1. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    On imagery and immersion

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Greenwood, Dec 14, 2015.

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering how vivid you think this paragraph is. Personally, I am quite satisfied with it, but since I have looked it over quite a lot I was wondering what the choice of words, length of sentences and description
    would do for an objective reader. Completely lacking in both context and explanation of what is going on, of course :)

    "His heart was racing. "What a strange dream" he thought, still startled while opening his eyes. The sun had already set, and the grasshoppers were no longer singing. His chest was itchy. Reaching a hand underneath his shirt, he felt that it was soaked with sweat. He shivered. It was considerably colder. Of the hills and fields, only a black silhouette was visible while the red hue of twilight filled the sky above the horizon. The birds had gone. Colonies of bats soared silently through the air above him, diving and ascending like a stack of leaves caught in the wind. Bewildered, he got up. He must have slept for hours."
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I thought it was good - I like the detail with the bats. I have only a few suggestions which you can take or leave - I'd maybe consider clipping stack of - and just leave it as leaves caught in the wind.
    I also wasn't quite clear what - it referred to in the ' It was soaked with sweat ' sentence it could've referred to his skin or shirt. Also I'd maybe flesh this out with some tells helping fill in his state of mind or disorientation of going from dreamland into twilight with bats overhead. As the details are giving us hints but it could use something to pull it all together. Of course this is only a snippet so there could be something more I'm missing.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You don't need quotation marks for thoughts because they're reserved for dialogue. There also needs to be a comma before "he thought." By itself, this paragraph is fine. But because context is important, it's hard to say whether or not this passage is a good fit with what's around it. Just something to keep in mind.
     
  4. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    That makes a lot of sense. I rewrote the sentence to "Reaching a hand underneath his shirt, he felt that the cloth was soaked with sweat" and put down that comma plus cutting the quotation marks as thirdwind said. I left the "stacks of-" piece in, as the comparison is between a colony of bats and a stack of leaves. Just a personal thing , I'll keep your suggestion in mind the next time I make comparisons like this.

    Thirdwind: Are the quotation marks for thoughts a matter of "don't need" or "should never do". In a lot of my writing, I think the quotation marks are quite important, as sometimes thoughts are mixed with dialogues or other text and leaving them out would imo cause some confusion, or perhaps that is just a matter of form?

    As the paragraph implies there is a dream preceding this passage. Quite a lengthy one in fact. I reckon the point that it could be fleshed out a bit, so as not only to make the dream interesting, but give a more lengthy image of one waking up from it as well, still half in dreamland. Any suggestions as how I might do this? Things like "where am I? he thought." don't quite do it for me, and I find it hard to put that feeling you have in the first seconds after waking up into words.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You should never use quotes for thoughts. Quotes indicate that the words inside them are spoken aloud or externally (e.g., telepathy). Thoughts, on the other hand, are a form of internal narration.
     
  6. Mr. Galaxy
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    Mr. Galaxy Member

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    You use "he" and "his" a lot. Especially this line "Bewildered, he got up. He must have slept for hours." It feels choppy when I read it (I have this problem a lot myself in my own writing) try mixing up your descriptive words more, use the character's name in place of "he" and merge short descriptive sentences. Whenever I catch myself giving little bites of information I try to put them altogether, play around with what your trying to say.

    "Bewildered, he got up. He must have slept for hours."
    "Bewildered, he got up, must have slept for hours."
    "Bewildered at how much time had passed, he got up."
     

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