1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Can you start a sentence on a verb, dropping the pronoun?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by peachalulu, Oct 28, 2012.

    Here's an example of what I mean -

    Run till I drop.

    That's not the sentence I'm going with but I started a short story on a verb.
    It sounds pretty good, sort of like a poem but what's okay in a poem might not
    be acceptable in a story. Or maybe I need to combine it to the second
    sentence with a :
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As it stands, your sentence is in imperative voice. You could certainly say that to command yourself not to quit. But as I understand your context, you intend it to be a present tense action, in which case it is a fragment. The subject is missing.

    Fragments are acceptable in fiction, but this one could be mildly confusing.
     
  3. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I agree with Master Cogito. Because fragments are accepted in fiction it is okay to have that type of sentence. However, it would better suit your purpose if we could have an example in context. The context is what will give meaning to whatever sentence is written in this fashion. :p
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Here's my opening sentences and seeing them fresh - I'm noticing I've probably busted up a long sentence into
    fragments and it's coming across more an order for the reader. -

    Fill up my coloring book world. Use these blank nameless shades I have been given. And like Adam with his parade of
    bestial whosits, I, too, must name them. But I’m not Eden-born and can not conceive a name from scratch, I can only find
    a symbiotic link to hook them to.

    I was thinking of starting with Goal: fill up my coloring book world. But it sounds like I'm turning a poet mood
    into a shopping list. May not be bad, but I don't think that's what I'm going for - though the character is a
    bit of a sarcastic jerk.
     
  5. JQJohnson
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    JQJohnson Member

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    Honestly, I find it a tad difficult to read. "Fill up my coloring book world" sounds like a command to someone else. I found myself expecting a list of things that you want someone else to do. "Fill up my world. Keep me from being lonely. Join with me to light the darkness." As I kept reading, I found myself spending a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on. A sentence like that might hold emotional impact if the paragraph started with a more traditional subject first sentence.
    And that's just one woman's opinion. I think a good writer can make almost anything work.
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I would, perhaps, try adding "-ing" to the verbs and see how it works for you. I can see the poetic-ism in the sentences, its just really vague. By that I mean, They work in that order like a poem and creating an interesting puzzle. unfortunately, people would have to read it 2x to get a clear picture. You want it to be clear the first time. The next paragraph or set of sentences should bring clarity to this.

    Again, it works, but it is not a strong hook. And it leaves me wondering what is going on. Honestly if I didn't find anything in the next paragraph or two to bring clarity to this and start the story moving I would probably move on to another story. But that is me personally.

    You are successful with your imagery and the creation of this poetic style, but It just demands more faster. It brings up the question of who is the narrator and what is the relevance of this?. :p Is she/he writing in a journal? Are they thinking out loud? Is this person goth? These are the types of questions it rises. Perhaps when you are comfortable you could submit the first couple paragraphs in the workshop so we can see. Just like above it doesn't accomplish much on its own. it makes a nice poem, but it just seems to stand seperate from the rest of the work [which I have yet to see] lol

    I hope that helps I don't mean to sound negative, at all. :)
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think your paragraph, as a stand-alone, is a little confusing. I had to wonder what you mean by "Fill up these colouring books. Use these blanks..." - is that a command, or was there some poetic meaning behind it that I just completely missed, or is there a word missing? I wasn't sure. As the read more, I decided that they were commands - the character is reading from a colouring book or else reciting some instructions his teacher gave him.

    If your paragraph is put in context with the rest of the story, it could be ok. For example:

    And etc - you get the idea. Given the context of the paragraph above, I'd say my sentences of "draw a diagram" or "Get five test tubes" are self-explanatory. But without the context, you might wonder - although test tubes and bunsen burners are quite specific to scientific experiments, certainly in school, so the specificity of the subject (is that a subject? Not a grammar wizz sorry) also helps eliminate ambiguity.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That is called the present participle. If used in a noun context, e.g.
    then the participle is also referred to as a gerund (although that term is declining in popularity).

    Substituting a participle for the verb changes the sentence in tone, if not in substance, so it is no panacea.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, peachy, but it makes no sense to me at all... methinks you need to rethink that...
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Is this any clearer?

    My world is as a void as a coloring book. Fill me up it begs, use those blank nameless shades you’ve been given. Name them like
    Adam with his bestial whosits. But I’m not Eden-born, I can not conceive a name from scratch, I can only find a symbiotic link
    to hook them to.

    it is always going to sound a little confusing till you discover what he does for a living further on - he names colors.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Of course you are right, but For me it turns the command into action and though it only really changes the tone, the implicit meaning changes for me as the reader. As it is, it is ambiguous-- a command, or a set of instructions. When I read it using gerunds it implies that the narrator is doing something:

    Fill up my coloring book world. Use these blank nameless shades I have been given. And like Adam with his parade of
    bestial whosits, I, too, must name them. But I’m not Eden-born and can not conceive a name from scratch, I can only find
    a symbiotic link to hook them to.


    then becomes

    Filling up my coloring book world. Using these blank nameless shades I have been given. And like Adam with his parade of
    bestial whosits, I, too, must name them. But I’m not Eden-born and can not conceive a name from scratch, I can only find
    a symbiotic link to hook them to.


    Even though there is still no context as to the significance of this, it is clearly narrator exposition, perhaps thought into their own life.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even though it is an inanimate object, you are metaphorically endowing it with a voice, so what it says is dialogue:
    I've also converted the run-on final sentence into three complete sentences.
     
  13. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Yes, this is much more explicit. This is clearly a reflective idea being shared with the readers.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    My world is as a void as a coloring book.

    ..'is as a void as' .makes no sense...
     
  15. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Okay, how's this -

    My world is a waiting coloring book. “Fill me up,” it begs, “Use those blank nameless shades you’ve been given. Name them like Adam with his bestial whoozits.” But I’m not Eden-born. I can not conceive a name from scratch. I can only find a symbiotic link to hook them to.

    Sorry to bug you guys with this, but I'm really trying to polish this story. The opening is giving me the most issues.
     

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