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  1. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    Settle an argument

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Bakkerbaard, Jun 18, 2020.

    Hey, so, I've got a bit of a struggle going on with my girlfriend editor. She had problems with the following line:
    He watched her barefoot it over the grass, holding her heels in one hand.

    We're both Dutch and I don't have the capacity to explain why I believe "barefoot it" is usable.
    I know it's not exactly right, using "barefoot" as a verb, but I'm using it in the same way as "hightail it outta here" or "book it down the highway".

    Also, the POV character is from El Paso, Texas, if that matters any.

    Edit: I was also just informed that her problem is not necessarily with using the "barefoot" as a verb, but the addition of the word "it".
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I think that depends on the characters and how they talk. If they commonly use phrases like that then go for it. Southerners are pretty inventive and colorful with language.

    However, I'm a little more bothered by the weird image conjured by the close conjunction of 'barefooting it' followed (close on it's heels as it were) by 'holding her heels in one hand'. I think I would change that to shoes. Otherwise I have a really strange image of her somehow removing her actual heels and carrying them in a hand, and I'm wondering where her toes and ankles currently are. In her purse maybe?

    Edit—I just noticed your signature. Very apropos to this thread.
     
  3. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    When Sam (he) speaks, I try to work in Southern use of language, because I seem to be rather enamored with the way they speak and if it was him speaking that line, I wouldn't even have bothered to ask about it. Except, this is narrating what Sam is seeing as she approaches him.

    Never really thought about that, actually. Is it so bad I should change it?
    At this point in the story, the reader is aware that she is a classy, elegant woman, who basically always wears dress heels. To be honest, she just screams powerful-woman-stereotype, but I can't see her any different.
    But like English word conjugations, I also know very little about women's footwear.

    Maybe I should just tell my girlfriend to watch me wing it.
     
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  4. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, nothing wrong with barefoot it. That sort of thing, as my own editor LOVES pointing out (she's german), is one of the reasons she loves the English language.
    "Hop to it."
    "Barefoot it."
    "Wing it."

    One thing you might want to keep in your mind is glottal stops and the like. Some text looks good on the page but reads terribly out loud. Anyone who listens to Audible books enough will notice this after a time.
    Barefoot it has the unfortunate problem of reading aloud as "barefoo tit" if you arent pointedly leaving a gap, heh.
     
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  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    It does jump out at me, mainly just because it so closely follows the statement about barefooting it, which by itself works, but putting the 2 of them so close together I think puts too much emphasis on feet. And because the phrase just said is about bare feet, the second one makes me automatically think about flesh and blood heels rather than high heels. Personally I try to avoid creating these ridiculous word images as much as possible. It pulls readers right out of the story if they notice it.

    About just the use of barefooting it in the narration, how is the rest of the narration done? Does it use colloquialisms like that, or is it more standard English? It would sound jarring to only do it once (especially so close to the other mention of feet/heels). It forms a sort of knot in the narration I think. At the very least I would make sure not to do both in the same paragraph.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I sometimes have to chuckle when people say "wouldn't it" for that very reason. :supergrin:

    Sounds worse than plastic surgery to me...

    (also doesn't it... anatomically impossible!)
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    its technically wrong but the meaning is obvious from context so its fine if its in keeping with the rest of the book

    (btw partners don't make good editors... they are too close to you to be objective)
     
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  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    That's totally fine. I use the same expression all the time. Someone at work the other day said, "Wingtipping it, huh?" when they saw my shoes.

    You can turn almost anything into a verb.
     
  9. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think it's wrong so much as it's just a bit colloquial/casual.
     
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  10. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    I have more of that the other way around. I've got two Southern characters, who sound absolutely great in my head, but when I try to write it becomes a mess of apostrophes and parody.

    I don't know if they are colloquialisms, per se, but I do sometimes choose to use popular language as opposed to proper language.
    I'll see if I can beat the whole thing in something less foot-focused, or better balanced. It's just that I see the picture of a very powerful and very elegant woman out of the confines of her office and comfort zone, finally taking a three minute stroll to just feel the grass on her feet, so clearly that I want the reader to see exactly what I'm picturing.

    I can rely on her to be brutally frank with me. The conversation that eventually sparked this thread was... creative. Yeah, let's call it creative.
    And she's not a real editor. I'm not even close to thinking about getting an actual editor yet, but my girlfriend has read more books than the times I've turned on the Playstation, so she double checks my work.
    And if it ever gets out of hand, well, angry sex is very good. ;o)
     
  11. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I think 'barefooting it' would work just fine, but as @Xoic suggested, maybe 'high heels' would paint a less confusing picture. 'High heels' are shoes, but 'heels' are also a part of the foot. The image I got was of her hopping barefoot, while trying to similtaneously hold her heels in her hand. Momentarily arresting image, for the wrong reasons.... :)

    He watched her barefooting it over the grass, clutching her high heels in one hand.
     
  12. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    I had the same problem.
     
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  13. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    Got it. I'm making them high heels. Or maybe just shoes...
    Anyway. I'll fix it. Thanks.
     
  14. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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  15. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    I'm going to go against the flow here and say, if you're writing it in third person, don't use it. Third person distances you somewhat from the POV character - he's a POV character, not a narrator. Don't write it the way he talks. Use "walk barefoot" or "skip barefoot" or something. It would be different if you were writing in first.
     
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  16. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I see no problem with it. In fact, I think it's quite clever. I also have no problem with the mention of her carrying her heels. I think it makes sense. Every girl reaches a point where it's time to carry the heels and barefoot it. I vote to keep it.
     
  17. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    At this point I feel obliged to say I stole it:
     
  18. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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  19. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe stilettos?
     
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  20. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    Yeah, that was my first alternative thought and while the shoes I'm seeing in my mind could maybe be stilettoes, I think they might be too sexy. Does that make any sense?
     
  21. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You don't want to say she's carrying her stilettos in her hand—half the readers would think it means knives. At least that idea would flash through their minds for a second before they adjust it to shoes. You have to be careful about these unintentional wrong images, some of which turn out ridiculous, some of which just conjure the wrong image and end up confusing.
     
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  22. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    As someone who doesn't find high heels sexy, I'd say it's fine, except that I'd say that it must be impossible to walk on grass in stilettos anyway.

    I think of high heels as deadly weapons. Whack someone in the head with them and it becomes a murder mystery.
     
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  23. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Active Member

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    Which is the main reason she's 'barefooting'.

    Anyway, if I recall correctly, I turned it into 'shoes'.
     

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