Author Topic: How should I punctuate this?  (Read 7840 times)

Lin

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2010, 01:31:33 PM »
Deborah
I'll tell you what alarmed me about your post, it seemed so final.  

Quote

The proper phrase is omnisicient voice, which means you're telling what the character is thinking - one of the biggest no-no's in writing these days. If you reveal what a character is thinking, you must write it in italics and without quotes, but omniscient voice isn't selling right now so I advise you to stay clear of it.

Whilst I appreciate your help ever so much and always will, I did get a sense of finality.

I really think to be a writer these days you have to be as flexible as a bendy toy.  There are in fact, I feel, hardly any rules to writing except get on with it,  make it look neat and tidy and ensure you use words which have powerful impact on the reader. Oh yes make sure the story works.  

Other than that, just do it and see what your brain accomplishes. ' Relax, just do it - if you wanna get through it!'

All these rules drive me crazy - who said I have to do this, that and the other?   When I get an offer from an agent, only then will I discover the 'rules' If they love my style and my story then I feel I have to listen and listen hard. When an agent looks at your story the first thing they want is impact, correct me if I'm wrong.  If they like what they see they will want to read on and take it from there. This author may be unique and shows signs of being a best seller.

Thanks to everyone who contributed here here it has been a very interesting debate and thanks to Deborah for introducing the topic.

Lin x

 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 04:04:55 AM by Orangutansaver »

Offline deborahowen

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2010, 09:46:29 PM »
Hi Guys - Sorry, but I was out of town for a couple of days and just
now saw the comments. Such interesting points of view, too!> Yes,
writing is a lot of rules, and yes, all rules can be broken at some point
in time but it's usually best to leave that for the pros. I'm all for you!
The rules aren't my ideas. Kind of like the Bible, ya know. Don't shoot
the mailman (woman) (person) (whatever). > I have a story that I wrote
in omniscient voice not long ago. I don't think it'll sell, but I'll try. Like
you, Lin, the story demanded it, so I understand what you're saying.

Thanks for catching this, WoodridgeNZ: don't use adverbs that end in... (-ly)
Deborah Owen :)
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Offline WoodridgeNZ

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2010, 05:56:35 AM »
Hi Deborah
Thanks for catching this, WoodridgeNZ: don't use adverbs that end in... (-ly)

I kinda thought that was what you meant to say, because I couldn't think of anything else, but I just couldn't believe that could be a rule.  :o You must be kidding, right? Most adverbs end in -ly. Take off the -ly, and it's an adjective, not an adverb. E.g., "slowly" (adverb), "slow" (adjective); "hastily" (adverb), "hasty" (adjective).

Perhaps the rule is really about avoiding flowery language or overuse of adverbs, especially ones that jar the reader (or are made up). For example, and your entertainment (oh, it's hard, but fun, to deliberately write something bad!):

"Come on," Jane said insistently. "We're going to be stupendously late!"
"Just a minute," Cara replied sniffily. She blew her nose loudly and deftly threw the tissue into the bin. Shakily, she applied her subtly pink lipstick and examined her reflection contemplatively. She could now hear Jane pacing huffily downstairs, so she reluctantly grabbed her coat and rushed hurriedly out the door.

Kathleen  :)

Lin

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2010, 08:17:15 AM »
I was told that adverbs tend to slow down the action.  Also the way you use dialogue should 'show' what the person is feeling or saying.  I only use the occasional adverb to show I am human!  Lots of published authors use them sparingly so I will do that too.

Lin x

Offline deborahowen

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2010, 11:58:52 PM »
Woodridge! HA! Loved the example... but I'm afraid it's a hard and fast law these days. You have the right idea - nearly all adverbs end in -ly, and are thus disqualified. The reason for this is that adverbs tell rather than show. I don't think telling will ever come back in the sense that it once was. Another present rule is to end dialogue with "he said" and "she said". > Writing is an ever-changing profession and rules don't remain static.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 10:19:03 AM by deborahowen »
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2010, 01:22:59 AM »
How should I punctuate this sentence for maximum impact.
  


The woman bent forward to pick up her purse,  her black skirt showed the line at the top of her pink tights, her toes, squashed into ill-fitting shoes.


Chancing a precarious bend forward in ill-fitting shoes with toes squashed tight, the woman's skirt rose high, revealing the line at the top of her pink tights. The dratted purse was just beyond her reach. ???




Offline WoodridgeNZ

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2010, 06:01:33 AM »
Glad you enjoyed my deliberately purple prose there, Deborah. I was trying to see how many adverbs I could squeeze in! (I think 11 in the 6 sentences!) In case anyone's reading this and doesn't realise - I don't actually write like that - it was a joke!  ;D

I do get it - use adverbial phrases and clauses that "show" rather than relying on clumsy adverbs. My point, however, was that it seems a bit extreme to have a blanket rule that you can't use adverbs - they are a natural part of our language. Leaving them out entirely would be like giving up a whole food group! An Aitkins Diet for writers!

Kathleen

Offline 510bhan

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2010, 08:32:49 AM »
Couldn't agree more, has the world gone mad? Is it to appeal to the generation brought up on visual images through screens who have limited vocabulary and just wouldn't understand descriptive adverbs? "I feel a rant coming on," she said snippishly/angrily/jokingly - who knows???

Lin

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2010, 01:18:26 PM »
Have any of you researched a book recently to see how many 'should nots' are in the writing?   Do you ever look through a novel and analyse the author's writing.

If not then do it and you will get a sense of, this is great writing but look at all those adverbs and 'Hads' and 'its' and was/were.  Go on gizza break!

Things don't have to be so strict, we are all beating ourselves with too many sticks.

Enjoy what you are doing and hope that someone somewhere likes your story.

Lin x

Offline 510bhan

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2010, 02:03:14 PM »
Does everything have to uber, ultra and post modernistic? I have old favoutries in lots of things and that's why I will favour a particular author..not necessarily because they are 'clever' but because they tell a damn good story that keeps me enagaged and wanting to turn the pages to see how the plot develops and what becomes of the hero or the villain. Nolt all novels have to be academically correct, sometimes rawness and naivete is very appealing. It also often makes for easy reading - not everything has to be highbrow and aiming for prizes.

Offline ma100

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2010, 02:57:32 PM »
As this thread seems to be developing here's my two penneth. It totally depends on what you want to do with your work I feel.

My view seems to be out on my own here. I feel if I have invested vast amounts of time into my work, I owe it to myself to make the read as engaging as I possibly can. There is nothing wrong with the use of was, were had etc and sometimes the odd ly. The problem lies when the writer over uses them.
 
Passive voice/ telling indicators/ adverbs whatever you want to call them do have a place, but you must learn to use them in the best way. I donít want to be told she was heartbroken, I want to be immersed in her pain.

Of course published authors in the past have used telling, but there lies the difference, they are published and have already got the contract for the next deal, even if itís a shopping list. :)

The normal everyday reader wonít pick up on passive voice as much as not engaging with your character and if you lose their interest by gabbing about the character rather than showing the characters emotion, you will lose them a few pages in.

Publishers, especially in this economic climate, want a sure thing. Something they know they can sell with well rounded characters and a great story. But they are the ones you have to impress with your writing capabilities. Even if you have the best story in the world, if you have the first page as info dump and passive voice, it wonít even get past the post room.

It would be wonderful to think editors sit and read all our hard work. But that first page is so important and the reality is it will hit the slush pile if they are not hooked and immersed in the writing. They are pure and simple businessmen and the trend now is Show donít tell. Maybe in five years time ití will be something else, but Iíd rather go by the advice I have been given by published authors rather than saying something like Martina Cole had 27 Hadís, was and were on one page. :P

Lin you seem to have a strong opinion on this and I commend you for sticking to your guns, but I am going to give myself the best chance possible by learning the rules and breaking them when I know what Iím doing. Okay my book will probably never get published, but I would like to think I gave it my all and took notice of the few great guys on here who helped me.

Offline 510bhan

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2010, 03:28:35 PM »
No problem playing the game - you've got to be in it to win it and once you're in then you can fight battles as you wish. However for those who simply enjoy writing and reading reasonable stuff - even for ideas or inspiration surely anything should be welcome and not slated because ir doesn't fit the current mould. Criticism is welcome and following, recipes, rules or formulae obviously pay dividends but sometimes it is a matter of personal taste, which is rather subjective.

Offline ma100

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2010, 03:56:32 PM »
For those that simply enjoy writing and not wishing to be nudged in the right direction there is places. Like on here, we have a gallery where people can showcase their work. If it doesn't fit in the current mould and they are happy about that and their readers are too, there's no problem.  ;)

However, if their ultimate goal is publishing and they want advice, they will put it in places like our review board and recognise they are actually being helped not slated. Lets face it reviewers are putting in a lot of time free of charge to try and help posters and to be told 'well I'm only doing it for my own enjoyment' they feel they have wasted their effort and has many times put off reviewers from doing anymore.

Don't get me wrong, there is some awful people that are just out to be plain horrible, but at MWC we try and control any of that sort of behaviour. I learnt early to get that thick skin or I'd still be crying into my rum ;D

Offline 510bhan

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2010, 04:22:43 PM »
Seems everyone's gone very defensive and nit picking. Fair point about the correct place for showcasing or critical review. Only coment further...if you have to use the past perfect tense had will inevitably feature in your writing.

Offline deborahowen

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Re: How should I punctuate this?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2010, 04:37:35 PM »
There are two groups of writers - those who write for pleasure and those who write for publication.
If you're writing for pleasure, do what you will, but if you want to be published, you play the
editor's game or there is no game.

When you look at publications and find things on today's no-no list, check the publication date.
Not very likely that it has been printed in the past 2-3 years.

If you learn to write by today's standards, you'll be ready to submit for publication when the notion
arises.   ;) 

No one has asked where these writing rules come from. The answer - the most current writer's magazines - largely written by editors. Personally, I like The Writer Magazine the best.
Deborah Owen :)
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