1. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    I find myself writing this but the words don't quite capture what I want them to, examples?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Bluefire, Apr 15, 2020.

    So I'm writing a fantasy novel, but when I'm trying to describe a dagger that's super light yet super sharp, I'm having a hard time finding correct words for it to convey what I'm trying to say, my sentence is.

    Holding her hands out flat, she bounces the blade, it's light like a feather, but sharper than steel.

    Sharper than steel is really throwing me off, anyone got any examples?
     
  2. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Having a knife fall into your palm would let you feel its weight, but not its sharpness. Why not just slice a spider-web or falling hair? Some things are better illustrated by doing than saying.
     
  3. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    Hmmm... that's a very good point.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Steel--or any other metal--isn't inherently sharp until you make a weapon out of it. The popular expression is "stronger than steel," so maybe that is throwing you off.
     
  5. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Currently Reading::
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    Avoid "light as a feather" too, because that's a cliche.
    You're doing present tense? Okay, I'd do something like this:

    She bounces the blade off the flat of her hand. Its touch is airy, a wisp of nothing, like a shy kiss. * Her hand stings and a line of red opens across her palm.​

    You'll probably need to build it up at the *, but I'm just giving you an example. To me, it feels like there should be a delay at *. I would shift back into memory there, probably not in active voice so that it joins the lines around it by contrast. It would be a longer line too because the others are very similar length. Of course, your lines will be different, so why am I even saying this? haha!

    Anyway, that's how I would get the sharpness in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, this. Show your character DOING something with this blade—something that lets us know what its characteristics are. Try to avoid describing the thing as if you're writing an encyclopedia entry. Just show it being used. We'll figure out that it's lightweight and very sharp.
     
  7. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    That's exactly what I was looking for, I just couldn't seem to get my wording to quite fit it. Thank you so much!
     
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  8. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    So I wrote it like so...

    "Holding her palms out flat, she bounces the blade off the flat of her hand. It's touch is weightless, a wisp of nothing, like a shy kiss. Flipping it over in her hand, she lays the edge against her palm. Her hand stings from the cut, and a line of red appears across her palm, without a second thought, the cut stitches itself back together."

    Does that get the point across in a non-annoying way? Not like I'm insulting the readers intelligence?
     
  9. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Two things stand out. It's "its", not "it's" for the possessive.

    Secondly, repetition of the word "palm".

    Other than that, I don't do present tense so I'll leave it there.
     
  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I also noticed repetition of Flat. And if a blade is really sharp you don't feel anything when it cuts you, and are surprised to see any blood. A little later there's just a dull ache and a slight cutting sensation.
     
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  11. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    Thanks for the help, I actually am rewriting the book because I had it in present tense AND first person, but the repetition of 'I' was too much for me, so I'm redoing it. You don't know how many times I've wrote something in the past tense and had to go back and switch it lol.
     
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  12. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    Huh... that's a fun fact to know... looks like I'm changing a few things to it!!! Thanks so much, I appreciate all of your guy's help!
     
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  13. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    I have a problem with this bit:
    Do cuts normally think even once?
    Otherwise, yes, it's much more evocative, though I'd have preferred she cut something other than herself. Reason being: I assume she'll be using this same dagger with skill and precision. Someone who knows how to handle a knife shouldn't cut herself so carelessly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  14. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    The thing is, it's the first time she has ever handled a blade, or at least to her memory. So do you still think I should change it up some?
     
  15. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    No, in that case, it's perfectly all right to be clumsy. You could maybe mention how she reacts to suddenly being in possession of a dagger. I don't have a context - can't tell if she's supposed to be confused, surprised, or what.

    The healing part, though... Is spontaneous healing something she normally does? Is that why she didn't give it a second thought? It's still not the cut that thinks, but the person. So, maybe "Preoccupied with this new thing, she barely noticed as the cut stitching itself closed." or something along that line.
     
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  16. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    Honestly, what confuses me is that you seem to think weight and sharpness are negatively correlated. A blade being light doesn't make it less sharp, or vice versa - the former is a matter of the over-all mass and the latter is a matter of geometry and material hardness.

    Anyway, "sharper than steel" doesn't really make sense. My guess would be that you intended something like "sharper than any steel edge", like it's a comparison to normal daggers. Also note that this implies that this dagger is not, in fact, made out of steel. Is this correct?
     
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  17. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    She's new to her power but it oddly just fell into place like she had it 16 years before. Thats why she didnt really comment or note it.
     
  18. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    Indeed, that is very correct, it's made out of silver.
     
  19. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Come on! Silver is considerably heavier than feathers and as a weapon, silver might make a great bullet for killing a werewolf, but is too soft for daggers.
    Better invent a magic material.
     
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  20. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    I'm sorta assuming it is in fact a magic silver dagger, just from the context here.
     
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  21. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting... you've done the math on this?
     
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  22. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Fine. There's silver - which is real, mundane and possessed of a known set of physical properties. Then there is magic, which can presumably change those properties.
    If you just say 'silver', what the reader automatically envisions is the mundane metal. If you want the reader to envision something otherworldly, you have to give him a little more magic.
     
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  23. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    damn real!
     
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  24. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    I don't know, often subtle magic properties can be related through context and even come as a surprise, to the character as well as the reader. The dagger may seem perfectly mundane right until to goes straight through a steel plate armor, for example. This can be an effective way to reveal it.

    I also kinda question if the average person could even tell the difference between a steel blade and a silver one - depending on the level of polish and the type of steel alloy - since silver is only slightly brighter. Really, most white metals look more or less the same at a glance.
     
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  25. Bluefire

    Bluefire Member

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    I thought about that and did some research on it. Since there is almost no way to tell the difference, I had another character state exactly what metal it is, so there isn't any guessing games. I also love the way to revel the magical properties instead of just stating. Yo. It's sharp.
     

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