?

Do you think it is impossible for me to write good paragraphs?

  1. Yes

    4 vote(s)
    36.4%
  2. No

    7 vote(s)
    63.6%
  1. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33

    I am getting FREAKING pissed off!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jan 18, 2015.

    This is a paragraph. It doesn't say anything other than three things, that it is a paragraph, that it is clear, and that is doesn't say anything other than those two things and this one. But that is a lie, because I also said something else just now that was not mentioned before. WHY CAN'T I WRITE A FREAKING CLEAR PARAGRAPH??
     
  2. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,586
    Likes Received:
    5,073
    Do you really want an answer?

    I think you're having trouble because:

    A) You're trying too hard;

    and

    B) Your ideas aren't clear or logical. This may be related to the "trying too hard" problem - maybe you're shooting to be profound, and are ending up just muddled?

    Did you write the exercise on "how to scramble an egg" or whatever it was? How did that go?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
    obsidian_cicatrix likes this.
  3. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    No. I do not think it is impossible for you to write a clear paragraph. We have conversed away from your writing and your thought processes are clear and concise. Only when you attempt to create these things with "rhythm" do you obfuscate your intent.

    You are trying too hard.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,875
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    :confused:
     
    Lemex likes this.
  5. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    But it seems like you are saying my writing is unclear simply because it contains archaic phrasing. If I write using only modern phrasing, would that eliminate most of the obscurity, or does my writing have other problems?
     
  6. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    A paragraph is just a collection of sentences with a single essential idea. What exactly is the problem with it?
     
  7. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I did not say this. No one loves an archaic word revival more than I do, seriously. :) You have this intent of creating long, ponderous, complex sentences. You said as much in an earlier thread. You want to magnify the sentence. This alone, all by itself, is not a worthwhile goal. Because there is no just cause for the length and complexity of the sentences you create that are full of backtracked logic, they force the reader to read back over and over again in order to cobble together an order of operation that makes sense.

    Is the use of archaic flair also an issue? Yes. Because again, there is no cause for it here other than twee adornment.
     
  8. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    Can you explain more about backtracked logic and how I can avoid it?
     
  9. obsidian_cicatrix
    Offline

    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,711
    Likes Received:
    1,453
    Location:
    Belfast, Northern Ireland
    I do have some thoughts but I'd like a bit more context. Apologies if this is a question that has been asked already. Are the small pieces I've been reading fictional or autobiographical in nature?
     
  10. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    Why would that matter?
     
  11. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    You have managed to write an unclear paragraph right there, which I find amusngly ironic. As others have said, you're trying too hard.

    So, to dissect why the above paragraph is unclear:

    This is a paragraph.
    Techically it's a sentence. But fine, it's true we can have sentence-long paragraphs in creative writing.

    It doesn't say anything other than three things, that it is a paragraph, that it is clear, and that is doesn't say anything other than those two things and this one.
    Technically your paragraph hasn't quite said anything yet, since "that it is clear" and "that it doesn't say anything other than those two things and this one" hadn't been stated before. You've included it as a list of what the paragraph includes. That does not mean the paragraph really includes it.

    For example, I could say: Mary is beautiful. That sentence says nothing other than the fact that Mary is beautiful.

    But I cannot say: This is a sentence. The sentence says only two things, that it is a sentence, and the fact that Mary is beautiful.

    ^Do you see why it doesn't make sense? The sentence "This is a sentence" has only said that it is a sentence. It has not mentioned a thing about Mary. That I claim in the next sentence that it does say that is odd. You did the same thing with your own sentence.

    And what does "and this one" refer to? That the paragraph only says 3 things: first, that it's a paragraph. Second, that it is clear. Third, that the paragraph contains three things? This last claim was in the same sentence as the third, new statement, making it confusing to separate.

    Technically your paragraph contains a list, actually, or else if you're referring to the sentence-long paragraph, then the only thing it says is that it is a paragraph, and none of the other 2 things you attribute to it.

    But that is a lie, because I also said something else just now that was not mentioned before. WHY CAN'T I WRITE A FREAKING CLEAR PARAGRAPH??

    No, it's not a lie. Because if you haven't said it yet, then you cannot have "also said something else" - considering the fourth thing you say in the paragraph is "Why can't I write a freaking clear paragraph??" - that question, the 4th item, comes after the sentence where you claim you told a lie. The chronology is wrong, and yet the past tense form "said" indicates that what came after should have come before. Basically, by saying you've already made the 4th statement before it was actually made, you confuse the reader.

    In other words, it should have been:

    Why can't I write a freaking clear paragraph?? So, my statement that this paragraph only says three things is a lie, because I have just made a fourth statement within the same paragraph.

    Now, what baffles me is what you wanted to achieve by writing all that? You only really had one point - that final exclamation: "Why can't I write a freaking clear paragraph??" That is abundantly clear. I do not understand what purpose those other proceding sentences served... You see, that's an example of trying too hard, I think. It's like you can't just get to the point, which in itself is actually very simply and clear, and you somehow feel the need to go round and round in circles...
     
    Shadowfax and matwoolf like this.
  12. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Ok. :) Here is the last paragraph you posted in the penultimate thread.
    Here the confusion happens in the second clause of the sentence. It sounds like an interjected statement, not like part of the question that it concludes being. It throws the reader off.
    Just look at the number of clauses! I am left anxious for a moment to inhale and continue. This is a sentence worthy of my culture, Latino, where Spanish holds paragraph-long sentences to her bosom like beloved children. It's too long and complicated to follow the logic of it. I am left confused at the end concerning just who you actually want on that throne? The Tyrannical Her or the person who is the object of this epistle.
    This one is fine.
    Conclusion with no rational basis. I said you shouldn't be mad at me so don't be mad at me... because I said it.
     
  13. HelloImRex
    Offline

    HelloImRex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    172
    The poll isn't working. I was going to vote yes not because I actually think that, but because I feel like its a poll set up to get a specific response and set up to get attention. The result would be funnier if people voted yes.

    The bolded part in that paragraph is unclear to a point where I don't know what it is supposed to be saying. Also, this is a tangent, but is bolded not a word? I always hear it in relation to bolded text. Bolded text or the part in bold. I guess people talk funny, I'll save bolded for dialogue.

    1. Of course you can write a clear paragraph.
    2. I don't know if you try too hard but I do know you get too frustrated.
    3. Someone recommended this list thing, it seems to make things clearer.
    4. The downside is the last number in the list often contains extraneous information.
     
  14. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,586
    Likes Received:
    5,073
    There are different structural guides for different genres, for one thing.

    Like, if you were writing an essay, a simple (simplistic, really, but I think it would be a good place for you to start) format is:

    Introductory sentence making a claim of some sort
    Evidence to support your claim
    Concluding sentence that essentially restates your first sentence.

    For example:

    I have trouble writing clear paragraphs. I tend to write long, convoluted sentences that people tell me they have trouble following. I also try to use archaic language, even though there's really no reason to use it. On top of all that, I often try to be profound and express complicated ideas, even though I don't really seem to be able to explain these ideas. And, of course, I am obsessed with the 'rhythm' of my words, and seem to have let this get in the way of clarity. For all these reasons, I struggle with writing clear paragraphs.

    But if you're not writing an essay, a different format would probably be more appropriate.

    And if you're writing fiction, your word choice might be justified by characterization. But if you're writing non-fiction, there's really no excuse for it.
     
    HelloImRex likes this.
  15. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I think the argument the character's trying to make is this:

    I meant you no harm and it was not my intention that you should be corrupted by power. The reason why I did everything I did was for the good of the tyrannical Her, as well as for you. I wanted you on the throne at first, because I thought Her was tyrannical and wanted her to learn her lesson and become a good woman first. Once she has learnt to be kind and gentle, I wanted to restore her to the throne, but alongside you - not instead of you - and rule the kingdom together, the two of you, in the gentle way you already rule the kingdom.

    So, since my intentions are for your good and the kingdom's good, why are you mad at me?

    ^something like that?

    Although "youthful imagination" seems to imply the narrator is doubting himself... lol
     
  16. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    Was that long sentence unclear because it was too long, or because it contained two many clauses, or because the clauses were not related to each other properly, or what? I am not exactly sure what is the problem with that sentence.

    The reason I feel justified writing long sentences is because I read this book:


    I think that's the one but I'm not sure.
     
  17. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,586
    Likes Received:
    5,073
    At some point you should probably either stop asking for advice, here, or start taking it.

    (Amazon links don't show up well, but whatever your book was - it doesn't seem to be working for you).
     
  18. waitingforzion
    Offline

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    Yeah, but not the youthful imagination part.
     
  19. HelloImRex
    Offline

    HelloImRex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    172
    I disagree with people saying archaic words makes the writing unclear. Sure, it makes it sound older and messes with the voice, but its not at all why the paragraphs become hard to follow.

    The writing of a clear paragraph eludes me. For I tend to write long, convoluted scriptures filled with frivolous clauses that my readers find troublesome. Archaic language is fun, I use it cause it dope. Furthermore, my ideas are profound like a goose flying over a volcano and laying an egg on the reader's head.

    Yeah, it is hard to write archaic and keep a clear head, maybe it is a big part of the problem.
     
  20. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,586
    Likes Received:
    5,073
    Well, the paragraph in this thread doesn't contain archaic language and it's still unclear, so I agree that the archaic language isn't the sole problem.

    But I think in general, it's adding to the problem.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  21. HelloImRex
    Offline

    HelloImRex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    172
    I would say just write ideas that have simple beginnings and ends.

    A happened and resulted in B.

    Not,

    A happened because A was feeling under the weather and felt an emotion that led to a contradiction in action that upon being realized was too far along to be corrected despite the constant incentive to turn the sinking ship around and with this sinking ship the imminent result of B drew near for time was passing at its usual constant rhythm and now B was here complaining about the clarity of it all.

    Edit:

    This paragraph is about three things. This is C now leading into A, and B and here's C again. Also, I lied, here's D. E here states I'm mad.

    You could've just done,

    This paragraph is about three things. This is A, B, and C. Oh, I forgot D, I guess I lied. EEEEEEEEEE!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
    Mckk and BayView like this.
  22. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    What book is it? Type out the name of the book and then hyperlink it. It's the little chain link icon you see in the tool bar. Select the text you want to hyperlink, click on the chain link icon, paste the link into the box and click "insert".

    Like this: The Complete Harry Potter Collection

    Btw, in answer to your question: it's a combination of all those things you mentioned.

    It doesn't matter if you feel "justified" - I'm afraid whoever wrote that book you tried to show us obviously knows better how to write/use long sentences, and you haven't quite learnt it yet. If readers don't understand your writing, it honestly doesn't matter what your justification is, unless you write without the intention of having it read by anyone other than yourself, ever. That's fine too, but most writers want to be read.
     
    BayView likes this.
  23. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I once read a book that assured me that I could learn to play guitar and drop panties (or skivvies, be that my persuasion) at any hipster local coffee joint. I bought the book, the DVD that came with, and a $600 guitar that turned into nothing more than an expensive bit of decoration in my living room.

    That book, Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read, isn't a pass into automatic huge sentence writing. It isn't an upgrade. All of us are justified in writing long complex sentences. No one needs permission or the word of a guru. You only need purpose and reason to what you do. That, and practice. If that book is saying that form is more important than content, then that book is flat-out wrong. Even in the most regimented of writing, the form cannot come at the expense of content.

    Yes
    Yes
    It is a combination of factors.

     
  24. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I think the problem is the order of your thoughts, sometimes they don't seem to be working forward in a linear fashion but rather helter skelter or backwards.
    You offer a reaction and then explain what happened. That works more in the movies than in fiction because it's disorienting and viewers don't mind being momentarily disoriented. Reader's don't.
     
  25. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I hate to be crass in quoting this, but it's true. You're terribly stubborn, which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. I have been told over and again by critics here in the forum that referring to an MC in one of my works by his prisoner ID #, and nothing else, is a bit off-putting. In fact, his prisoner ID# is the title of the book, 313 (Three Thirteen).

    I don't care how often I get told that it feels strange. It's an important part of the story, the vast majority of which will never get posted here, so the contextualization of that number won't be made clear. I understand this and accept it. I don't keep looking for ways to get people to agree with it, because doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time, is, at least, one well known definition of insanity.
     

Share This Page