1. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Trouble splitting a run-on

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by That one person, Oct 11, 2016.

    Well, run-ons have always been a huge problems for me. Often, when I try to split a run-on into separate sentences, it ends up turning into three separate sentence fragments that make no sense on their own. Fun times.
    This once sentence (if you can call it a sentence) in particular has been giving me some trouble lately:
    The only solution I can think of is to split that sentence after "inside my head" and start the next sentence with "the", like so:
    Then the next sentence has a bunch of different things going on, and I'm not entirely sure how to fix it without turning it all into blatant statements rather than fitting together fluidly like thoughts. (I'm told that this is called "showing, not telling language" if that helps to clarify what I said.)
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, even if its just telling me to scrap the entire sentence and rewrite it.
    Thanks in advance, and sorry for all the questions I've had lately!
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be tempted to scrap and re-write - it feels pretty wordy and convoluted to me.

    This is partly a style issue... I tend to prefer simple sentences. Your style may be different (and equally valid). But I'm a reasonably good reader, and I'm honestly not sure what's happening in your second sentence...
     
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  3. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Alright, thanks for the reply and input, it's greatly appreciated :)
     
  4. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I tend to like strong imagery too, and I suppose my style would lean a little more towards yours. That said, like @BayView, I'm not really sure what's going on here. Let me see if I can work it out.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've identified three main thoughts being expressed:
    1) Struggling to sift through hazy memory to figure out where home is, or what home was.
    2) Some shadows of amnesia obscur the notion of home. There's a reference to the light of hope causing those shadows? This one is unclear.
    3) The character sees fragments, sometimes, or possibly visions. They assume they must be pieces of memory.

    Is that about right?
    If so, I'd probably to rewrite each of those as their own sentence. I think your second example provides a good start to rewriting that first sentence. Although, "the murkiness that called its home inside my head" is clunky and a little tough to wrap the head around. The second thought and sentence could probably be scrapped, as it seems like a redundancy, but I'm not sure because I don't think I know what you're trying to say here. For the third, you just need to focus on how to convey the vagueness of these half-remembered visions.

    You don't have to simplify your style away, just use a lighter touch when it comes to all that rich description so that the reader can easily identify what's happening. Does that make sense?
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think as @BayView says it just needs to be rewritten, some of the wordiness cut out. It's not problematic to me as a sentence in terms of run-on, but just being bulky and unwieldy. For example, you could write:

    I was exhausted after trying to pick picking through the murkiness that lived called its home inside my head, the only light of hope shadowinged the nestling echoes of the word “home” and the faintly seen visions of what I could only assume was my own past, embraced with whispers that couldn’t have been uttered by a sentient being.

    Just a few minor changes, and just an example not a suggestion that you have to write it that way of course. It retains your stye and meaning, but takes out a few words, which can make a difference in a sentence like this. Not sure about the comma I put in - I had an idea in mind there but not sure it works for me. I'll leave it up there and let you decide. Another option is to take out "what I could only assume was" to further reduce the wordiness.
     
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  6. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Ah yeah, I can see how I'm adding a bit too many words to convey something. I'll try taking out some of the extra tidbits and clean it up a bit more. Thanks :)

    Yeah, that makes sense. You've got most of the main ideas right too. I'll try splitting the ideas into their own sentences, and hopefully that'll help a but more too. Thanks :)

    Given what's been said, I've tried to rephrase it differently, both in multiple sentences and trying to prune the wordiness of it. I also tried to make it a bit clearer what the person is thinking because I realized that my intended idea was lost in the whole jumbled mess of words.
    Hopefully this isn't as much of a train-wreck as before, though I think there's still probably some issues with this:
    Is that version better and clearer, or do I still need to take out the unnecessary words?
    If it helps at all, I'm attempting to convey a sense of longing for something that the character cannot remember, and that she is close to giving up on trying to remember because it's exhausting trying to pick through her clouded and murky thoughts, yet at the same time, what images she can see offer her comfort, company in her solitude.
    Yeesh, that's more than I realized.
    The whispers were coming from something unrelated, which I have decided chosen to leave out of the section in question since it's complicated enough as it already is.
    And thanks again for the help :)
     
  7. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Yes, I like that rewrite much better. The only thing I'd change is take out the "living inside my head" at the end of the second sentence, since you already established that it's all happening inside the head in the first one. Other than yet, I think it's much clearer, and actually more emotive as well.
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Much better :agreed:
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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  10. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I Dunno - IMO you can be partially exhausted ... if exhausted is to use up or consume completely then partial exhaustion is something thats on its way to being used up but not completely - it applies to resources more than people though
     
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  11. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Ah, I see what you're saying. I actually didn't realize that murk by itself was a word, so it helps to know that too. I have changed the words accordingly in my story, thank you for pointing out these things,
     
  12. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    Yeah, but the use of 'completely exhausted' here isn't to imply that something could have been 'partially exhausted' and wasn't.

    It was simply used to write in the language that people use when they speak to each other. Which is language that editors love to cut out when writers use it in narration, calling it 'lazy'.

    But here, the word 'completely' established the voice of the subject. They are one of those people who say 'I'm completely exhausted' - its a 'sigh' the character is giving. To only say 'I was exhausted' is a different character.

    I know that it is only one sentence, but the type of person the subject is is contained within that word, whether it was intended or not.
     
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  13. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I think its fine in dialogue - as you say people talk that way and say all sorts of stuff that isnt correct , and likewise in first person narration which is essentially talking (I wouldnt however use it in third person narration where it is 'your' voice talking , not that this is germane here)

    IMo your main problems with the original sentence are in the second half not with whether your mc is exhausted or completely exhausted

    The rewrite is much better although you've introduced a number of redundancies like you don't need to say that the murkiness is thick , you don't need to say that a dying glint is strugling to shine , they can't be looming before you like a wall if things are trying to shine through them , you don't need to tell us again that its inside your head and so forth. I like less is more as a guiding principal so i'd probably write that as


    "I was completely exhausted from picking through the murk inside my head. The only thing that kept me from breaking down in frustration was the glint of hope offered by the word "home", shining dimly through the shadows of uncertainty. "
     
  14. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    Yeah. Okay.

    My old lecturers and I used to have long discussions about our love of huge sentences, which is what drew me to this thread. The discussion was generally a result of me writing ridiculously giant sentences in my fiction. But we did find out ways to make them work, and ended up finding some classic uses of giant sentences in old fiction along the way - - some of them went for pages.

    I'm a little bit sad that we are trying to turn it into smaller sentences instead of figuring out how to make it work as a big one. Haha. Oh well.

    Then again, huge sentences is a very OLD form of writing, and modern fiction does tend to shy away from them, so... *shrug*
     
  15. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    If you are interested, some of the basic tools of long sentences are the ; and the - and the pair of ( )

    Here is an example of how that would look:

    'I was exhausted after trying to pick through the murkiness that had called my head its home and found myself floating upon that very word; 'home'; 'home'; it was a light of hope; but it was shadowed; nestling within its own echoes; 'home'; 'home'; from it emerged faintly seen visions; (are these memories? my past?); but the exhaustion made these visions only whispers; whispers uttered by something that seemed to be 'not-me' but something other; something that I could not even identify as a sentient being; yes; I was exhausted - of everything - completely - even sentience itself.'
     
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your version is certainly clearer than the original, so I wouldn't object to it if I encountered it in a story. But I don't find it any more compelling than the same content with more standard sentence breaks. Like:

    I was exhausted after trying to pick through the murkiness that had called my head its home and found myself floating upon that very word: Home. Home. It was a light of hope, but it was shadowed, nestling within its own echoes. Home. Home. From it emerged faintly seen visions--are these memories? my past? But the exhaustion made these visions only whispers uttered by something that seemed to be not me but something other, something that I could not even identify as a sentient being. Yes, I was exhausted - of everything - completely - even sentience itself.​
     
  17. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    I do get that you can break it up... The only point of keeping it as one sentence would be an artistic choice aimed at creating the feeling of exhaustion in the reader by the end of the sentence...
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  18. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Ah, I see the redundancies now. Thanks for pointing those out. I'll clean them up accordingly :)

    While I like the sound of that, it doesn't quite fit the tone I intend my character to have while she's thinking about this. I do appreciate the suggestion though.

    Now hopefully, I've gotten rid of most of the redundancies and grammatical errors in the sentences, but there's still probably some left. I also tried to add some more details, though I'm not sure if they just add more problems.

    Thanks again for all the help :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016

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