1. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Missing Stuff Out

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TLK, Aug 12, 2013.

    Firstly, I have no idea what to call this thread (hence the rather ambiguous title), as I have no idea what you would call this issue. However, an issue it is, which is why I'm here.

    Anyway, essentially, the problem is the fact that I find myself having to write in sentences into my novel which sort of make the passage "lose momentum". My issue is whether these things are necessary or not and that's the question I'm asking you.

    Now, you're probably wondering "why would any sentence that slows the passage down be included? Surely this is a no-brainer?" Well, allow me to explain with an example I have literally just come across.

    In the part of my novel I'm writing up at the moment, my characters (about a dozen of them in this bit) are fleeing through some dark tunnel of an underground temple. Naturally, they have torches (not the electrical kind, but the fire on the stick kind - this is a fantasy novel, after all) so they can actually see where they're going. At one point, a few of the characters break off from the main group to fight some enemies, giving time for the others to escape. Now, this is a high-tension bit, where the fighting characters prepare themselves for the oncoming assault. But they're not going to fight with torches in hand, so I find myself having to write in how the characters "use their torches to light the torches on the walls of the tunnel" and then they brace themselves and whatnot. It just feels so weird and it slows the whole passage down.

    So, what do I do?

    I could completely ignore the torch-lighting. Would my readers be so engrossed in the fight sequence (let us presume it is well written) and so not notice the fact that, actually, my characters would be fighting in the dark?

    Do I do make my characters fight with the torches?

    Or do I include it anyway?

    I'm currently thinking the latter option, but I can't find any way to actually fit it in without it slowing the passage down or making it sound weird and unnecessary. Help on making it fit would be helpful too.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    doesn't sound all that hard to me, for you to include that info in an effective way... why don't you post the paragraph where you've included it so we can see if it works ok, or does slow down the action, as you fear... if the latter, we can suggest alternatives...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  3. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    How about tagging it onto another sentence? Something like, "While lighting the wall torches, they mentally braced themselves for the oncoming fight." Maybe you're already doing this, but, if you're giving something like the torch lighting its own sentence, that might be making it feel slower.
     
  4. Kammygirl
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    Kammygirl New Member

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    I agree with mammamaia. I don't think it should be too difficult to add this bit in. In the particular example you've given, to keep the momentum going and create a bit of suspense you can include maybe a struggle to light the torches on the wall and an enemy approaching. Ex. "As Michael struggled to light the torch closest to him, Ashton closed the last 5 feet between them, dagger raised high." Maybe he lights it in the nick of time and dives out of the way of the dagger. This way it is included in the fight scene and you don't leave the readers wondering why they are fighting in the dark.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Keep the sentence short and succinct - something simple will do, like, "They lit the torches around them quickly."

    The trick is not to draw attention to it. But anyway, it doesn't sound like a problem at all - I think you might be worrying too much. It's okay to give some facts here and there - just keep them short and sweet.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    avoid starting sentences with 'as' or using it in any instance where you're tying actions together... newish writers almost never do that in a way that makes any sense and it's not a good way to start a sentence, in the first place...
     

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