1. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Rewording this?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lucy E., Sep 29, 2008.

    'Leo Combs stepped aside to let a young woman carrying a briefcase pass.'

    'Leo Combs stepped aside to allow a young woman carrying a briefcase to pass.'

    I've tried both of those, but neither sounds right. Can you guys think of any way I could reword it where it'd flow more smoothly?

    P.S. I'm pretty sure this is in the wrong section, but I wasn't sure so feel free to move it if you want, mods. :D
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your second one sounds better to me, but either way, why not just say "a young woman with a briefcase"
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I agree with Cogito's choice and his suggestion to replace "carrying" with "with."
     
  4. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    "Leo Combs stepped aside, while a young lady with a briefcase passed by."
     
  5. TigerFire
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    TigerFire New Member

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    No clue if this is right or not, but this is what I came up with:

    Leo Combs sidestepped a young woman with a briefcase.
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Stepping aside, Leo Combs watched a young woman with a briefcase pass by.
     
  7. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    If this is from where I think it's from, the well-paced and intriguingly-plotted budding brilliant urban fantasy with fair characterization ;) Um, cut that line. I noticed in your works so far that descriptive prose isn't a strong point, but here especially... I don't feel it really demonstrated a New York sidewalk swarming with people for Leo to step aside for only one young woman to pass.

    At a shop door, maybe, or on the train, but out in the street they would all be moving, so I don't connect that with a courteous side-step so much as a courteous swerve (or dodge, if they're walking towards each other) and in a very crowded street he might not be able to help brushing or bumping against other people if he gives such courtesy to one. Or, you could just describe him walking, and the city sounds and smells and lights, what with the setting already established as crowded and that one businesswoman and the stepping-aside event not needed anymore to show how crowded it is...
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Leo Combs stepped aside, allowing a young woman with a briefcase to pass.
     
  9. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Leo Combs stepped aside to let the woman pass. She was young, in her mid-twenties, with brunette hair and a bag equally dark breifcase slung over her lovely shoulders.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My problem with this is that it puts far too much attention on the young lady. From Lucy's context earlier, she's barely noticed. just an incidental part of the scene, and that should probably be preserved. If she is indeed significant, I expect that more notice will be taken of her at the proper time.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    It really depends on what you're trying to convey wth this sentence. Is the woman (or the case she's carrying) important? If not, we can do without the specifics, especially if you're trying to show a busy street scene. Individual character interaction goes out the window in busy scenes, unless the character he (Leo Combs) is interacting with is important. For example, if the building blows up a few minutes later and it turns out she had a bomb in the briefcase :)eek:) she becomes important to the scene, otherwise don't shine a spotlight on people/places/things that really don't matter.

    If she's not important, ditch that sentence and write a few lines here and there to let us know he's weaving through sidewalk traffic, but don't go into detail about the people he's weaving through. If she is important, disregard this entire post, because the second sentence does just fine, IMO.
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Leo Combs stepped aside, for a young woman with a briefcase could pass.

    Or maybe that needs to be.

    Leo Combs stepped aside, for a young woman with a briefcase could pass by him.

    Allowing a young with with a briefcase pass by him, Leo Combs stepped aside.

    A young woman with a briefcase passed by as Leo Combs stepped aside. (This would put more attention on the young woman, though)

    Leo Combs stepped aside, letting a young woman with a briefcase pass by. (or to pass, or pass by him.)

    Those are some ideas I had.
     
  13. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is closest to Lucy's choice of words and is clearest in meaning. I agree with TWErvin.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    best of all, following the 'less is more' axiom, though even less would be better, dumping the briefcase bit... why do we need to know she's carrying one?... would he not have gotten out of her way if she wasn't?... or if she was carrying a baby, or a sack lunch, instead of a briefcase?...

    if it doesn't figure in the plot, it shouldn't be there... and if it does, more should be made of it, but not in the same sentence as him stepping aside, etc....
     
  15. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    The one I bolded is the one I think sounds better. :)
     

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