1. Holden LaPadula
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    Holden LaPadula Member

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    Making up words....

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Holden LaPadula, Feb 28, 2016.

    Here's the sentence.

    "Then I bled into the street and keeled, the ravishing moon outlining my blood and my beautiful corpse."

    The word "ravishing" is completely necessary, as it means both "beautiful" and "to rape" (this section of the novel is somewhat an allegory of a horrific past experience of the protagonist). But I don't like how it goes, "ravishING moon outlinING"; it sounds choppy and gross, in my opinion. My question is, would I be able to "create" a new form of the word by changing it to "ravishful", for example? Any ideas? Am I overthinking it and I should just leave the sentence as-is?

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Hi Holden, you could just split it into two sentences and make the problem go away.

    "Then I bled into the street and keeled. The ravishing moon outlined my blood and my beautiful corpse."

    I think this is better anyway because the adverbial phrase should happen at the same time as the action its connected to. Falling to the floor, he screamed for mercy. That is to say, he was screaming for mercy as he fell to the floor. In your example, your character needs to finish keeling over before the moon can do its job of outlining: they are two actions which happen sequentially not concurrently.

    On a different note, isn't the verb keel usually written keel over when it means to fall over? When I read your sentence, I missed the word over, and the first thought seemed unfinished.

    I hope this is of some use to you. :)
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Well, you can do whatever you want. Some people will turn their noses up at the grammatical inaccuracy, some people will find it unique and charming. If you're more concerned with some people not liking it, then don't do, but if that's less important to you than writing it the way you feel, do it your way. Just bear in mind that it's the sort of thing an editor would likely frown on, if you're seeking publication - not enough for them to reject your entire story, but enough for them to say "let's change this to 'ravishing' instead".
     
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  4. SMScoles
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    SMScoles Member

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    ...the moonlight ravished my beautiful corpse, outlining the blood that surrounded it.

    Something like that sounds better to me.
     
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  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Well you could separate the two ideas to keep the focus on what you want -
    Then I bled into the street and keeled. My beautiful corpse ravished by the moon. - Example.
    Or you could use
    Limned & moonlight - the ravishing moonlight limned my blood and beautiful corpse.
    of just change the tense - outlined.
    Whatever you do I think it might work better with two sentences.
     
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  6. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    I agree with the recommendation to split into two sentences. Also, "ravishing moon" and "ravishful" doesn't work for me. Especially the latter. When a word is awkward to say, it's not a very good made up word to me.

    My suggestion would be:

    "Then I keeled over and bled into the street. Outlined in blood, my beautiful corpse lay ravished by the moon."

    For some reason I didn't like bleeding into the street before keeling over. I'm imagining a spurting of A LOT of blood for some reason, a vomit of it be honest, for it to be noticeable that I'm now bleeding onto the street and not on myself or my clothes. Or maybe they are bleeding from their nose and bent over...? hehe, I have a terrible imagination.

    So I'm more imagining keeling over and my blood seeping into the street.

    If you're really hung up on the word "ravish" then maybe find a way to use ravishment?

    Good luck. :)

    ETA: I know you wanted to say "beautiful" moon but I thought that was redundant. I don't need a sentence to say, "The beautiful sun rose that morning" just like I don't need to read "The ravishing moon shone on the beautiful corpse."
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  7. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    The word beautiful was too much. The moon being ravishing already gets across the oddly positive description. Doing it twice is gimmicky. Also, I don't get how its a corpse when all that's been done is keeling over and bleeding in the street. Where did the death occur?

    Then I keeled over and bled into the street, the ravishing moon outlining my body.

    Then I keeled over, bled into the street and died. The ravishing moon outlined my corpse.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm caught on the "keeled" more than the other words, and I'm seeing other posters adding the "over" just as I want to.

    Other than that? I agree with two sentences. Making up a new word, especially when the prose is leaning toward purple as it is, seems a bit much.
     
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  9. Holden LaPadula
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    Holden LaPadula Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions! I agree that "over" should follow "keeled" and that the adjective "beautiful" is excessive. I ended up with,

    "Then I bled into the street and keeled over. The ravishing moon outlined my blood, circling my corpse like a crimson halo."

    This bit is VERY important and is meant to be powerful, as it transitions into the major section of the novel. It marks a point of figurative death and rebirth, hence "corpse" instead of "body" or "form."

    Final question: is describing the "Crimson halo" too cliché? In other words, if I took out the simile, "like a crimson halo" would the reader understand what I was playing with, in terms of the halo as a symbolic image? Should I just leave it?

    Thanks!
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think "halo" is necessarily the problem, but I'm not sure about "circling". There's really nothing remotely circular about a corpse... and with the moon figuring so prominently, my brain was tempted to have the moon doing the circling rather than the blood. It wasn't as clear as it could be.
     
  11. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about the da Vinci circle, Vitruvian Man? Of course he wasn't drawing a corpse, so yeah you're right.
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, so were you reading the blood as forming an actual circle? I was seeing it as just an outline of the shape of the body...
     
  13. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Truthfully I was not looking at it from that view point, just the impact of the statement. However if say a person was severely stabbed or shot and the blood went directly to the floor the resulting pool of blood could be a bit like a circle, body contact with the floor would obviously affect how it flowed so never really close to a true circle, but probably not like a body shape either.

    I really was truly responding to your statement, body shape not being a circle, the famous da Vinci drawing just popped up in my mind. I will never learn to keep my mouth shut, or my fingers still, I apologize if my remark offended you, wasn't meant to be that way.
     
  14. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Below is how I would convey the idea. Of course, I have just completely rewritten your sentence, so I don't know how helpful my reply is.


    "I collapsed, spattering the cobblestones with blood. The ravishing moon cast my (mangled? naked? pale? apelike?) corpse in a stunted crimson halo."

    Of course, that only works in a cobblestone street. Pavement, asphalt, dust, adamantine, the skulls of the defeated alien army, any sort of road covering will suffice.


    If you wanted to keep your sentence, removing 'then' from the front may help as well.
     

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