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  1. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Is there a better way to write this?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Norm, Jun 6, 2011.

    I am concerned about two things:

    1. This is my first time using the word 'however' to join two sentences. Does it flow well? It seems kind of awkward to me, but I can't think of a better way to write it.

    2. I used a lot of pronouns in this paragraph... is it coherent? Meaning, can you tell who is doing what?
     
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  2. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    I can definitely tell who is doing what. As for the word "however" (and I'm very guilty of over-using it), to me it can sound too formal and essay-like, especially in a fast-paced action scene. I would suggest maybe using "yet" or "but". Simple, but maybe if you're worried about it, more effective. Just my opinion, though.

    Edit: the more I read it over and over, the more I think using "however" might be ok. I think it's the semi-colon that's throwing me off. Perhaps you could try just "...into the tile floor, however, the pain..." or even "...into the tile floor, but the pain..."
     
  3. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    1.
    2.
    3.

    I agree that 'however' may not be the best choice. Of the three above, which one flows the best?
     
  4. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    Number 3 is easier to read because the sentences are not quite so long. There's room to "breathe". And yet, number 2 flows better, it doesn't lose any intensity in the action the way number 3 does (the full stop kind of pauses the action before the reader learns the result of the crash into the floor). It's all up to you, though, of course.
     
  5. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I'll go with number two most likely unless anyone has something superior to offer.
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Number two reads the best, I think.

    WOOOOAH. LOONG sentence is LONG. Complex sentence is complex!

    Try reading that, then try reading the following:

    I just hope that helps a bit. It's just a long, complex, and slightly unwieldy sentence.
     
  7. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    While some people agree that the word, "However," can be too formal, you can sit back and write your sentences from your character's perspective, as if you are writing dialogue, and it can be fragment sometimes. Readers will know that your improper grammar can be intended for a character's thought, and not just the writer. But if you are writing from your perspective, and not the character's perspective, using "However," can sometimes be too formal in a writing piece. You can use this word sparsingly, but it can be replaced and removed. Readers may understand your intent.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You didn't ask, but I would drop "painfully". I think we can assume that a "crash" will be painful.
     
  9. McHamlet
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    McHamlet Member

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    I think it is fairly clear who is doing what here and it's an interesting scene but I agree with cruciFICTION. I think it's unnecessarily long and unwieldy particularly since it's all about the action. I also think the comparison of the two types of pain at the end is somewhat awkward.

    Specifying that Norm yelled as he was swung around but just before Mr. Amello released him makes it hard to describe what would have been a fairly quick and dramatic action in a succinct way. I think if it were me I would sacrifice that level of specificity and drop the passive "he was being swung around" combining it similarly to cruciFICTION into something along the lines of:

    "“****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung him around and released him sending his body flying briefly through the air before crashing painfully onto the tile floor."

    (or maybe "“****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung him around before releasing him sending his body flying briefly through the air before crashing painfully onto the tile floor."

    These give almost as much detail as the original but are significantly shorter and snappier.

    The next part is harder to fix I think. You want to say that Norm's crashing onto the floor was painful (which you have done in the previous clause) but that it wasn't as painful as the fact that after he crashed onto the floor his face wound rubbed along it for a couple of yards. The way you did it originally though -using however- seems logically to involve a comparison with the entire previous sentence. When I read "however" in this situation, I expect to read something that describes a contradictory or surprising turn of events compared to the entire event of that previous sentence (not simply focusing in on the adverb "painfully"). For example (using your original previous sentence not my alteration above):

    "His body flew through the air for a moment and then crashed painfully into the tile floor. However, with a deft movement of his torso he regained his footing and turned to face his aggressor."

    This to me seems more natural (though 'but' would be a better fit to the style than "however").

    I think if you really want to emphasize the pain of the face wound rubbing along the floor being even more painful than falling on the floor in the first place you don't need to use "however" or "but".

    You could maybe try putting it all together like this:

    "“****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung him around and released him, sending his body flying briefly through the air before crashing in pain onto the tile floor, a pain that was followed by the even worse torture of his newly acquired face wound dragging along the tiles for a yard or two.
    "


    or (as there are possible minor objections to the wording above):

    "“****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung him around and released him, sending his body flying briefly through the air before crashing onto the tile floor, which painful as it was, was nothing compared to the torture of his newly acquired face wound dragging along the tiles for a yard or two."

    Or some variation. Anyway, nice scene. Made me think.
     
  10. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I think you need to cut some words, but also you should be aiming at about four sentences there. It seems very unwieldy and cumbersome.

    “****!” yelled Norm during the brief time in which he was being swung around right before Mr. Amello released him. His body flew through the air for a moment and then crashed painfully into the tile floor; however, the pain of the impact was nothing compared to that of his newly-acquired face wound rubbing against the floor for a good yard or two.

    The first sentence has a lot of mixed tenses.

    You said ‘painfully’ and then talked about ‘pain’. I don’t think you need both, or perhaps use different words.

    ‘Rubbing’ is more of an annoyance – I think you need something stronger.

    I did a couple of edits; that’s what I’d do.

    “****!” yelled Norm, as Mr. Amello swung him around. Suddenly, Mr Amello released him, and his body flew through the air and crashed into the tile floor. The pain of the impact though, was nothing compared to the pain of his face-wound scrapping against the floor.

    Hope it helps you think about your sentence more clearly. Good Luck

    PS: Maybe hyphenate face-wound as it's an unusual phrasing.
     
  11. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    McHamlet and darkhalo, I like what you have suggested with the last sentence, let me try another edited version and see what you guys think:

     
  12. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    “****!” yelled Norm during the brief time between Mr. Amello swinging him around and releasing him. His body flew through the air for a moment until it crashed into the tile floor - which wouldn't have been so bad if not for the added pain of his newly acquired face-wound scraping against the floor for at least two yards.

    Sounds much better, although I wouldn't bother with the dash as floor - which, but a full stop, because it's still a really long sentence.

    “****!” yelled Norm during the brief time between Mr. Amello swinging him around and releasing him. His body flew through the air for a moment until it crashed into the tile floor. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except his for it meant his face-wound scraping against the floor for the next two years.

    'wouldn't have been so bad if not for the added pain.' This bit reads a bit cumbersome - just try cutting some of the words out. I know it seems important, but sometimes you have to be a tough editor as well as a creative writer, to get the results you need.

    I didn't mention it before, but if the sentences are shorter it gives a faster pace to the piece, so you know it's full of action. (At least that's true in a lot of cases).

    :)
     
  13. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    1.
    2.

    Which is better?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    say that bleeped word aloud, while watching the second hand on a clock/watch... how long did it take?

    now swing a couch cushion around and let it go... how long did that take?

    do you see your first major problem with that first sentence, aside from it having way too much action gluck tacked onto the dialog tag?...
     
  15. McHamlet
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    McHamlet Member

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    Of the above I prefer 1, although I'd probably avoid the repetition of floor maybe by using tiles in the second instance and just floor in the first. In that way you make it obvious it was a tiled floor without repeating either tiles or floor.
     
  16. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    This:

    “****!” yelled Norm during the brief time between Mr. Amello swinging him around and releasing him. His body flew through the air for a moment until it crashed into the tile floor - which wouldn't have been so bad if not for the added pain of his newly acquired face-wound scraping against the floor for at least two yards.

    Can be condensed to this:

    “****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung and released him. His body flew through the air and crashed into the tile floor. The recent wound added to the pain as his face scraped against the floor.

    Too many words and detail... what you lose in description you sometimes make up for in the the effect of short snappy sentences.

    And better yet:

    “****!” yelled Norm as Mr. Amello swung and released him. Norm crashed into the floor. The recent wound added to the pain as his face scraped against the tiles.

    Sorry to be intrusive and changing what you wrote so much, hope it helped though :)
     
  17. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except that Norm profanes in between being spun around and being let go. So I imagine that it's the second (or thereabouts) right before he's let go. It's a slightly more complex description of when it happens, but it's possible.

    Also, words have the ability to be lengthened when you speak them. "Crap!" can become, "Craaaaaaaaaaap!" and so on.
     
  18. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Thank you McHamlet, that is a very good idea.

    What happens is that Norm is snatched by the ankle when he is trying to kick the man he is fighting. The man then swings him around to get some momentum (like, one spin) and then lets go to throw him through the air. Norm yells "****!" sometime between being lifted up by Mr. Amello and realizing that he's about to go flying into what he would probably assume is a wall of something.

    _______
    Here is probably what I'm going to stick with, unless anyone else can see a glaring imperfection that I missed:

     
  19. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Hmmm.. but you haven't really listened to what people are saying. They're saying make it shorter and less convoluted. This doesn't solve any of the original problems. It reads slightly better than before, but only marginally.

    You've got to take a knife to this sentence and cut it up! Stop being so precious about it.
     
  20. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    What he said.
    There is far too much detail, the reader really wont care if it was two yards or five, or whether the wound was new. Also, mentioning that the floor was tiled should have been mentioned earlier on (if at all), so as to not break the action.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that ditto...
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ditto ditty die ditty do.
     

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