1. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    This sentence sucks. Halp pls

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Myrrdoch, Jun 15, 2017.

    "Even with modern drive technology, ships could only carry so much in the way of fuel or generate so much thrust."

    So I was going back over my novel, and I decided this sentence is bad. I need to fix it. I was thinking maybe

    "Even with modern drive technology, ships were limited by the amount of fuel they could carry and the amount of thrust they could generate."

    I feel like this is better, but at the same time it loses flavor somehow.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The part I'm not liking is the first clause, even with modern drive technology. It pulls me out, as though the narrative is talking directly at me, the reader, and telling me "Your preconceptions be damned! No warp drive yet. Deal with it." It's making reference to my Theory of Mind and it shouldn't know I'm there. It should remain internally faithful.

    I won't tell you what to write, but something simpler, more to the tune of any ship that size was constrained by the weight of its own fuel.
     
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  3. big soft moose

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

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    "heap of shit can't go any faster" bob swore and kicked the casing of the mass neutron drive " year of the lord 2345 you'd have thought they'd have cracked light speed, but no we're stuck with this old clunker "
     
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Jeff looked up from his work station. "Gonna' kick the nacelle tube next?" A puckish grin stretched the freckles apart beneath blue eyes.

    "Nacelle tube?" Bob was taken off guard, thinking another problem had come up. "What the...? Oh, ha ha. Everyone's a flippin' comedian." He chucked a small spanner at Jeff's head, narrowly missing him.
     
  5. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    "BOYS!" Andrea bellowed from the forward compartment. "You don't stop goofing around and get me some more thrust, I'm gonna come back there and kick you both in the nacelle tubes!"
     
  6. big soft moose

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

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    "Hey Andrea" Bob shouted "You want my thrust, you can have it baby" He danced around the compartment looking like an intoxicated chicken attempting to do the staying alive
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "Well, missy." Bob affected a grotesque curtsy. "Just hand over the equations for direct access to planck energy and I'll have you to Jupiter and back quicker'n you can say amen."
     
  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    All joking aside and goofy as all that is, see how much better it is when you keep it between the characters? ;)
     
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  9. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Yeah, I like to do stuff in dialogue as much as possible, but this bit was from some internal musing the MC is doing on a plane ride. Honestly, it's a lot of exposition and will probably all end up on the cutting room floor and reworked in some other way. Might have a friend on the plane for some light discussion, or maybe it will just go into my notes folder for future deployment.
     
  10. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds like one of those technical, mostly factual sentences that will be boring whichever way you write it. Not every sentence has to be ringing with beauty and elegance, really. There are sentences that do just serve its purpose in relaying information and then that's all, and it is forgotten. I think that's fine too. Draw attention to the info with a pretty sentence when the info is paramount - this piece of info sounds like it might be a nice addition or perhaps semi important, but probably not paramount?

    I'd say, keep it simple and then move on. I'm not sure what sort of "flavour" you were referring to in the first sentence - this is a pretty technical sentence. I don't think it needs any flavour. It can be just factual.
     
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  11. big soft moose

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

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    Even if its the MC just thinking it needs to be a bit more real ... if you're on a car journey you don't think "hmm even with modern developments to the internal combustion engine this vehicle is limited by its fuel capacity" you think " hmmm going to have to stop at the services soon, I hope there's enough to get to sedgemoor cos bridgewater's a dump"
     
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  12. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    I'LL HEAR NO ILL SPOKEN OF BRIDGEWATER!!!


    Uhhh... where's Bridgewater?
     
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  13. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Here is the surrounding bits, for context. It really might just be too exposition-heavy.

    Anderson casually returned more salutes as he approached the ramp, and fielded an especially snappy one from the loadmaster as he was shown to his jumpseat. Anderson knew that the men and women waiting out on the tarmac were probably less than thrilled to see someone roll up on a transpod and go right up the ramp, but rank hath its privileges. Of course, now Anderson had to sit and wait for everything and everyone to be loaded up. “Hurry up and wait” was something that militaries the world over had to deal with. At least he was sitting, although Starhauler jump seats were less than comfortable. Anderson sighed, shrugged, and settled back in his seat.

    Well, he thought wryly, if there is one thing a spacer is good at, it’s waiting.

    Space was very, very big. Even with modern drive technology, ships were limited by the amount of fuel they could carry and the amount of thrust they could generate. Flight times had improved remarkably from the 21st Century, but distance and reaction mass were still factors. A cruise to Mars could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, while shipping out to Jupiter could take nearly a month.
     
  14. big soft moose

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

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    On the M5 - the town's fine, but the services are shit (the M5 is the motorway ie equivalent of an interstate) that goes from birmingham to the west country
     
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  15. big soft moose

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

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    Space was very, very big, even with modern drive technology. ships were limited by the amount of fuel they could carry and the amount of thrust they could generate. Flight times had improved remarkably from the 21st Century, but distance and reaction mass were still factors. A cruise to Mars could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, while shipping out to Jupiter could take nearly a month.

    Or to put it in my style " Space was bigger than a fat girls ass" Bob thought "that modern drive tech was all well and good, but it still ran on fuel and when that shit ran out, you were stuck with you thumb out hoping a friendly UFO stopped by to take you to the services at Alpha Centuri... you didn't want to stop there long, place was a filthy truck stop for a pie and pint before you rolled on to the Pegasus galaxy " :D
     
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  16. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why do you say "Anderson" all the time. If the first sentence says "Anderson" and you haven't since introduced a second male character, there's really no need to say "Anderson" again to start the second sentence with. You use Anderson 4 times in your first paragraph and he's the ONLY character! o_O Overkill? :D
     
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  17. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Bing Bang Boom

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    Honestly, dude, I would whack that entire paragraph. If Anderson is an experienced spacer there's no reason for him to be thinking about this unless he's telegraphing straight to the reader. If his POV is for real this would be banal information (especially the "space is big" part). That's like you or me settling in behind the wheel and thinking, "Despite the increase in fuel efficiency, my car is still limited by the amount of gas it can carry and the friction limitations of the tires holding it to the road." Or, "While it might take me four hours to drive from Boston to New York, at least I don't have to do it in a horse and buggy anymore." While it may be true (or helpful to the reader) it's still something that violates POV because it highlights something that is noteworthy in our world but not in his.

    But if you want to keep it, I would reword it as: Ships were still limited by fuel capacity despite advances in drive technology. (I'd ditch the "thrust" bit... "thrust" and "drive" are redundant enough to tighten the sentence up.)
     
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  18. Walking Dog

    Walking Dog Active Member

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    Is the sentence dialog? If it's narrative, "Ships with modern drive technology are still limited in thrust and fuel capacity."
    If dialog, "Scotty! I need warp drive or we're all dead!"
     
  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I agree that he's unlikely to be thinking much of this. When I get in my car, I don't think, "Car speeds have improved remarkably from the original Ford Model T, but..." I think, "I hope the deli isn't out of fried chicken."

    He might be thinking about how long he's stuck there, but I think that he might more realistically plot whimsical revenge on whoever designed the uncomfortable seat, or hope that communications connectivity doesn't go down and deprive him of in-seat entertainment, or something of the sort. You can still get some of the facts in that way. For example, instead of:

    A cruise to Mars could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, while shipping out to Jupiter could take nearly a month.

    you could have

    He still shuddered at the memory of his flight to Jupiter, years ago, on a ship with broken passenger coms. By the third week without books, video, or basic communication with their families, the passengers were... (something awful.)
     
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  20. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Cool. Thanks for the advice, everybody.
     
  21. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Active Member

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    So many good points here . . . I'll assume you want to keep the exposition. It crunches down to this:

    Fuel and thrust limited the modern drive.

    Then I would take that and attach some sort of imagery to it to get it into the character's voice. You've saved so many words slimming it down that there's room for that now.
     
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  22. he who writes

    he who writes New Member

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    What if you said something like

    Despite all of the advancements in modern technology, ships' fuel capacity and thrust generation were very restricted (or limited)
     
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  23. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Anderson is returning salutes, so he's an officer. How long has he been in space? Long enough to have seen a generation or two of engines go by? If so, you could have something like (very roughly) "Anderson looked at the schedule; they were due to make Mars orbit in seven days. He grimaced to himself, despite the ship's being equipped with the newest MKIV engines, that was only nineteen hours faster than the MKIIs he'd trained on had been able to achieve."

    Or something along those lines.
     
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