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random question

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Harbinger, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

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    When I try to edit my work I often run into sentences like this:

    Minnows darted to and fro in the shallows, scattering as the girl tried to grab one.

    Should it be:

    Minnows darted to and fro in the shallows and scattered as the girl tried to grab one.

    ...instead? They both seem active and read right to me. Is there difference?
     
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    They're both fine. They are composed of differing structures and therefore have a different cadence for the reader. That's the consideration. If you have too many of the first type (using the comma) in a row, it will become monotonous and tedious to read. Alternating the way sentences are read help in keeping things fresh.

    If it were me though, I'd drop the "to and fro" bit.
     
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  3. JonSnow

    JonSnow Troubadour

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    They are both fine. I would vary from one to the other to keep your writing less mechanical. I tend to remove "and" whenever I can, but I intentionally leave those kinds of "and" clauses in every once in a while to break up my style a little, so the reader doesn't get bored.
     
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  4. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

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    What about for something like this: (The scene is a daughter and father playing and I'm not sure how to word the second sentence)

    Next they played ‘chase’, a game that consisted of him running after her and roaring like an ogre as she fled. He caught her up in his arms when she tired and let out a triumphant howl, Anais laughing breathlessly.


    Should it be something more like this?

    Anais laughed breathlessly as he caught her up in his arms and let out a triumphant howl.
     
  5. JonSnow

    JonSnow Troubadour

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    The second one. You could work the "ogre" part into it if you wanted. But when you can do the same work with 1 sentence instead of 3, you should :)
     
  6. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I think either is fine. As others have said, just go with the cadence. Read the whole scene out loud. That will help you catch things that sound wrong.

    Please delete "up." Others will also tell you to limit your adverb use. Does "breathlessly" do a lot for you here? I don't think so. Finally, you've got a little confusion going on. It sounds like the father is letting out the howl but it could also be the girl.
     
  7. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    If it's a question about grammar then go ahead and post. If you want to have your unique, narrative voice critiqued and reshaped by other voices....you're new at this aren't you? If not I apologize. But the thing is what you write is about ninety to ninety five percent of what hooks the reader. How you tell it, your voice, is the rest, it's what keeps the reader reading and tell his or her friends to get the book themselves. Tell the story how you want to in your own voice. Just look at the sentences leading to or from your given sentence and see which one fits better with the rest of your narrative.
     
  8. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

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    I am new but no I don't want my voice shaped by others it was just a grammar question, which BW got spot on because of the possible confusion.
     
  9. Lorna

    Lorna Inkling

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    Both are correct but they bring different images to mind. 'Scattering' being more active sends the minnows swimming away in a shimmering explosion. 'And scattered' they swim more slowly and don't shine so much. I prefer 'scattering.'

    'Laughed' seems to work better than 'laughing.' I'm in agreement with BWFoster about the problem of who's howling. It's not clear and I'm not keen on the howling.

    I'd probably go with 'He caught her up in his arms with a triumphant exclamation. Anais laughed breathlessly.'
     
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  10. Harbinger

    Harbinger Troubadour

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    Ya I like 'scattering' better too. Two sentences seems the way to go to get rid of the confusion.
     
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