a pronoun, but hopefully that gets across what I mean. The narration isn't claiming a viewpoint on the words spoken, just relaying the phrase or idea. The secret, in this case, is what people think instead of saying and it just so happens to contain a pronoun. Fingers crossed that makes sense. :)
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
It does, but I think I just changed it.

Edit: On second thought, after sleep and time away from staring at it, what you said works much better. Thanks!
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
I've written something which I know needs to be developed. But is this correct and natural-sounding now?

Sara's childhood had been a disaster. She'd gone through an array of suffering and it was suffering which had turned her into a psychopath. She was 20 when she realized seeing other people's pain gave her a vague satisfaction.
Gareth, when she found him, turned out to be the perfect channel for her sadistic inclinations. She'd experienced a series of disastrous relationships with men who would run when she showed them her true colors. But in Gareth she'd found a mild, meek boy who would stay after she inflicted pain on him. She could make him suffer to her heart's content, like the world had made her suffer.
Work on "show, don't tell". The below gets into her thoughts instead of the author's thoughts. I'm realizing lately that many descriptions tell us more about the person who is describing than the person being described, so as authors we need to know when we are showing up in the story.

alpacinoutd wrote:
"Sara was 20 when she realized seeing other people's pain gave her a vague satisfaction.
In Gareth she'd found a milk, meek boy who would stay after she inflected pain on him. She could make him suffer to her heart's content, like the world had made her suffer."
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
How about I start putting snippets of dialogue in here. If I focus solely on that, I can break 'the habit' and figure out punctuation/ grammar. Examples are helpful but I think focusing on what I wrote, and if it works or not, and why will help me understand. I think the only way I can 'get it' is if I engage with my own examples lol (or that'd be the quickest way)

I've drafting (ugh) but I will try to put something in here soon. I was staring at my dialogue and I was like ?? is this correct or no? then I just got more confused trying to figure it out 😂
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
How about I start putting snippets of dialogue in here. If I focus solely on that, I can break 'the habit' and figure out punctuation/ grammar. Examples are helpful but I think focusing on what I wrote, and if it works or not, and why will help me understand. I think the only way I can 'get it' is if I engage with my own examples lol (or that'd be the quickest way)

I've drafting (ugh) but I will try to put something in here soon. I was staring at my dialogue and I was like ?? is this correct or no? then I just got more confused trying to figure it out 😂
Your dialogue tends to be pretty good. Try what I've said for a week or so until you've got it nailed. You can easily go back into those separate paragraphs later and adjust to your own tastes. The main thing is to get your mindset right so you then automatically do it, even if you DO put the narrative first before the dialogue. Like I said though, I would avoid making a habit of it. Dialogue has a flow and if you read most books that flow is clear.
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
I'm wondering if I allude too much attention to his height? Dwarfed, immense, then tall, Is that overkill?

"Leo awoke to find a stranger standing over him. He was frowning and looking down at him as though he were an errant child. After a moment the man bent and offered an arm to Leo, who, upon standing on wobbly legs, felt dwarfed by the man's immense height.

The tall man was well-suited in all black, save for the ice-blue buttons on his coat, of which his crimson-colored skin stood in stark contrast. Behind him, an elaborate archway formed where the wall had split."
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm wondering if I allude too much attention to his height? Dwarfed, immense, then tall, Is that overkill?

"Leo awoke to find a stranger standing over him. He was frowning and looking down at him as though he were an errant child. After a moment the man bent and offered an arm to Leo, who, upon standing on wobbly legs, felt dwarfed by the man's immense height.

The tall man was well-suited in all black, save for the ice-blue buttons on his coat, of which his crimson-colored skin stood in stark contrast. Behind him, an elaborate archway formed where the wall had split."
You don't need the "tall" here. Can you come up with another adjective that adds to the image but does not allude to his height? Ominous, stately...etc.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
I'm wondering if I allude too much attention to his height? Dwarfed, immense, then tall, Is that overkill?

Leo awoke to find a stranger standing over him. 1/ He was frowning and looking down at him as though he were an errant child. 2/ After a moment the man bent and offered an arm to Leo, who, upon standing on wobbly legs, felt dwarfed by the man's immense height.

1/ This is about the dreaded 'wases' 'weres' and gerunds. There's nothing wrong with them but if removing them makes things more immediate and doesn't interfere with the meaning, then it's best to lose them. The only small hiccup I could see by doing that would be the pronoun 'he' at the beginning of the sentence, which could be construed as Leo, but that's quickly cleared up with 'looking down'. 'He frowned and looked down on him as though he was an errant child'. Here though, we have another problem in that the second 'he' could also be construed as Leo. Is it the stranger that looks like the errant child or Leo? That problem could be eased by changing it to 'He frowned and looked down on Leo as if an errant child' or if it is Leo that looks like the errant child 'He frowned and looked down on Leo as if he was an errant child.' When you've got two people with the same sex and you refer to them both as 'he' or 'him', it gets pretty tricky sometimes. 2/ I don't think there's a problem with 'dwarfed'. The problem is 'immense'. Leo only 'felt' dwarfed were as the man was actually immense. You've established a height difference with 'dwarfed' (much smaller than) and don't really need to double down on it with 'immense' (much bigger than). We get the picture.

The tall man was well-suited in all black, save for the ice-blue buttons on his coat, of which his crimson-colored skin stood in stark contrast. Behind him, an elaborate archway formed where the wall had split.
Do you need 'tall'? We move straight from 'dwarfed' to 'tall'. If there was a little more distance between those descriptions then perhaps there'd be an argument for reiterating the height difference. It also shrinks the man slightly when you consider 'dwarfed' and 'immense'. 'Tall' wouldn't be a word I'd associate with either perspectives.
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
1/ This is about the dreaded 'wases' 'weres' and gerunds. There's nothing wrong with them but if removing them makes things more immediate and doesn't interfere with the meaning, then it's best to lose them. The only small hiccup I could see by doing that would be the pronoun 'he' at the beginning of the sentence, which could be construed as Leo, but that's quickly cleared up with 'looking down'. 'He frowned and looked down on him as though he was an errant child'. Here though, we have another problem in that the second 'he' could also be construed as Leo. Is it the stranger that looks like the errant child or Leo? That problem could be eased by changing it to 'He frowned and looked down on Leo as if an errant child' or if it is Leo that looks like the errant child 'He frowned and looked down on Leo as if he was an errant child.' When you've got two people with the same sex and you refer to them both as 'he' or 'him', it gets pretty tricky sometimes. 2/ I don't think there's a problem with 'dwarfed'. The problem is 'immense'. Leo only 'felt' dwarfed were as the man was actually immense. You've established a height difference with 'dwarfed' (much smaller than) and don't really need to double down on it with 'immense' (much bigger than). We get the picture.


Do you need 'tall'? We move straight from 'dwarfed' to 'tall'. If there was a little more distance between those descriptions then perhaps there'd be an argument for reiterating the height difference. It also shrinks the man slightly when you consider 'dwarfed' and 'immense'. 'Tall' wouldn't be a word I'd associate with either perspectives.
I hadn't even considered that "he" could get tricky in a paragraph. Much thanks for pointing that out. Bad habit to assume the reader knows what I mean.

Had that feeling that immense might be too much, but had not realized how I was shrinking him down by using "tall". Good to know and keep in mind as I further develop my skills.


Thanks so much.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
I hadn't even considered that "he" could get tricky in a paragraph. Much thanks for pointing that out. Bad habit to assume the reader knows what I mean.

Had that feeling that immense might be too much, but had not realized how I was shrinking him down by using "tall". Good to know and keep in mind as I further develop my skills.


Thanks so much.
One of the biggest problems I find when offering help is the sentence structure itself. It's linked to style and tinkering too much would alter that style. Therefore I try my best to improve it (hopefully) without changing the style. It's not always possible to find the perfect solution when you do that. I'd likely rewrite that completely or look at it from a completely different angle.

Neither of the options I've given satisfy me. They're just 'closer' to clarity. What you really want is perfect clarity.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
If you're wondering where I've been for the last few days, my laptop finally died and I've had to buy a new one. God, I hate the unnecessary flash of everything on it!
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
If you're wondering where I've been for the last few days, my laptop finally died and I've had to buy a new one. God, I hate the unnecessary flash of everything on it!
Our work laptops are replaced every four years and I have a cranky adjustment period each time (even though I always end up happier in the end). Also, I only ever end up using maybe 15-20 percent of the available apps and features. It becomes easier to ignore the extras after a while.
 

alpacinoutd

Senior Member
Is this okay?

She looked out the window, at the slopes of the mountains and up the peaks which were shrouded in gray clouds. A thunder crackled and the clouds started spraying the city with almost frozen droplets. The skies were uncertain. She couldn't tell if it was raining or snowing. A cold gust of wind blew in through the half open window, making the flames of the fireplace skitter. She huddled, closing the window. The clouds had started hovering, spreading over the city like a duvet.
She snuggled under her blanket and tried to get some sleep but the sound of water dripping from the ledges and overhangs wouldn't let her.
 
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TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Is this okay?

1/ She looked out the window, at the slopes of the mountains and up the peaks which were shrouded in gray clouds. 2/ A thunder crackled and the clouds started spraying the city with almost frozen droplets. The skies were uncertain. 3/ She couldn't tell if it was raining or snowing. 4/ A cold gust of wind blew in through the half open window, making the flames of the fireplace skitter. 5/ She huddled, closing the window. 6/ The clouds had started hovering, spreading over the city like a duvet.
7/ She snuggled under her blanket and tried to get some sleep but the sound of water dripping from the ledges and overhangs wouldn't let her.
1/ Remember I keep mentioning the assumed state of something? She looked at the slopes of the mountains (assumed state). Mountains have slopes by default so this makes it appear as if she wasn't actually looking at the mountains (which consist of slopes) but rather she ignored the the mountains themselves and concentrated entirely on the nature of them. You don't need a comma there. She looks at the peaks which are the very tops of the mountain. Can she look 'up the peaks'? She can look 'up the mountain' because that journey would go from the foot of the mountain to the peak, but she couldn't look beyond the peak because there's nothing left of the mountain beyond that point. Storm clouds are grey by default (assumed state) 'She looked out of the (open) window at the mountains, their peaks shrouded in storm clouds.' 2/ '... started spraying the city with almost frozen droplets.' That's a tad complicated and an overwritten way of describing rain, although perhaps you were thinking of 'sleet'? I'm not certain. Lightening would 'crackle' but 'thunder' would 'crack'. 'Almost' is one of those words you want to get rid of if possible. Be definite. 'Thunder cracked and sleet lashed the city.' 3/ This is where you've got to be careful with POV. She's looking and so it's her POV. If she can see detail like 'almost frozen' then she can certainly know it's sleet. This line can be removed too, unless you remove the description and simply put 'Thunder cracked'. That's up to you but I'd personally leave it as it is because I don't think this line adds anything of importance. 4/ I'd establish the window was 'half open' in the previous window sentence in order to avoid suddenly adding in extra detail. You've already established an image of a window, which is locked in the readers head, and now you're adjusting that image a few sentences later. You've introduced that because you want to justify the breeze getting in. In all honesty though, I'd question the logistics of this paragraph. I feel as if the way it's constructed is creating problems for you which are responsible for adding detail to try and cover up that logistic problem. It's a difficult one to explain because it's a much broader problem. A paragraph is a snapshot. You've written something down and thought 'I need to establish this because I've written this' and then after continuing thought 'and I need to establish this too now' and so forth. That's leading you to add detail in awkward ways. Because of that it's not flowing, it's juddering. 'Flames in the fireplace skittered as an icy gust blew in through the open window' 5/ If she 'huddled' how does she close the window? 'She closed the window and huddled'. 6/ 'The clouds started hovering' 'hovering' isn't a word I'd use for clouds and what were they doing before they 'hovered'? 'The clouds thickened and spread over the city like a duvet' I'd reconsider 'duvet' too. That's a quite comfy image' 7/ The windows shut, it's sleeting and blowing a gale but the thing that kept her awake was 'drips'? Wouldn't it be the window rattling? Perhaps sleet lashing against the pane?
 

NajaNoir

Senior Member
This is a 3rd pov short story. However, I feel that the intro paragraph is confusing. It's confusing me, as I've stared at it so long, the words have begun to lose their meaning. Is it right? Fixable?

"In Idyll, they are at a time of peace. The occasional machine malfunction leads to the sporadic throwing of a Molotov cocktail, but it was no longer enough to entice either side to a full-blown war. There was no point to it. Humans had given them purpose. In turn, the Seven had become a vital part of human existence, willing to aid them in life and guide them into death, whenever the need arose. Don't misunderstand, it was not a love-thy-neighbor just for the sake of it refuge, love has no business there."

I want it to show that there is still slight unrest, but it never leads to outright war between the robots and the humans. The humans realize, such a thing would be futile.
Help...please and thank you.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Sounds interesting! Everything is fixable. Just a few thoughts:
"In Idyll, they are at a time of peace. (replace "they' with who they are.)The occasional machine malfunction leads to the sporadic throwing of a Molotov cocktail, but it was no longer enough to entice either side (add the two sides in here for example, "the As and the Bs.") to a full-blown war. There was no point to it. Humans had given them (again who are they?) purpose. In turn, the Seven (the seven what?) had become a vital part of human existence, willing to aid them in life and guide them into death, whenever the need arose. Don't misunderstand, it was not a love-thy-neighbor just for the sake of it refuge, (I wasn't misunderstanding in that way...it never occurred to me. So what is it?) Love has had no business there." (I like this as the final sentence.)

I want it to show that there is still slight unrest, but it never leads to outright war between the robots and the humans. The humans realize, such a thing would be futile.
Help...please and thank you.

A great conceptual start! I wasn't sure about your tenses. I think in your mind the events you describe are very clear, but I suggest, make it clearer to the reader. Just build it out a bit more.
 
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NajaNoir

Senior Member
Sounds interesting! Everything is fixable. Just a few thoughts:


A great conceptual start! I wasn't sure about your tenses. I think in your mind the events you describe are very clear, but I suggest, make it clearer to the reader. Just build it out a bit more.
Thank you so much for replying.

It hadn't occurred to me how others might read that line about misunderstanding. Made me laugh. I think I'll take that part out completely.

I'll get to fixing it up asap.
Thanks again.
 
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