1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    How can I improve this sentence?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Alesia, May 28, 2013.

    "AJ Connor came to consciousness laying on the ground, cold dirt in her face, mouth filled with the taste of sand and blood. "

    I came up with this off the top of my head while I was outside smoking and quickly wrote it out. I kind of like it, but I know it has lots of room for improvement. Any suggestions?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The only thing I noticed that should be improved is that the person should come to consciousness lying on the ground, not laying on it. To lay means to place something in position. To lie is to be in, or move into, a horizontal position.
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I don't think it comes off short and snappy enough, seeing as coming round from unconsciousness is a pretty strange thing. I'm not sure the 'AJ' is needed here (if this is the first sentence of a novel, you can state 'AJ' a little later) and in my opinion, perhaps there should be a period roughly halfway through, to show the abruptness and bizarreness of the situation. E.g. "Connor came to consciousness lying on the ground. Cold dirt stared her in the face and her mouth was filled with the unusual combination of sand and blood."

    Obviously this is my own writing style, but hopefully you understand what I mean. :)
     
  4. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Well I've never felt "cold dirt" before and it wouldn't be "dirt in her face." it would be "dirt on her face."
    And i wouldn't say "Mouth filled with taste," I'd say "She tasted"
    I'd rewrite it as

    "AJ Connor was on the ground when she was conscious. Dirt covered her face, and she tasted sand and blood."
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If AJ has dirt in her face, there's a good chance she's lying on the ground but why does she have a taste of sand in her mouth? Is she now on the beach? Or a building site? Or what else would taste like sand?

    AJ Came to in the foetal position, dirt covering her face, coughed up blood and sand. Fishermen landed their boats across the beach, or were they the pirates she just evaded last night? Swollen eyes blurred her vision and she couldn't risk a cry for help, however much pain she was in.


    Obviously dump most of that but just an idea.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'd maybe drop consciousness it sounds a little formal.
    Maybe swap laying for curled - curled reinforces hurt, wounded or vulnerable.
    maybe clean up 'mouth filled with the taste of' because it simply means to taste anyway.

    AJ Conner came to curled on the ground tasting dirt and fresh blood from a cracked lip wound.

    Interesting to see how everyone rewrote this line!
     
  7. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    "AJ Connor came to consciousness laying on the ground, cold dirt in her face, mouth filled with the taste of sand and blood. "

    Conmor awoke face down in the dirt, her mouth filled with blood and sand.

    Of course, sentences are not separate things floating all by themselves out in space. They are part of a larger unit: the paragraph. And how it fits into that paragraph dictates a good deal about how it should be phrased. I've been trying to get people here to understand that if they are having problems with a sentence, they need to view it in context to its placement within the narrative flow.

    Help others help you people. Give us the context not just some sentence hanging out in space.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    deleted by user...
     
  9. NathanRussell
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    The 'AJ Connor came to consciousness' part seems to have too much alliteration for my liking; I feel like it divagates from the impact of the sentence as a whole.
     
  10. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    So you're thinking I should change it to something more along the lines of:

    "Laying on the ground, cold dirt in her face, mouth filled with the taste of sand and blood."

    Then go from there?

    In that situation, does something like this work in a 3rd person past tense to start out? As in showing what she's experiencing from her point of view.

    "Laying on the ground, cold dirt staring her in the face.(I like the way Thomas put that) "
     
  11. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Or should I omit the thing about the taste entirely? There's other stuff going on like men arguing, footsteps, someone smoking a cigarette...
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Consciousness is the only word in the sentence that bothered me. I'd go with 'awoke' or change it up a bit to, "When AJ Connor's world came back into focus ....
     
  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    OK back story: This is the same MC from this topic.

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=62149

    If you read the set up there, she's been in the military, had alot of things happen during that time, and so on. This story is a prequel to that story dealing with some of those events. In this particular scenario, she's been taken captive by hostile forces. Shes waking up, bruised, beaten, and disoriented on the dirt floor of an abandoned building with a bag over the head/blindfold something like that covering her vision. She has to rely on hearing until they pick her up onto to her knees and pull the blindfold off. Then a chain of events gets set in motion that leads to her exit from the situation.

    Hopefully some of that helps.
     
  14. Dorotha
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    Dorotha New Member

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    Maybe this?

    Connor awoke and realized this was not a good day. She was lying face down in the dirt with a mouthful of blood and sand
     
  15. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    That's actually very good, but will it work with a blindfold angle? Maybe something like this: "When AJ Connor's world came back into focus, she found herself greeted with darkness."

    Also, when you say
    does "coughing up" automatically imply it's from the lungs or can it apply to spitting it out, like you got hit it the mouth and your face dropped into the dirt?
     
  16. Webster
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    Webster Senior Member

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    AJ came to on the cold ground, her mouth bloody and full of sand.
     
  17. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I second Nee's sentence. It says everything that is necessary.
     
  18. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    This is what I came up with:

    "AJ Connor awoke lying face down on the ground, coughing up blood."

    Now I'm just having trouble figuring out where to go with it lol. Should I jump into the pain aspect right off, or something else?
     
  19. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need to rethink the 2 -ing words there. As for the following sentences, imagine yourself in that situation. What would you feel? Sometimes a person is in shock and doesn't feel pain straight away.
     
  20. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I get where you're coming from. You mean revise it to:

    "AJ Connor awoke face down on the ground, coughing up blood." yes?
     
  21. escorial
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    A J tasted blood and sand as she came around from her ordeal.
     
  22. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's better, although it means that AJ was waking up and coughing simultaneously, which strikes me as slightly unusual although not impossible.
     
  23. WordsRefined
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    WordsRefined New Member

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    This is the best suggestion I've seen so far. Though I would change 'came to' to 'woke' or something else. Came to sounds good aloud but doesn't read as well.
     
  24. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    AJ Connor awoke on the ground, dirt on her face, mouth filled with sand and blood.
     
  25. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    AJ came to on the cold ground, her mouth was full of blood and sand.
     

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