Meredith, I just read the ‘free sample’ of Becoming Lioness. Interesting. Am I intrigued, yes. Will I buy the full version, I’m not certain yet. I liked the story and the prose is gentle and easy on the eye. But I do have a problem. It’s a nit, and nits are always annoying, frustrating and a barrier to selling a story.
Grammar and proof reading. Grrrr!
I was the worlds worst grammarian, I’m getting better, but I have ‘cultivated’ two people on the net to guide me when I think I’ve got it right – and I’m usually wrong. Blast! You made a number of slight, almost unimportant errors of grammar; mainly the omission of comma’s to clarify some sentences and editing out a few and’s that would also make declarative statements clearer and easier to understand. Perhaps most people won’t notice them, but I did. And I kept pausing in my reading to add the odd ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘there’.
And things like: Besides his strange appearance . . . kept pulling me up. I have a preference in this instance for – Despite or ‘In addition to’.
Another: I’d had to . . . did the same thing to me. Written in ‘longhand’, that reads as I had had to . . ..
I know; I’m a pedant.
But, I can’t argue with Sol Stein. This is the last phase of the editing process. If it isn’t perfect, it damages the value of the work.
I'm sorry that the style bothers you, but that's not the same thing as grammatical errors.
This story did not go out without a careful read and several critiques. I count seven critiques from Hatrack alone (most in 2010), plus four from another writers group more recently.
"Had had", or "I'd had" is correct use of the past perfect tense.
Although you didn't mention it, there are sentence fragments intentionally as these correspond with the characters thoughts. (I don't always think in complete sentences, either, often dropping subjects like "it" and to be verbs.)
I can't respond to the commas without an example.
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