1. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    He did this and then he did that... how to avoid this?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by General Daedalus, Aug 30, 2015.

    I'm nearing the 100-page milestone and have decided to read over my work. Something I've noticed is that my work isn't an abstract story or a loose explanation, it's a direct account of events. And right now I'm finding it hard to tell said story without it feeling like a list- he did this and then he did that, and son on. How can I fix this? I do split it up with deep and insightful paragraphs and overall I do think it's still very well written, I just don't want it to feel like you're reading a simple list of events.
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Let's take the following example:

    Sandra took the glass. She went to the fridge. She put ice in the glass. She turned the water on. She filled the glass with the water. She drank it.

    Kind of extreme, but basically this is just a blow-by-blow account on Sandra getting the water. We don't want that, we want it to be a narrative. We want to experience this with her.

    God, I'm parched! Sandra rubbed her dry throat. She walked to the kitchen area and pulled a big glass cup from the cabinet. I hope Peter's doing all right, she thought as she dug her hand into the ice box. He's been very quiet since his cousin died. Maybe I should email him and ask if he'd like to hang out. She turned the faucet on and filled her cup. But first, I'm gonna save myself from dehydration. She poured the cool, relieving liquid down her throat. Thank God for working water!

    @ChickenFreak can elaborate on this a bit more. :D But that's the idea, you want it to flow like a narrative, not a checklist.
     
  3. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice :) This has given me some hope because that's pretty much what I've been doing already, I was worrying that I had to go one step further and give everything a more abstract feeling to avoid my work sounding basic.
     
  4. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have exactly the same concerns. My writing is at its strongest when I'm either writing dialogue or describing action (the 'he did this, he did that' kind of stuff you mention). Therefore my writing is made up mainly of these two elements and features very little exposition and abstract narrative.

    To be honest - as sound as the advice is - I'm not sure Link the Writer has got to the crux of the problem. Their example sounds much better than the repetitive beat of a list, but the example used still only features 'doing' things.

    I don't suppose there's anything to say your novel can't consist solely of 'doing' verbs, but it does concern me, nonetheless.

    It's also worth noting that I'm at my happiest when reading dialogue and action, as opposed to exposition and abstract stuff, which is perhaps why those elements of writing don't stay with me or 'rub off' on me.
     

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