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Where Do The Commas Go Here? (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
This is a bit of an odd one. Normally I don't have much trouble with things like this but I can't get my head around where the commas should go, if any. Don't say 'cut', just tell me where the commas should go :)

I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, the frayed curves, the cream trim, a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket tucked behind; a bookmark for credentials yet to be printed. I figured it didn’t really matter right now. The look is what mattered, and it looked cool. Really cool.
 
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Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
First, tucked behind what? Trim could be anything, and has no clear connection to the ticket - I'm assuming you mean a band of some sort, so. perhaps:

I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, its frayed curves, and the cream trim/band holding in place a £4.50 ticket for the Saturday matinee - a bookmark...
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora; the frayed curves, the cream trim, a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket tucked in the band. A bookmark for credentials yet to be printed. I figured it didn’t really matter right now. The look is what mattered, and it looked cool - really cool.

How I'd do it. Mileage may vary and all that. 8)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
So ... where would the comma go here. Do I even need a comma there?:

'a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket tucked behind'
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
First, tucked behind what? Trim could be anything, and has no clear connection to the ticket - I'm assuming you mean a band of some sort, so. perhaps:

I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, its frayed curves, and the cream trim/band holding in place a £4.50 ticket for the Saturday matinee - a bookmark...

I might change it to band at some point. This isn't a finished paragraph and nor is it proofed. I just want to know how that section I highlighted should be punctuated. I'm writing it like this deliberately for 'voice' reasons. I can alter it according to that voice at a later stage.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
So ... where would the comma go here. Do I even need a comma there?:

'a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket[COMMA] tucked behind'

You could put one there, but you don't have to. While both are valid, the flow is subtly different, a little slower and more thoughtful, with it. Without it, the pace is a little swifter.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
You could put one there, but you don't have to. While both are valid, the flow is subtly different, a little slower and more thoughtful, with it. Without it, the pace is a little swifter.

Ok, I'll try that to see if I can keep the voice. This is a new voice I'm working on. It's a 13 year old boy who sees himself as a Mickey Spillane type private investigator. So, what I'm doing is giving it the flavour of those old novels but applying more adolescent imagery to it. I'm still playing right now until that voice just 'happens'.

I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, the frayed curves, the cream trim, a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket, tucked behind; a bookmark for credentials yet to be printed. I figured it didn’t really matter right now. The look is what mattered, and it looked cool. Really cool.

I examined my deckchair face in the mirror, folded, begging for good weather. The rain had been filthy lately, the need to flex written on my wicked, cracked lips. The sun don’t shine for a pale skin like me. There’s a torrent in the lean-to I call my head. Still, the need for lip-balm noted.


That's the general flow and voice I'm going for but nothing here is set in stone.

edit: Yeah, I think that still reads and keeps the voice I'm after. I reckon I'll keep that.
 
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Phil Istine

WF Veterans
This is a bit of an odd one. Normally I don't have much trouble with things like this but I can't get my head around where the commas should go, if any. Don't say 'cut', just tell me where the commas should go :)

"I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, the frayed curves, the cream trim, a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket tucked behind; a bookmark for credentials yet to be printed. I figured it didn’t really matter right now. The look is what mattered, and it looked cool. Really cool."

Although the piece would probably be shown as grammatically incorrect by software, I do like what you are trying to do with this extract.
I thought "...tucked into the band..." before I scrolled down and saw someone else mentioned it.

As far as comma placements go, for that type of sentence they look fine. However, I would ditch the semicolon and use a dash instead, because a semicolon doesn't feel quite right for that.
Other suggestions (even though you haven't asked - sorry!) would be to reduce the five adjectives in "...£4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema...". It looks like it would flow better if you simply use "...Saturday matinee...". The name "Odeon" is probably irrelevant and "cinema" can be worked in shortly after by referencing a film or movie. If you must hint at the price, maybe show what kind of seat you had whether it be cheap, expensive etc. Or maybe you can use Odeon shortly afterwards rather than cinema. To me, five straight adjectives looks like an info dump.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
"I fingered the brim of my battered black fedora, the frayed curves, the cream trim, a £4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket tucked behind; a bookmark for credentials yet to be printed. I figured it didn’t really matter right now. The look is what mattered, and it looked cool. Really cool."

Although the piece would probably be shown as grammatically incorrect by software, I do like what you are trying to do with this extract.
I thought "...tucked into the band..." before I scrolled down and saw someone else mentioned it.

As far as comma placements go, for that type of sentence they look fine. However, I would ditch the semicolon and use a dash instead, because a semicolon doesn't feel quite right for that.
Other suggestions (even though you haven't asked - sorry!) would be to reduce the five adjectives in "...£4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema...". It looks like it would flow better if you simply use "...Saturday matinee...". The name "Odeon" is probably irrelevant and "cinema" can be worked in shortly after by referencing a film or movie. If you must hint at the price, maybe show what kind of seat you had whether it be cheap, expensive etc. Or maybe you can use Odeon shortly afterwards rather than cinema. To me, five straight adjectives looks like an info dump.

Thank you as always. What I'm going for is a Raymond Chandler like protagonist. Sarcastic, cynical, snaring, scathing etc. BUT, this is a 13 year old, so anything you'd normally get from Raymond Chandler, which includes quite list heavy descriptions, needs an adolescent slant. Having listened to Raymond Chandler quite a lot in preparation for this, I know without doubt, I'm never going to get close to his style, so I'm trying to find a 'flavour' rather than an emulation, if you get my drift. The '£4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket' line is deliberately long for that reason.

In the end, I may not even use it this way or I may shorten it as suggested. It just threw up an interesting puzzle for me and I felt a need to know. :)

Here's another 'unproofed' section so you can better understand the tone I'm going for:

I examined my deckchair face in the mirror, folded, begging for good weather. The rain had been filthy lately, the need to flex expressed in my wicked, split lips. The sun don’t shine for a pale skin like me. There’s a torrent in the lean-to I call my head, a baked in feature like the white noise of a detuned TV. Still, the need for lip-balm noted.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Thank you as always. What I'm going for is a Raymond Chandler like protagonist. Sarcastic, cynical, snaring, scathing etc. BUT, this is a 13 year old, so anything you'd normally get from Raymond Chandler, which includes quite list heavy descriptions, needs an adolescent slant. Having listened to Raymond Chandler quite a lot in preparation for this, I know without doubt, I'm never going to get close to his style, so I'm trying to find a 'flavour' rather than an emulation, if you get my drift. The '£4.50 Saturday matinee Odeon cinema ticket' line is deliberately long for that reason.

In the end, I may not even use it this way or I may shorten it as suggested. It just threw up an interesting puzzle for me and I felt a need to know. :)

I get you now - that could portray such a focal character quite well. That's one reason why critiquing snippets can be fraught - not knowing enough about the type of character the author is writing about. Mea culpa, because you only asked about commas :)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I get you now - that could portray such a focal character quite well. That's one reason why critiquing snippets can be fraught - not knowing enough about the type of character the author is writing about. Mea culpa, because you only asked about commas :)

LOL. Yeah, I do realise. That's why I often specify what I'm looking for. :) It very rarely works as intended though ...

I actually added a little to the post above to demonstrate the tone I'm going for.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
LOL. Yeah, I do realise. That's why I often specify what I'm looking for. :) It very rarely works as intended though ...

I actually added a little to the post above to demonstrate the tone I'm going for.


Much to my chagrine, I see you gave a brief summary of the focal character in an earlier post, and I missed it. I must try harder :)
 
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