1. Renuzaki

    Renuzaki New Member

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    Is this okay to read or too redundant...

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Renuzaki, Jun 4, 2021.

    Right then, an unknown entity whose figure masked the sapphire blue sky with its dreary aura, emitted by its irregular, decayed Cimmerian vesture that stretched infinitely among the cosmos with linings made from the purest of gold, concealing its mysterious appearance, with an ornament, crafted from the same gold that lined the cloak, big enough to cover its chest, emerged out of nowhere, Replacing the sky with its mottle of twilight gloom.
     
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

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    I think it's a run on sentence and without any hard stops, it's hard to visualize. I don't like the use of 'whose' at the beginning, but that's a word I try to avoid in the way you are using it (my preference).

    Sapphire blue is redundant, almost insulting.

    I'd put the active verb 'emerged out of nowhere' at the front of this passage, but 'out of nowhere' is sort of cliche and shallow.

    Does the reader need to know that the ornament is crafted from the same gold that lined the cloak? And do you mean the same source or gold ore?

    I hope this isn't a trick and Robert E. Howard actually wrote this.
     
  3. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, it's a mid-branching sentence. You've piled a lot of info between the subject and verb. And at the end, "replacing the sky . . ." points all the way back at the subject too (left-branching), so the effect becomes very hesitant. When you have that big of a leftward jump it disorients the reader. You're going to have an incredibly dense sentence, so I would make sure that the basic branching is completely rightward bound.

    I would also simplify some phrases. If every one of them has additional sensory detail then that becomes a pattern. So let some of them just be a simple word/phrase. I don't think I can do it in one sentence, so I'll separate some. For example . . .

    From out of nowhere emerged an unknown entity whose figure masked the sapphire sky. Its decayed vesture stretched across the cosmos with golden linings, and its chest bore an ornament crafted of the same gold. The sky became its twilight gloom.​

    I probably chopped too much. So make a home for whatever big phrase needs to live again in there. I think that will hold tighter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

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    Xenforo forums needs a notification when viewing a thread so I can see "Seven Crowns is currently typing a reply" so I can hold back and let him explain things best.
     
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  5. Renuzaki

    Renuzaki New Member

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    The simplified version sounded much better... i cant do any better than that because english isnt really my native language and just search words that fit my description.. i still dont get left branching and mid branching is all about... thanks for the tip!
     
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  6. Renuzaki

    Renuzaki New Member

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    I
    Dont get the reference of robert e....
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    @Seven Crowns can you explain a little more about left-branching and right-branching? It's intriguing but I don't get it.

    To basically repeat what Seven Crowns said but in a much simpler idiom, the sentence isn't repetitive, it's just too complicated, with too many phrases inserted between the subject and the verb. It almost sounds like one of those Victorian sentences that resemble their iron grill-work or the scroll-work all over their desks and tables. You know, where a single sentence meanders on for 2 or 3 pages. By the time you get to the end you can't remember how it began anymore.
     
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  8. John McNeil

    John McNeil Active Member

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    I don't know if this will help - I almost didn't read it because it started off by saying the grammar in English is straightforward.
    http://colelearning.net/rw_wb/module6/page6.html
     
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  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Thanks, I get it now. And my bad, there's no 'right-branching'. It refers to the placement of phrases (AKA clauses) in the sentence, left meaning before the subject and mid meaning between subject and verb. Yeah, that makes sense.

    Important take-away: 'Do these cautions about branching mean that all sentences must be simple? Not necessarily. Even long sentences can be readable if they are structured properly. The best way to do this is to keep your main subject and verb together and to present them early in the sentence.'
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
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  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

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    You know, after reading this reply I remembered someone on here posted the first three lines of 'Perfume: Story of a Murderer' (thought it was just the first line but my memory is not as good as I thought) which contains a very long (83 word to be exact) third line, but is still very readable because of how out is structured and ordered.

    You know who posted it? You guessed it, @Seven Crowns.
     
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  11. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Right-branching should be your default. It's basically Subject --> Verb --> Object, and the objects can be long, but they add on in such a way that the reader doesn't get lost. You set up the action on the left and detail gets added to the right. It allows you to make very long sentences that hold. I think this is a problem for ESL speakers, because other languages have other structures. Japanese is in SOV order, for example (mid-branching). That doesn't translate in nice ways to English. You have to sort some.

    And just like active/passive, not every sentence should be right-branching. That's part of the shifting rhythms that hold your paragraphs together. If you look up right-branching sentences, you'll see lots of people saying that they're best, and they're right, but don't use them all the time. You switch it up when you need to. I found an article where someone mentioned this:

    https://nieman.harvard.edu/stories/the-direction-of-branches-in-a-sentence-create-shifts-in-mood-and-meaning/

    Mid-branching is dangerous. I'm not going to call it a "rule" because those don't really exist outside of grammar, but when your subject and verb are far apart, you're playing with fire. The main idea gets lost. If you spot one of those, consider moving the subject and verb closer together. It's one of those cohesion tricks. Usually cohesion is an aspect of the paragraph. (It's what holds sentence 1 to sentence 2.) But it lives in the sentence too. There's pieces (phrases, objects, etc.) in there that want to be close together.

    I can't remember which book I was reading that really stressed this. It carried on for 300 pages about it, so it stuck with me. I feel like it was one of Steven Pinker's titles. He's got a lot good books. You can trust him as an author.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  12. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    haha. That's one of my favorite books. I haven't mentioned it in a while. I wish I could write like that. It feels modern and 19th-century at the same time. The author was a genius, and the translator knew what they were doing too.
     
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  13. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    A sample left-branching sentence from that last link:

    Before the prayer warriors massed outside her window, before gavels pounded in six courts, before the Vatican issued a statement, before the president signed a midnight law and the Supreme Court turned its head, Terri Schiavo was just an ordinary girl, with two overweight cats, an unglamorous job and a typical American life.
    One strategy that helps hold it together is the repetition of structure in all 4 left-branching phrases, all beginning with before. That clearly signals that these are all of a kind, and keeps reminding the reader that these phrases will happen after the main sentence, which comes right near the end. And then the right-branching parts also follow a repetitious form, all beginning with an article (not sure if two counts as an article, but it serves the same purpose) followed by an adjective and a noun. Clean, simple and easily understood.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
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  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Seven commas screams ouch, the reader will have forgotten what the sentence was about by the time they read the end.
     
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  15. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor

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    Robert E. Howard wrote the original 'Conan the Barbarian' books, and that is what I associate 'Cimmerian' with, as that's what Conan is described as, but it's set in a mythological period and not consistent with the more common definition and culture of Cimmerian.
     
  16. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Not to be confused with Seven Crowns. Though he may have screamed as well, I don't know.
     
  17. AlyceOfLegend

    AlyceOfLegend Member

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    I didn't get halfway. Needs to be less to be clearer.
     
  18. FFBurwick

    FFBurwick Member

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    It seems confusing if this were by itself. Breaking up descriptions given to this in separate sentences, with more if needed, continuing with it, with some explanations coming at some time in the text, however long it might be, would be desirable.
     
  19. Gary Wed

    Gary Wed Active Member

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    This might be my favorite candidate for purple prose. Completely unreadable and likely completely out of view.
     

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