1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Damn English! Damn Grammar! GRRRR!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by cutecat22, Jan 3, 2015.

    Hi, guys!

    I am trying and failing to re-word a particular sentence. I know exactly what I want to say, I just cannot seem to find the words. I'm trying to say that the presence of a character's grandson is not lifting her spirits after she's lost one of her own children. So far I've tried:

    Mamma seems to be in a world of her own. Most of the time, I find her either in Dante’s room or in the orangery, sitting alone and staring into thin air. Even Vincent’s presence isn't able to lift her mood.

    Mamma seems to be in a world of her own. Most of the time, I find her either in Dante’s room or in the orangery, sitting alone and staring into thin air. Even the presence of her grandson doesn't seem to make her smile.

    Mamma seems to be in a world of her own. Most of the time, I find her either in Dante’s room or in the orangery, sitting alone and staring into thin air. Even Vincent’s presence does little to lift her spirits.


    I could do with a word shuffler! Or a new brain ...

    xx
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  2. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Mamma seems to be in a world of her own. Most of the time, I find her either in Dante’s room or in the orangery, sitting alone and staring into thin air. Even Vincent’s presence does little to life her spirits.

    I like the third example best. Only in this example there is a nice contrast between what something does and doesn't. I think
    it's because of the negatives present in the other examples ( "Vincent’s presence isn't able to lift her mood." and "Even the presence of her grandson doesn't seem to make her smile.")

    The fact that there is no negative in the third example (Even Vincent's presence does little...), the sentence being positive, and still it doesn't help, is particularly strong in my eyes :)

    It subconsciously implies that her family is trying to cheer her up to no avail.

    I also like the third because, when going through the first two I thought "Aha! No wording with "spirits" or "high spirits" or "lift somebody's spirits"! Gottcha! Aaaand then you got me :D
     
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  3. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    I don't know the age of little Vinny, but you could perhaps turn it all around:

    I watch little Vinny's face. He seems guarded with his nana, as if her lifeless spirit was crushing him as well.

    Then bring in some setting.
     
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  4. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    thanks, guys. This has been sending me loopy for the last hour. Vincent is four years two months old.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    She barely even notices when Vincent is in the room with her. (assumes it has already been established how important Vincent is to her)

    Context is important. Those sentences don't stand on their own, they lie in a larger context. Use it.
     
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  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It is part of a larger section but I just needed to get the little bit in there about her grandson not being able to light up her day as a reason later on, for Vincent to actually spend more time with his dad and granddad rather than his grandmother.

    I just, for the life of me, could not get the words to work this morning.

    xx
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some sort of re-write is required. Is she normally fond of Vincent? I know it's her grandson, so would it have to be said that she would normally find his presence uplifting. I wonder if the last sentence is needed. Perhaps include something in the first sentence, Mamma seems to be in a world of her own, even with Vincent...
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    she would, but she's just lost her 24 year old son, Vincent's uncle.

    And in the most cruellest way, too!
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What POV are you using? Can you run the scene from Vincent's perspective?
     
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  10. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, good point, I recently read a book where the main character dies and the scene is through the eyes of the grandson. It was very effective.
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It's from the POV of Vincent's mother who is the grandmother's daughter and the deceased person's sister. Written in first person present tense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The family are gathered for the young man's funeral. The grandmother started out with three kids, Vincent's mother is the middle child and only daughter, the other two are now not here for whatever reason and so Vincent's mother now finds herself as an only child, something she's never experienced before.

    She wakes in the night to find her mother sat in the kitchen in the dark, in her silk PJ's (very affluent family) but nursing a glass of hard liquor - mother doesn't drink.

    So the sentence comes from part where Vincent's mother is going over the situation in her mind just before she finds her in the kitchen, it's sort of an info-dump following a short time skip, but told as thoughts and memories from the mind of one of the main characters.
     

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