Orion squats down and leans back against the once white marble column, the thick moss growing all around its surface makes it look more like an old oak than anything else. Near the empty floor-to-ceiling windows, the tall dying prairie grass that grows in the dirt, blown across the red tiled floor over the decades since the Purification, gives lobby of this ruined century old building an odd look. The small gardens in the lobby and waiting area, those that'd been carefully tended to bring a spark of nature to this huge place of business almost eighty years ago, have now grown into little thickets of wild willow and large aspen that are bent and twisted from growing around the beams that used to hold the glass windows of the atrium. But no birds make nest in these trees.
[ September 30, 2013, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]
Posted by J_Jammer (Member # 10165) on :
I really like the last sentence.
Sentence length is like makeup. If used correctly it accents the beauty of what's shown. Or so I think.
You have great descriptions that are stowed away in the length of these few sentences that are confusing with the amount of commas used.
Now not all your sentences are too long. Really none are. It's the need for varying length that makes some too long.
It has been said that the average reader forgets what they've read if the sentence has too many words. They'll have to reread.
Hoped that sparked something. As any suggestion, it's your choice. It is, afterall, your world.
Posted by Denevius (Member # 9682) on :
Your sentence construction is confusing, and I think grammatically incorrect. Like this:
quote: Orion squats down and leans back against the once white marble column, the thick moss growing all around its surface makes it look more like an old oak than anything else.
As written, this doesn't exactly make sense. A period should follow 'column', and you'll probably have to specify what the 'its' is in the next sentence.
Posted by arriki (Member # 3079) on :
The extreme length of the sentences is not working. I realize long sentences CAN work...but not these. I ask myself, WHY? It's too -- cloying? It "feels" like a level droning as I reread it. Also, little happens?
Posted by MattLeo (Member # 9331) on :
Let's take just this one sentence:
quote:Near the empty floor-to-ceiling windows, the tall dying prairie grass that grows in the dirt, blown across the red tiled floor over the decades since the Purification, gives lobby of this ruined century old building an odd look.
The sense of this sentence is this: The grass growing on the floor gives the lobby an "odd" look. So start right there. "Odd" is a weak modifier. Odd how? It could be "unreal", "forlorn", "graveyard", "abandoned", or (if you like irony) "cheerful".
Note the proliferation of commas (usually a warning sign), particularly the comma between "dirt" and "blown". I know why it's there, to set of an adjectival phrase, but at this point we have a subject (the grass) and we're looking for a verb, so it's natural on first pass through the sentence to think that the *grass* is blowing across the floor. Then we have to rescind that picture when we encounter the actual verb "gives". Try to avoid sentences where the reader builds then rescinds a faulty picture in the course of reading.
I think you are giving this sentence too much to do. It's primary function is to paint a minor element of the setting: a ruined old building lobby overgrown with grass. But you're also trying to slip some backstory under our noses (there was an event called the Purification that happened decades ago, and the building was presumably ruined in that). You're even trying to slip some of Orion's attitude into this (the lobby looks "odd").
My suggestion is strip the sentence down and move the other stuff into other sentences. Don't try to do more than one or two things per sentence. For example describe the lobby, but maybe in a way that *suggests* Orion's response to it, if that's what you want to do.
Watch your commas. Don't hesitate to use them where they're needed, but if you need three that's probably a red flag that you're making an over complicated sentence.
Streamline the language of the opening. If it's a heightened effect you want, your sentence have to resonate, and for that they must be less cluttered. Then you can count on the impression each sentence makes sticking in the reader's head, and that lets you paint the picture piece by piece.
Posted by lala412 (Member # 10194) on :
This is my first critique, please forgive -
I really love the imagery in this scene. However, I confess that I had to read it three times to really “see” the imagery because of the length of the sentences. I can relate to that, though – I do the exact same thing, just not so nicely. I really love your word choices, and the overall effect is haunting, IMO.