Monday, May 25, 2009

Am I the only one in the world?

It seems to me (that) the ing, comma, ed curse is growing. It gets on my nerves with prolific use. Though it is very common it strikes me as clumsy.

They seem back to front. And for me, spoil the smooth flow of reading. Of course you are free to disagree, but look:

Strolling along the sand, the wind whipped his hair into a tormented frenzy.

Many years ago an old journo (he wasn't really old, I was just really young) advised me of the value of short sentences. I can only assume this is advice from him through me to you.

I'd do a re-write on the above sentence. I think it can do a lot more with a rich selection of sensations.

The sand was wet from a tide just departed. A smooth palette fresh, tempting and waiting for his footprints. And as the wind whipped his hair into a frenzy, he concentrated on the marks he left behind. A dog's leg trail along the beach, soon obliterated by the rogue wave, here and there, defying the tide edge. Life is like that. Temporary, easily erased by an accident of fate.

And I can expand this to a richer image.

The seagulls danced and sqwauked above him. Who is this stranger invading our beach? If he'd had some scraps for them, they'd have complained less, but alas, he would remain an invader of this lonely windy place.

The sentence alone can be re-written. As he walked along the sand, the wind whipped his hair into a frenzy.

But re-thinking 'how can I re-write this sentence, it left me with more images, sensations and a litte more meat than just a mere rearrangement of words and tenses.

Adding sounds, smells, to a text can enhance a mental picture. I don't want to tell, but also to show. Trail subtle mental images through the reader's head like adding thyme and garlic can add subtle flavor to a casserole.


Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Like they say, "Let your senses guide you."

We have so much more freedom to do that in literary writing, but genre writing seems to discourage such frivolity, doesn't it?

The first sentence made it soun like the wind was strolling along the sand LOL!

Zara Penney said...

LOL. You can take the crit partner out of the crit group, but you can't take the crit out of the partner.

LOL Chumplet.