1. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    Too Much Information?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stammis, Nov 3, 2016.

    Is this too much information in one sentence?

    Aso, I'm not sure if I can use the word "clutch" in this instance.

    "The muscles in his arms burned as he walked with a stack of books clutched in(under?) his arms."

    Any suggestions?
     
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  2. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    I think this is fine.

     
  3. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    Oh wait. Don't think you need 2 arms in the sentence. Maybe delete the first one.
     
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  4. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    lol yeah, tmi. :)
     
  5. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    True, it does sound repetitive.

    Perhaps, "in his embrace" sounds better?
     
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  6. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    yeah or maybe

    His muscles ached as he walked with a stack of books in his arms.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It may be too little rather than too much. Has he been doing a lot of physical work and now he's walking away with painful muscles and happens to be carrying books? Or is it the stack of books that is far too heavy for him and are hurting his muscles?

    Saying "muscles" twice makes me realize that you really don't need the word. If your arms hurt, it's the muscles that are hurting. (Edited to add: OK, you can have a sunburn or an infected wound or any number of other things, but if weight is involved, then muscles can be assumed.)

    And if your arms are hurting, and there are books involved, it's clear that you're carrying them, so you don't really need to say that either.

    And if you're carrying multiple books, and the previous narrative didn't mention a bookbag or any such thing, odds are they're stacked, so I think you can lose that too.

    Also, "as he walked" does seem like an unnecessary interruption between the hurting arms and the stack of books. Assuming that those two are linked, I wouldn't divide the phrases.

    Putting all that together, if this were my sentence, my first draft would be:

    He kept on walking, his arms aching from the weight of the books.
     
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  8. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    It does seem like a lot of info, a lot to ask the reader to digest in a single gulp. But in order to suggest how to reduce that burden on the reader, I need context. Without context I don't know what's important in the sentence.

    Is it important that the books are stacked?
    Is it important that it's his arm muscles in particular that are burning? Or are we just trying to say he's in pain?
    Is it important that he's walking, or does "carried" imply that?
    Can we just assume (or perhaps have it demonstrated later or shown earlier) that the books are in his arms?

    Would "His muscles burned as he carried the books" tell the reader what you want them to know?
    Or "His muscles burned from the strain of the books he carried."
    Or "His muscles burned from the strain of the stack of books he carried."

    Don't make things harder on the reader by bombarding him with useless details.
     
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  9. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    wow. and I thought we were just talking about a simple sentence. lol ;)

    I am interested in this thread - the economy of words - always a good thing.
     
  10. Werner de JOng

    Werner de JOng New Member

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    What I always like to do in such situations is to play around with the order of words or put in some dialog to say what he feels in stead of tell the reader.

    e.g.

    "The muscles in his arms burned as he walked with a stack of books clutched in(under?) his arms."
    -->
    "His muscles protested against the large stack of books."
    "Clutching the books made his muscles burn."

    -->

    "Oh my, your stack of books looks heavier than mine. Need a hand?" My muscles already burned but I didnt want them to know.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    He staggered through the door clutching a stack of books to his chest, his muscles burning as he tried to reach the table before his burden escaped his grasp
     
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  12. Werner de JOng

    Werner de JOng New Member

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    big soft moose, that almost sounds like a verse or poem elaborating on the struggles of life. ;)
     
  13. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions everyone!

    I scrapped the whole sentence and reworked the paragraph, here it is if you are interested:

    A gust of wind blew through the paved streets, making wooden panels crash into the walls of the neighbouring houses, the wind whizzing eerily as it flooded narrow streets along the neighbourhood. At one of those streets, the largest one that cut through the district and connected all the small alleys into one, a lone boy walked with a stack of books in his arms.

    The boy staggered as the wind hit him on the side. But managing to regain his balance, he glared into the nothingness, as if he could make the wind apologise for its rudeness. Even though the wind had almost made him fall over, he still welcomed the cool wind on face, the books too many for him to carry on his own.
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Too much repetition of words in that one especially the word 'wind' and the word 'streets' (plus two of neighbouring and neighbourhood) also does the wind whiz and indeed does anything whiz eerily - i'd suggest "whining" might be better

    maybe something like

    "The wind blew through the narrow paved streets, whining eerily and making wooden panels crash into the walls of the neighbouring houses . At the largest of those streets, a lone boy walked overloaded by the huge stack of books in his arms.

    The boy staggered as the wind hit him side on. Managing to regain his balance and grappling with his unwieldy load, he glared into the maelstrom, as if he could make it apologise for it's rudeness. Even though the wind had almost made him fall over, he welcomed its cooling of his hot sweaty face."
     
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  15. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    Gah! you're right!

    Thanks.
     

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