1. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Nitpicking Edit Thing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mbinks89, Dec 1, 2013.

    He saw the world before him as a set of relations, and even though he supposed he had always been aware of the world’s existence as such, it was just now that he had begun to imagine the incalculable, spiderweb complexity of everything around him. Everything was an interacting assortment of atoms, . . .

    This is a quote from my story. I've highlighted the part that's annoying me. I want to replace the second "Everything" with "All," but does that sound good, and is it even grammatically correct? Any opinion appreciated.

    He saw the world before him as a set of relations, and even though he supposed he had always been aware of the world’s existence as such, it was just now that he had begun to imagine the incalculable, spiderweb complexity of everything around him. All was an interacting assortment of atoms, . . .
     
  2. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Either way it's just you talking about him, and why should I believe you? The voice in the dark whose giving me this information never identifies itself, after all.

    Instead of talking about him, and what I would know if I know him, why not show him in action and let me decide what kind of person he is? It works prettty well in life. Why change to a lecture format for writing a story? When I read I'm looking to be entertained, not lectured to by someone who is neither on the scene nor in the story. I want to live the story, and share in the decision making. I want your protagonist as my avatar, in real-time, just as in a film. No one stops the film to lecture the reader on the character's past, or what kind of person they are. They just show the action and make me feel just like the protagonist does. That works, so why mess with a winning formula? Tell the story, not about the story.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The entirety was ....

    The whole of the Universe ....

    All that ever was ....
     
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  4. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    The universe would work, thanks a lot.
     
  5. vwyler
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    vwyler Member

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    What films are you watching? Must be more recent ones.

    In older films and television, characters frequently used exposition to cover background material, and even character details, especially in low-budget B-films. I was never offended by it.

    The best scene in "Jaws" was Quint's speech about the Indianappolis. They could've filmed an extensive (and expensive) flashback sequence to put the viewers in the water with the young Quint, or make him the 'avatar' you desire, but it would have been less effective, and would have ruined the mood.

    This 'all action all the time' crap is a recent development, both in literature and in film. A story is not a video game, and the characters therein do not exist entirely to entertain the readers. In fact, it is sometimes the goal of the author to punk-slap the reader a bit, especially if the reader is of a different belief.

    Just a thought.
     
  6. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    There's certainly room for inner monologue in fiction, I think.

    As for the OP, "everything" sounds more natural to my ears.
     
  7. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    How about changing "complexity of everything around him" to "complexity around him" and leaving the 2nd "everything".
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i would suggest changing the first 'everything' to 'all' not the second... it reads better...
     
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  9. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    That's why they're grade B. And they did it because they had to with that tiny budget. But that aside, it's usually characters talking, not the author. And what that character said was directly relevant to the scene in progress. You definitely want to read what David Mamet says about a character in a film doing what you suggest.

    The moment you, the author, stop the action to talk about anything not relevant to what the protagonist is focused on, you stop the scene clock and kill all forward momentum the scene might have. You also take the reader out of the protagonist's POV. And of more importance you stop entertaining and begin informing. That's bad because people read fiction to be entertained.

    It appears that you've misunderstood the axiom "Show don't tell," to mean talking about action. But what they really mean is POV, as in placing the reader in the protagonist's POV so realistically, that the reader feels they're experiencing it in real-time.

    And if by recent, you mean after films changed the tastes of the public to expect a strong POV, you're right. But like it or not that is what the public buys. And if you're not writing with the reader in mind you're wasting your time.

    Sorry, but they do. Their only purpose is to entertain the reader. Entertainment is why people read. History books inform, and history books have it all, intrigue, mystery, adventure, romance, betrayal, and much more. But history books aren't popular, simply because they inform rather than entertain.

    With a book in his hands the timid introvert becomes James Bond, and has an adventure that in real world would leave him quite dead. That man isn't with is to be informed and educated on the life history of a fictional character. He's seeking danger, battle, and beautiful women, presented in real-time, so realistically and involving that when someone shoots at Mr. Bond the reader ducks.

    Substitute someone saying, "When James was a boy he once had a..." and the sound you hear in the background is the book's cover slamming shut.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Cinema is not a novel. Each medium has its own strengths and limitations. One limitation of cinema is time. For that reason. exposition is often presented through means less subtle than what would be desirable in a novel.
     
  11. vwyler
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    vwyler Member

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    Sorry, bud. I'm not convinced. We'll just have to agree to disagree. I've been banned from too many forums for carrying on verbal jousting matches like this. Especially considering this isn't my OP.

    Sorry, OP.
     

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