1. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    Paragraphs too long?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Juniormint, Mar 16, 2019 at 6:25 AM.

    I sometimes feel like I make my paragraph`s too long. I can't help but compare myself to books I've read that all seem much better than anything I can write. Every time I begin to create a stage I find myself delving more and more into the details and minutia. I feel like I lose sight of the story and instead to us on the minor details almost as if I feel like I haven't explained it enough to convey my picture.

    I know I have this same issue in day to day life as well. Difficulty ending my explanation until I've said it three times.
    Id appreciate any advice that could help me maintain a straight and proper story going while still conveying a meaningful image and scene to my reader without boring them with the details
    Sorry I feel like I have even over explained or complicated this post.
    Any help or tips would be great, thanks!
     
  2. Reece

    Reece Member

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    Is your issue that your paragraphs are too long or that you are providing too much detail?
     
  3. Friederich Kugelschreiber

    Friederich Kugelschreiber Senior Member

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    Maybe if you are describing too much, a good approach would be to define very closely what it is you intend with each scene, and make yourself stick to it. Outlining. If you're having trouble with too much description, don't let yourself describe until you have a handle on it.
     
  4. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    I think both. Sometimes my sentences feel too wordy with too much going on and that makes 2 sentences look like a large paragraph and other times I'll write a paragraph that's 7 or 8 lines deep with numerous sentences because I'm not familiar with the transition or how to really do it. To move from the first paragraph to the next.
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I've had this problem, over explaining thing or repeating myself just using different words. This was very hard for me to notice on my own, but once aware of it I learned that the more I stay with the present narrative or the closer I stay to it, the better the story is and the less I fall into that tempting bad habit of saying the same thing three different times. Also, when editing be ruthless with cutting. If things start to feel cluttered or like there is a bit of derailing going on, put a stop to that for the betterment of your story. However, I'm not really sure how this affects the length of your paragraphs. That might be a different issue, or it might resolve itself when you address the issue of overstating the obvious.
     
  6. EBohio

    EBohio Active Member

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    I call it "flowery vs non-flowery" writing. Some people don't feel like they are a writer unless they are "flowery". I prefer non-flowery, non-artsy-artsy, myself.
     
  7. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I do this in my first draft. Overwrite to see exactly what type of emotion or metaphor I'm going for and then I par it down best as I can in editing. One way of eliminating part of this trap is to use concrete nouns - very exact words, nothing vague - kitchen not room, denim jacket not casual clothes, van not vehicle. Also when you're describing rooms rather than wasting time telling us it's messy just cut to the chase and describe the mess. Or if you're in a hurry and it's not important don't describe the entire mess just one detail that speaks for the whole as in - The bedroom was so chaotic and messy there was even a brown banana peel stuck to the whirling ceiling fan like a dead octopus.
     
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  8. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    This would be easiest to figure out with a writing sample.
     
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  9. EBohio

    EBohio Active Member

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    But only with 3 sentences otherwise I think you have to go to the workshops.
     
  10. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys. I really appreciate it.
    I'm not good with just coming up with something on the fly so here three sentences from the novel I'm trying to write that I think covers some of my issue.

    Nearly forgotten in the rush of the escape, the other presence began to slip from its connection to Tyler. Perhaps the objects gravity effected this other presence differently, or maybe it simply slipped from him. Either way, as soon as the tiny presence separated from him, Tyler experienced a cold emptiness in its place and became immediately aware.

    There is another sentence in the paragraph after this though I'm not worried about the number of sentences in the paragraph, more that it looks to my eyes as if I wrote too much in each sentence and now I have the urge to scrap and re-write it.

    Thanks again for input.
     
  11. Friederich Kugelschreiber

    Friederich Kugelschreiber Senior Member

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    I don't think your problem with those sentences is too much description. I can see how they might be made more elegant, but as far as raw descriptions is concerned, I fail to see any major problems. Maybe the pace of those three sentences seems too plodding? For an escape scene, perhaps you want to tighten it up a bit? I think those sentences are fine in themselves, though.
     
  12. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    These are too wordy. They read like you are trying hard to write well.

    "Forgotten in the rush of escape, the other presence began to lose its connection to Tyler. The object's gravity may have affected this new presence, or maybe it simply slipped away. But as soon as the it separated, he became immediately aware of a cold emptiness."
     
  13. EBohio

    EBohio Active Member

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    No, definitely too wordy. This can be re-worded into one or two sentences.

    I need just a little context...is this a seance? "The object's gravity may have affected this new presence..." Does that mean there are two presences and an object plus Tyler or is there an object and one presence plus Tyler?
     
  14. Friederich Kugelschreiber

    Friederich Kugelschreiber Senior Member

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    That's great that you have that opinion. You might be right though. However, I think straight wordiness isn't the issue, it's more phrasing.
     
  15. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    I don't think those are really different. Most inelegant phrasing comes from an excess of place holding words, not the meaty vocabulary.
     
  16. Friederich Kugelschreiber

    Friederich Kugelschreiber Senior Member

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    There's a subtle distinction, I think.
     
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  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I nearly always find that a long paragraph can be broken into two shorter ones - personally I leave that kind of thing for the self edit rather than worrying about it when i'm writing the first draft
     
  18. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    This is cut from the books second chapter. The Main character (Tyler) is being moved to another world. Where he is now is essentially the "in between" of worlds or universes. Part of the transference requires a remolding of his entire being (he is now simply a soul or presences of existence and has no form). When he was transferred he brought along a something else with him from Earth.

    What I am trying to do is not give away too much early on in the book and let it be discovered. Written somewhat like a 3rd person perspective, as in the reader discovers things as the main character learns of them. The *object* is an obstacle Tyler encounters in this new realm and he must overcome it. The presence is something familiar that Tyler is unwilling to lose. (I understand the excerpt is hard to understand without more context but it was really only meant to explain the wordy sentences I have issues with rather then for the context of the sentence its self).

    Thanks for the help. Yes, I can see that in my writing habits that sometimes I try to write too well or too specific. The thing is that although I have a good outline and I know exactly where I want my character to go, I seem to go blank when I actually sit down and write. I already know how I want him to progress, have many scenes planned out generally, but when I fill in those scenes it feels too shoddy to even be considered a rough draft. I do tend to feel like im forcing my writing, however I feel like i will write nothing if i don't at least try. If i wait around until i simply feel the urge than it may never happen.
    Do you think I need more content to pull from? And if so how will i do that? I have listened and read many books and have used as many sources as i can such a synonym dictionaries and phrase re-writing. I have played many games related to the type of novel I desire to write and have read much lore related to fantasy settings from various areas. Its not that I take anything from anywhere but every bit helps spur my imagination into creating something new and the research behind certain things (like magic) helps keep the book relate-able and easily understood (I think).
     
  19. EBohio

    EBohio Active Member

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    Since it is your first draft it is probably best to just write it out and edit later. At least you are aware that it will need editing.
     
  20. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    Yes. I know it will need editing. I just get stuck so often on these things and can't seem to move past them. Either that or I run out of words or ways to describe things. For example, the "object" i spoke about above is essentially a blue orb of energy, not unlike a star though made of energy rather than gases. I have a hard time thinking of how I may refer to it without saying "object" or "blue ball" or other dull ways.
     
  21. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I'm confused. Are the 'presence' and the object the same thing?
     
  22. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    I don't think your word choices are bad. Write like you do, then read it out loud like you are giving a speech. That will likely force you to streamline it like I did for that passage.
     
  23. Juniormint

    Juniormint New Member

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    No. (slight spoiler) the presence is another entity or mind that is hitching a ride along his own. The story is currently following the main characters perspective of what he knows. He is in a new world and has no idea what these strange feelings are and so neither do the readers. Perhaps I should put it more plainly so the reader knows and skip over certain learning curves for the main character? The thing is I have read many books that do this and I sometimes find myself wishing I read a book about a character that is truly new to these things and quite literally stumbles along his path as he learns. I want to write a story based around the idea that the main character is in himself a mistake and makes many mistakes that don't turn out well. Rather then give the main character the magical inspiration that always wins the day, i want the main character learn things the "hard way" so to speak. Its a journey in perspective from the side of when things don't turn out perfectly and the idea I'm attempting to write around is mostly about "the learning curve" of a "real person" with no experience having to make decisions hes not truly capable of making and living with the consequences.

    So a big aspect of the book is about the main character not knowing things, having no magical inspiration, being often wrong and failing in somewhat horrible ways that leave him scarred and change his personality drastically.
    Kind of like moving from a doe eyed boy scout to becoming a hard war veteran of WWII who fought in the bloodiest battles and came out alive even though he knows he shouldn't be.
    Something like that.
     
  24. XRD_author

    XRD_author Member Supporter

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    You might want to call it "the Presence" then. Just to indicate you're using the word as a proper noun.
     
  25. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    I see no reason to make a formal name out of term of art in the fiction with capitalization. Words in SF like this are used lower case all the time, like "bobble" or "jaunt".
     

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