1. savage_cushions
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    savage_cushions New Member

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    Writing in the past tense - recalling an event that happened recently

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by savage_cushions, Feb 27, 2013.

    Hi
    I would be grateful for your advice/thoughts:

    I am writing a piece in which the protagonist is remembering an event that happened a few days ago in which a fridge was dumped at the side of the road. If you read the following, you will see my problem - the word HAD, which feels as though it is necessary but sounds dreadful at the same time:


    "The fridge HAD arrived on the back of an open lorry driven by two ill-mannered oafs. The men HAD climbed down from the cab, laughing and swearing, made their way to the rear of the vehicle and released the back gate. Without ceremony, they HAD put their combined weight behind the fridge causing it to topple and land head-first on the road. The vulgar banter resumed and, having secured the gate, the men HAD driven away without a backward glance."

    Many thanks and all good wishes
    Savage
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Hmm, I don't think the usage of 'had' is that bad here. Although when I read it, capitalising the 'had' puts emphasis on it...it would probably be less noticeable without the capitals to a normal reader. It's only one paragraph anyway and not the whole of the story so it's not that much of a problem. But if it does bother you that much, you could lose the had in these bits:

    I personally think the sentence still reads like a 'remembering' paragraph just fine without those two.

    Hope this helped~
     
  3. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I'm not sure "HAD" is dreadful. I think the following is actually worse, but it is one possible alternative (assuming for the sake of argument your POVC is a she and you're writing in 3rd person):

    "She remembered the fridge arriving on the back of an open lorry driven by two ill-mannered oafs: the men climbing from the cab, laughing and swearing, making their way to the rear and releasing the tailgate. Furious, she recalled them putting their shoulders behind the fridge and toppling it head-first onto the road. She could still picture them securing the gate, vulgar banter continuing, and driving away without a backward glance."

    I avoided "had" completely to make a point - of course, a mix between the two methods may be preferable.

    [EDIT]Your first post? Welcome to the forums :)[/EDIT]
     
  4. savage_cushions
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    savage_cushions New Member

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    It's amazing when you stare at something for hours and cannot fathom out a better way of wording it, then pass it to someone else and they immediately solve the problem. Thank you, duly humbled
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all you need is the first and last 'had'... get rid of the others...
     
  6. savage_cushions
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    savage_cushions New Member

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    Thank you mammamaia, iolair, and youniquee for your kind comments. At the risk of being self indulgent, how does this sound:

    He recalled ‘Frigid Bridget’ arriving on the back of an open lorry driven by two ill-mannered oafs, the men climbing down from the cab, laughing and swearing, making their way to the rear and releasing the tailgate. Without ceremony they had put their combined weight behind the fridge causing it to topple and land head-first on the road. He could still picture them securing the gate, vulgar banter continuing, and driving away without a backward glance.How curious, he had thought at the time, I wonder when they’ll come back for it.

    Thanks again, what a great site!
     

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