1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    A quick question regarding 'after all'...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JJ_Maxx, Nov 17, 2012.

    I need a little help on how this sentence should be written or if it should be broken up.

    Is this okay, or am I feeling weird for a reason?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd make two sentences of this:

    It was not the blackness of night. After all, it was almost four o'clock.
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yeah I think you're right. Thanks!
     
  4. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I don't mind the "after all" -- I like conversational writing, which is what that is.

    What I don't care for in that passage is the confusion between sensation and abstraction. In one thought, you refer to the color of the sky, in the other, the time of day. How would I do it?

    ... or something like that. It aligns the senses (visual with visual, not abstract) and it also gives a sense of time ("crawling").
     
  5. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, my MC is sitting in front of a window that is 'blacked-out'. So even though it might be afternoon outside, you can't see anything through the window. I'm trying to convey that the window is black because it's been blacked out, rather than have the reader assume it's dark.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    depending on which meaning you need there, the period can go after 'night' or after 'all'... the difference in meaning could make a difference in re the context of what came before that sentence...
     
  7. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    "It was not the blackness of night, after all, it was almost four o’clock".

    To me this sentence is very clunky. Perhaps if you said;

    It was not the blackest of nights, after all, it was only four O'clock in the afternoon/morning.
     
  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    No, the meaning is more:

    The window wasn't black because it was nighttime. It was almost four o'clock in the afternoon.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just to clarify: The window was black. But it wasn't black because it was nighttime. It was, in fact, four o'clock in the afternoon. The window was black because it had been blacked out.
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I'd rather you just say the window was blacked out and it's day outside. Saves all the confusion. After all (he he), it can be 4 o'clock in the morning...
     
  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I decided to show rather than tell:

    ;)

    ~ J. J.
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I don't like it. All she could see was blackness? I am imagining that beyond the glass. That doesn't tell me it's been deliberately blacked out. With the heat outside it gets even more confusing. Just be blunt. The window is blacked out.... she can't see through it but takes comfort from the heat of the sun...
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a couple of issues with the sentence. First, it's two sentences, and that comma is not a satisfactory way of stringing the two together. You could replace it with a semicolon:

    It was not the darkness of night; after all, it was almost four o'clock.

    But American fiction rarely uses semicolons. So it could be:

    It was not the darkness of night. After all, it was almost four o'clock.
    or
    It was not the darkness of night--after all, it was almost four o'clock.

    My next problem is with "almost". That word seems to emphasize how late it is, when you want to emphasize how early it is, so:

    It was not the darkness of night--after all, it was only four o'clock.

    But that leaves the question of which four o'clock. So:

    It was not the darkness of night--after all, it was only four o'clock, not even dinnertime.
    or
    It was not the darkness of night--it was still afternoon, not even four o'clock.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    1.'struggle to see' makes no sense, unless she's blindfolded and tried to maneuver the blindfold so she could see out of it...

    2.the rest is also a problem, as selbbin notes...

    i agree it would be best to stop futzin' around and just let the readers know what the situation is, with a coherent description of the window...
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that I'd need a longer explanation here, and some following of the character as they adjust:

    Jenna stared at the window. It was dark, nighttime dark. A wild glance at the clock confirmed that, no, she hadn't lost six hours of time--it was still midafternoon. She walked to the window and touched it, her mind still searching for explanations. Had someone pasted a dark film over it? Added shutters outside? No, she could barely see the outline of the hydrangeas outside, lit by the light coming _out_ of the living room. Outside there were no light sources, no porchlight bulb, no streetlights, no stars, no moon. Except, the window was warm--it felt as if it were still being heated by the absent sun.

    I'm obviously not suggesting the above, just using it as an example of how much explanation I'd need for a phenomenon like this.
     
  16. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Good suggestion, CF! I eventually decided to use dialogue to enforce the idea of the window being 'blacked out' on purpose.

    I think this show that A: It's afternoon and the sun is out, but B: The government blacked out the window. Seems to work.
     
  17. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    You're really set on this, but it's the main bit that doesn't work. At all.

    Why not something simple like

     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    Is it 'struggled' that bothers you? I could use 'strained'.
     
  19. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It's
    that bothers me.

    If it was 'struggled' then I would have changed it in my suggestion.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    neither struggled nor strained makes much [if any] sense...
     
  21. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    How so? You can strain to see through fog, or snow or darkness. You are trying to see through something that is making it difficult.

    Is this the wrong usage?
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    I find "strained" a little iffy because it sounds like the window is flat-out opaque, so straining to see through it seems a little like straining to see through a regular wall. I don't know if that's everyone else's problem with it or not.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    they're both simply overkill there, imo...
     

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