1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Two Questions About this Paragraph

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jan 18, 2015.

    1. Is it clear?
    2. Does it have rhythm?

    How have I offended you, and to what great measure, that you refuse to be my friend? In the early times I sought to rear you up, even to place you on a throne, to supplant her whom I deemed a tyrant in my youthful imagination, that you might make the outcasts one with the popular, and humble her that she should yearn for power in futility, until she had learned the ways of gentleness, and be restored to her first throne, to do as you do along with you. But if through the increase of power you were corrupted, none of that was my doing, nor my desire. Therefore, what have you against me? You ought to return and be my friend, and we will make no mention of the early days.
     
  2. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The sentence in bold is by far too complex, segmented and long. I lost my bearing about a third through it and even after a couple of re-reads I can't get my mind around what you're really saying here. Try to split it up in smaller fragments and reorder the words a bit to make it flow better as a whole.
     
  3. Chiquitta
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    Chiquitta Member

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    If it were smaller fragments, it would be easier for me to praise, that I would.
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's like Yoda on speed.

    The words in a logical order are not, though work alone they may, yet words of grandness, words of archaicness and oddity, words they are, together all jammed, reason there is not, and clarity there is not, and beginning to seem misogynistic all this talk of thrones and learning gentleness is.
     
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  5. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a mushy pile of words that tells me naught. Why the obsession with long sentences?

    If rhythm is so important to you, why not just write poetry? Poetry has guidelines, and you seem to know a lot of words, so keeping meter will be a breeze. You'll probably have a lot of fun with it, actually.
     
  6. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I didn't split up the sentence but is this better?

    How have I offended you, and to what great measure, that you refuse to be my friend? In the early times I sought to rear you up, even to place you on a throne, to supplant her whom I deemed a tyrant in my youthful imagination, that you might make the outcasts one with the popular, which she had segregated, and let her live for a little while among the shunned, until she learns the right ways of a ruler, and earns a place beside you on the throne. But if through the increase of power you were corrupted, none of that was my doing, nor my desire. Therefore, what have you against me? You ought to return and be my friend, and we will make no mention of the early days.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is not clear. I have no idea what you mean. It does not have rhythm. You are sacrificing clarity and getting no payback for that sacrifice. The same is true of the second try.

    It seems clear that you are completely and utterly ignoring any and all advice that you have ever been given.

    I'm going to say, once again, probably to no effect, that you clearly can write clearly, in your forum posts. If we asked what in the world you meant by this paragraph, you could probably tell us, coherently, as a forum post, because it would be a forum post.

    You need to write as if you're writing a forum post.

    I say this over and over. You ignore it over and over. I hope that I will stop responding to your posts. I really do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
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  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The way I see it, you have two options. The first option is to realize that no one talks/writes like that anymore (i.e., "What have you against me?" would be written as "What do you have against me?"). Like I've said many times before, you really need to read more contemporary literature and practice writing accordingly. By not doing this, you're essentially setting yourself up for failure because I highly doubt an agent/editor/publisher will pick up anything written like that. The second option is to attempt to build a time machine and move back to the 19th century. I highly recommend the first option.
     
  9. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    To be brutally honest, I thought it was a very poor imitation of Shakespeare. That sort of description requires the reader to spend more time deciphering what is being said than actually reading. A few pages and they will give up. ChickenFreak has given you a mountain of good advice but you continue to pay no heed.
     
  10. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am trying to understand this. The first part seems to be: -

    Have I offended you because we aren't friends any more? I held you in great esteem when I first met you.

    After this I really started to get lost...

    You replaced a tyrant. I hoped you would put outcasts on an equal footing with the popular and that the former tyrant would learn from this and come back kinder. However, if you were corrupted by this power I apologise. Can we be friends again?

    Is this an accurate translation?

    What is this about?
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My guess--and it's completely a guess, rather as if I were trying to translate Italian (a language that I never studied)--is:

    Why are you mad at me? I used to think you were wonderful. I wanted to make you more popular than that popular Mean Girl. I thought that if you were more popular than her, she'd learn her lesson and be nice, and we could let her be popular again--you know, along with you. But if you turned into a Mean Girl too, that's not my fault. So what are you mad at me for? Be my friend, and we'll pretend none of that messy stuff happened. OK?

    I'm imagining it being about a sequence of events in a high school or junior high school.
     
  12. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha. Yes, this is what I thought as well, I just didn't like to say it.
     
  13. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    So what parts of my version are archaic so that I can avoid them in the future?
     
  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you should try reading your work out loud? Or do that exercise where you record some normal conversation and then transcribe what people say? Or stop reading books written or set in historical (or fantasy) settings, and just read some regular, modern prose for a while.

    I mean, it's not going to do us any good to go through and point out the archaic phrases in THIS example, because there are plenty more you can dig up for the NEXT attempt. Somehow you need to start learning how to recognize these things yourself.

    And, as always - stop worrying so much about the damn rhythm!
     
  15. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I tried to make this version clearer and better.

    Not that I demonstrated this in my revision, but I think I know why my writing is not clear. It seems that I am not presenting information in an organized way. Some sentences refer to things which the reader could not possibly know, and those things are a prerequisite for the reader to understand them. I am supposed to move from old information to new information, and make sure that if the reader does not have the information in his mind already, I must provide it before going on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you've hit on one reason why your writing isn't clear, absolutely. I think I pointed it out about two weeks ago, and I'm pretty sure I've seen other people mention it since, but... okay. Yes. I agree that it's a problem.

    But I don't think it's the only problem.

    archaic, but, okay. Depending on your purpose/audience, I can see it working.
    I don't think "rear you up" is the right phrase. "raise you up", maybe?
    We're talking about high school cliques, right? So all the throne stuff is pretty over-the-top, but... okay. Maybe that's more of a style issue than a clarity issue? Maybe.
    What? She "caused the land to shun" people? So... we're NOT talking about high school cliques. We're in some sort of fantasy setting, and there's witchcraft involved? If not, if this is meant to be imagery - what the hell does it mean? What's a modern context for causing the land to shun people?
    This is where your language is clear, but your idea isn't. Why the hell would someone learn gentleness by living among... well, I guess among the land-shunned? I don't follow it at all
    Maybe in context this makes sense? Again, these isolated paragraphs are not helping you out. It's possible that this would all make sense if we saw the bigger picture, but without the context, I don't understand this co-rule situation, or much of anything else.
    Okay. fairly clear language, but total bullshit. Of course it was your doing, and of course she has something to hold against you. You played god, manipulated their lives, and when it didn't turn out it's all their fault? That's nonsense.
    I'd say the language got clearer toward the end, but the ideas didn't.

    Write a short story. Write a full scene, at least. You need some context for all this.
     
  17. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I cleared it up a little.

    I just can't figure out how to do a critique in the workshop. If I could just do some critiques, I could prepare something for others to critique. But I want to ask for a book recommendation, not on mechanics, but on the structure of paragraphs and how to organize information clearly. I think what I really need to focus on is making my thought process clear, and structuring my ideas clearly in paragraphs, since paragraphs are the unit of composition. I will still try to write a whole piece, but I am not yet comfortable critiquing in the workshop.
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then maybe you should try to put less into your paragraphs. At least one of the reasons your writing is unclear is that I have no idea what the hell I'm reading.

    I mean, I still don't know if this is set in a contemporary high school or a fantasy world with witches. So I can't use any contextual clues to help me figure out what you're trying to say.
     
  19. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am confused, is this a joke? I have been assuming it is but I am not sure.
     
  20. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Let's just treat it is a fantasy world but not with witches. "Caused all in the land to shun" doesn't require magic.
     
  21. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Okay here is the point. When I was little I used to make fantasy out of normal everyday situations. So if there was a popular girl, she was a queen or a princess, and such like that. That is where I am getting my ideas from but I want to write fantasy not normal stuff.
     

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