1. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    Really Simple. Struggling on old, simple grammar

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by DischargedKombat, Jan 15, 2013.

    I just have a few questions on grammar, mostly due to the fact that I'm taking a approach with the controversial use of semi colons and constant dashes. This is my preferred style, but sometimes I find myself knowing something's not right and that I should've have used a different punctuation. Keep in mind that I do not flood my story with semicolon's--but there is a big use of them in the story. I must stress that am not attempting to be fancy; I just prefer them. (I do not use semicolons in dialogue.)

    It didn't help the plan, so the assassin thought nothing of it. Above the phone area was a detailed sign, establishing what could be ordered and what could not. There were customizable pizzas and fresh ingredient choices in red letters. On top of the ingredients and printed in yellow italics, a new, free additional side to pizzas was given—small cheese cups. Supposedly it gave more flavor to the already cheesy pizzas. (Dash or colon?)
    NEXT

    There was a circle in the middle of the table. Something told him it was a gadget of some sort. Karven was sure that the place, even though underground, had no security cameras, and was sound proof to where listening devices from a distance couldn’t be heard. The door was behind Barnes. There were no vents; it was safe. (Dash or semi colon?)
    NEXT

    But now, after rethinking it, she had decided he was lying to her—she could tell for some odd reason. Being with him so much had given her some sort of Grande intuition, the force of their connection causing some sort of lie radar. For Grande, to be able to tell when he was lying was crucial. He couldn’t just have any teenage girl predicting him in a matter of months. (em dash? or colon? Or neither? I know there is there is one separate clause, but, I'm still confused.)

    Thanks If you broskis could help... You guys are stupendous...
     
  2. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Colon.

    Semi-colon, or even period, which would be my preference.


    I'd go with a dash, but I'd change the clause to "--she could just tell." You go on to explain why she could tell, and it isn't that odd, to me.
     
  3. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    “The French can do nothing,” Violet replied. Violet felt the seats of the Camry, the leather; it felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.(Semi colon?)

    NEXT

    He knew the surgeon really well; the man was actually the same one who stitched up his bullet wounds from the betrayal in Le Havre. (semi colon?)
    NEXT

    And now here Karven was; the fate of the OPS was already in turmoil. How was he going to stage Violet away, but still use her to decrypt the drive? How was he going to hide her from the French agents? His agents’ skills would be tested, just not in the intended way. (Semi colon? Have no idea what else would go here besides a period)
    NEXT

    Violet felt a mental *****-slap. If Grande were here, he’d rage. He would call her pathetic; she knew what she was doing was unprofessional. (Semi colon? or dash?)
    NEXT

    On a side note, I've always felt like I had my style down... It's just sometimes I'll go to other books and other current authors are using it incorrectly because they need two independent clauses, not just a random pause... But that might mean some evolution is taking place in semicolons... I don't know...
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even better, re-write to avoid these short, jerky sentences and the repetition/wordiness. Your sentences and phrases tend to be the same length when they are snipped up with semicolons and dashes.
    I am not trying to dispense a free edit or impose my style on you, but I feel the issue here is forcing punctuation to make the ideas and sentences link when there are basic problems with cohesion and flow that have to be considered. I had similar trouble several years back, especially as I was used to academic writing. Hope this is of help, and good luck.

    E.G.
    “The French can do nothing,” Violet replied. Violet felt the seats of the Camry, the leather; it felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.(Semi colon?)

    Violet felt the leather seats of the Camry. They were warm despite her mother’s overuse of the air conditioning.

    NEXT

    He knew the surgeon really well; the man was actually the same one who stitched up his bullet wounds from the betrayal in Le Havre. (semi colon?)

    He knew the surgeon really well. The same man had stitched up his bullet wounds from the betrayal in Le Havre.

    NEXT

    And now here Karven was; the fate of the OPS was already in turmoil. How was he going to stage Violet away, but still use her to decrypt the drive? How was he going to hide her from the French agents? His agents’ skills would be tested, just not in the intended way. (Semi colon? Have no idea what else would go here besides a period)

    And now here was Karven, with the fate of the OPS already in turmoil. How could he stage (what do you mean, “stage”?) Violet away, but still use her to decrypt the drive? How was he going to hide her from the French agents? His agents’ skills would be tested, just not in the intended way.

    NEXT

    Violet felt a mental *****-slap. If Grande were here, he’d rage. He would call her pathetic; she knew what she was doing was unprofessional. (Semi colon? or dash?)

    Violet felt a mental *****-slap. (I don’t understand this.) If Grande were here, he would rage and call her pathetic. What she was doing was unprofessional.
     
  5. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    I really wish I could understand why I write certain ways sometimes... I seem to love wording it a little different than others (I stay out of this thought in dialogue.)

    She would let them take on her--all of them.

    She would let them take her on--all of them.

    Even though the flow is obvious, I would choose the former...

    Also, I am obsessed with what I call "unintentional thoughts." a person always thinking a said sentence in a narrative thought

    Example:

    “The French can do nothing,” Violet replied. Violet felt the seats of the Camry, the leather; it felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.

    (Here we have Violet touching the seat of the Camry. She feels the seats, then she thinks: the leather, it felt so warm despite her mother's use of air conditioning.)

    Violet felt the leather seats of the Camry. They were warm despite her mother’s overuse of the air conditioning.

    (Here is similar, but I don't get the feeling that the leather feel comes after the air conditioning. I get the feeling that she feels the leather which is description, then they feel so warm after the air conditioning. I openly admit that the latter is more structured than the former but the feeling is different.)

    I think my processing is different. But keep em coming folks. I love change.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Violet felt the seats of the Camry, the leather; (you mean, she felt the leather seats? Why not say so? Otherwise, we read it and think, The leather did what?) it felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.
    The problem for a reader with the above is that there are 2 jolts in the sentence. You have the tacked on "the leather" and then there is the extra clause after the semicolon. I think you may be reading this in your head as little wisps of thought which seem natural to you, but trust me, it gets annoying to read if there are pages of writing going on like this. It's like trying to read going over speed bumps all the time. Vary the length of sentences and phrases, and use interruptions, splices and added-on thoughts etc as sparingly as possible.
     
  7. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    In that case, would you mind helping me in these situations? I can keep em coming and you can explain why something doesn't work. Because as you've said before, processing might come differently from reader to writer. I'll send any more bumps I come across.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Feel free to PM me as a reminder if you post work for critique here and I'll be happy to have a look. As I said, I had a similar longing to use semicolons and dashes a few years back as I hadn't written for a while. After writing more, I loosened up and got more fluent. I think it's a fairly common phase inexperienced writers pass through and it's good to be aware it. Take care, I look forward to seeing more of your work.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm confused here. Is "the leather" supposed to be primarily linked with "Violet felt" or "it felt so warm"? I would find the sentence less awkward as:

    Violet felt the seats of the Camry; the leather, it felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.

    Which of course is pretty much the same as:

    Violet felt the seats of the Camry; the leather felt so warm despite her mother’s overuse of the car’s cool air conditioning.

    I have other comments on the sentence, but they go past the grammar question and might get my post dropped as being more appropriate for the review room. :)
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read the whole thing, just the sentences in which you highlighted in red. In those sentences I think you used all the punctuation correctly, even though it would be easy to not have to use them, by either separating the clauses with a comma or a full stop. But if this is your preferred style, I don't see anything grammatically wrong and it reads well.
     
  11. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    Personally to all, I thank you for helping me during this time. I agree that most of my writing has been having problems lately because I have been reading or writing lately. I suggest to everyone, If you don't want to lose fluidity and synchronization, do not stop reading or writing. This leads to bad habits. Although I agree with everyone that my sentences are structured correctly, I also agree fluidity has taken a toll on my ability to process words on paper. But If you can continue to help, it would be much appreciated...

    What I have been seeing lately mostly is two things that aren't grammatically incorrect, but are considered what I call informal runnons.

    Number one:

    To answer her inquiry, behind the man were small, red balloon targets the size of a football. Violet counted twenty of them. Each one flew into the air, just above about ten to twenty feet apart, with a small brick backboard stationed in the background in case the pellets penetrated.

    (The problem here is the overuse of adjectives. It makes the sentence sound wrong when verbalized, but it still works. Kills fluidity overall... Suggestions?)

    Another one I have been having problems with lately is this: Placing commas in the wrong locations, or worse, not placing a comma at all.

    Example:

    “It’s one hundred dollars, Violet.” Dawn wined, “It’s a lot of money.”
    (Is there a comma here?)

    “So, this is how it works.” The announcer began. (Here?)

    “Well, I think he was amazing. Probably better than you two ever will be.” Dawn looked at Violet, “What do you think, Violet?”

    I actually blame it on my writing hiatus. I never pointed out these things before. But I might be second guessing myself... I don't know just yet...
     
  12. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    I am new here... Must I change these aspects to the review room? By the way, thank you for clearing up the sentence with a semicolon. I think in semicolons and commas, so it really helps when someone edits that way...
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say "the size of footballs" to make the number consistent. But were they really there to answer her inquiry? I think the adjectives are fine, though.
    Yes, although I doubt Dawn "wined". "Whined", maybe. And you might want to check your local conventions for punctuation and quotations, because I doubt they'll correspond to what you've done.
    It depends. It's fine with or without it, but the meaning is different. Again, watch how you are punctuating quotations, though.
    And again, the one you've highlighted isn't the one that worries me.
     
  14. DischargedKombat
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    Oops! dititig! I appologize! I never really realized that I wrote that punctuation wrong! I seem to just fly by when I open quote end quote... Let me fix that for you.

    First one: To answer her inquiry. It just out of context. Answer as if it wasn't there, since that's what started the paragraph I put it there. You answered my question about the adjectives, and that they needed no comma in between any of them. This was what was before.


    Second:“It’s one hundred dollars Violet,” Dawn whined. “It’s a lot of money.” (I actually think this is what I was going for.)

    “So this is how it works,” the announcer began.
    (This was what I was going for. The break in so is unneeded. The only reason i needed it was because someone breaks in after, but the announcer actually pauses. I thought an initial pause would make it make more sense, but I don't think so, now that I think of it. People can break in after you start your initial sentence in real life, and that requires no dash...)

    “So this is how it works,” the announcer began.
    “Excuse me.” Davy butted in, finally catching up to the game stand. Harold was behind him, still silent, while Missy held his arm.
    (although there is no em dash, it still gives that feeling, since the announcer began to explain)

    “Well, I think he was amazing. Probably better than you two ever will be.” Dawn looked at Violet, “What do you think, Violet?”
    (Are you talking about the capitalization after 'Dawn looked at Violet?' Maybe I can see the well being changed for fluidity? Now what I do see, is a mix-match of words, which happens often when I am trying to process something.)

    “Well, I think he was amazing. Probably better than you two will ever be.” Dawn looked at Violet, “what do you think, Violet?”
    ("
     
  15. DischargedKombat
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    Oops! dititig! I appologize! I never really realized that I wrote that punctuation wrong! I seem to just fly by when I open quote end quote... Let me fix that for you.

    First one: To answer her inquiry. It just out of context. Answer as if it wasn't there, since that's what started the paragraph I put it there. You answered my question about the adjectives, and that they needed no comma in between any of them. This was what was before.


    Second:“It’s one hundred dollars Violet,” Dawn whined. “It’s a lot of money.” (I actually think this is what I was going for.)

    “So this is how it works,” the announcer began.
    (This was what I was going for. The break in so is unneeded. The only reason i needed it was because someone breaks in after, but the announcer actually pauses. I thought an initial pause would make it make more sense, but I don't think so, now that I think of it. People can break in after you start your initial sentence in real life, and that requires no dash...)

    “So this is how it works,” the announcer began.
    “Excuse me.” Davy butted in, finally catching up to the game stand. Harold was behind him, still silent, while Missy held his arm.
    (although there is no em dash, it still gives that feeling, since the announcer began to explain)

    “Well, I think he was amazing. Probably better than you two ever will be.” Dawn looked at Violet, “What do you think, Violet?”
    (Are you talking about the capitalization after 'Dawn looked at Violet?' Maybe I can see the well being changed for fluidity? Now what I do see, is a mix-match of words, which happens often when I am trying to process something.)

    “Well, I think he was amazing. Probably better than you two will ever be.” Dawn looked at Violet, “what do you think, Violet?”
    ("
     

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