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Author Topic: lie/lies/lay/laid question
walexander
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For some reason, I can't solve this bleeping sentence.

The responsibility of the failed quest now (lie/lies/lay/laid?) solely on his shoulders.

The failed quest is in the past, but the responsibility is presently on his shoulders.

So which is proper tense? This is him referring to himself. Not someone else referring to him. If you follow.

W.

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Lynne Clark
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lies.
subject lies. subject lays an object on something.
failed quest is the subject ergo it lies on his shoulders.
He would lay a shawl over his shoulder if the failed quest made him cold.

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Lynne Clark
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Or is it? now you've got me questioning it.
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Lynne Clark
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I suppose it could be lay, if you argue that he had laid the responsibility on his own shoulders. I think whether it is past or present tense may rest with the rest of the paragraph. Is he speaking immediately elsewhere or is it all viewed backwards?
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Meredith
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If this story written in present tense or past tense, then use lies.

If it's in past tense--and the failed quest is further in the past--the lay.

Yes, English is weird.

Or, you can just say it rest(ed) on his shoulders. [Big Grin]

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walexander
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Here's the whole paragraph. Thanks for the help on this.

quote:
Princess Nema was dead, and with her death, so was any hope he felt within himself for redemption. No longer could he count himself amongst her brave and fearless companions. His part in their suicidal pact left unfulfilled. The responsibility of the failed quest now (lay?) solely on his shoulders. It was a burden that could break him if he couldn’t find a way to reconcile himself with its truth.
This isn't a first 13.
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extrinsic
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English usage dictionaries and comprehensive word-definition dictionary usage detail this to lie-lay irregular verb consideration at length, and sit-set and similar.

To lie upon is a personal of the self's body action, as in a person lies upon the floor. To lie is for persons; to lay is for non-persons. Verb conjugation, present, past, past perfect: lie, lay, had lain; lay, laid, had laid.

"The responsibility of the failed quest now (lay?) solely on his shoulders." The failed quest responsibility is a non-person, singular subject or non-numbered singular (subject-verb number agreement), third person, and present tense from "now" and futureward until an indeterminate time, therefore, "lays."

What about a person-to-person action? Present tense: I lie her down on the floor. She lies me down on my bed. However, I lay his body in state. A dead body is a non-person. However, He lies dead on the floor. Dead yet still assumed a person at the present time -- or not, if the death is certain and unsentimental. He lays dead in the casket.

Idiolect and idiom and metaphor variants notwithstood.

[ February 13, 2018, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Lies sounds okay to me and so does lay.

Go with whichever you prefer.

The copy editor may change it regardless of which you use.

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extrinsic
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This editor would note the subjunctive mood and stream-of-consciousness thought nature of the paragraph overall, and obviate the subject and verb number agreement, grammatical person, verb, idiom or not, and tense considerations altogether by the simple suggested addition of one word, a verb auxiliary, to clarify and strengthen the now and futureward and subjunctive mood of the sentence on point. Other suggestions come to mind; however, the fragment is not offered for other commentary per "This isn't a first 13."

"The responsibility of the failed quest [would] now lay solely on his shoulders." Subjunctive mood (conditional tense), and clarifies and strengthens that adverb "now" is an intensifier use more so than a tense signal.

For one, a preposition error, "of," and wordy, //for//.

[ February 14, 2018, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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walexander
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Shoot,

Amazing how a single word problem usually leads back to multiple sentence questions. Now I see three sentences not connected correctly.

The question of 'for' in place of 'of' caused a ripple in the two sentences preceding.

quote:
Princess Nema was dead, and with her death, so was any hope he felt within himself for redemption. No longer could he count himself amongst her brave and fearless companions due to his part of their suicidal pact left unfulfilled. Now the responsibility for the quest's failure lay solely upon his shoulders. It was a burden that could break him if he couldn’t find a way to reconcile himself with its truth.
Hmm, needs some thinking,

Thanks for the advice everyone. Amazing how writing never gets any easier. You just move up to the next level of problems.

W

PS. Had to laugh. Just noticed hatrack time is in the east so technically I'm sending my posts two hours into the future.

[ February 14, 2018, 01:02 AM: Message edited by: walexander ]

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Jack Albany
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W, grab a hold of a dictionary of English usage. Merriam-Webster if you're a Yank, Leech, Cruickshank, Ivanic if you're a Brit/Aussie.
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extrinsic
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Writing becomes easier through intensive grammar study levels, through a writer's study, practice, and application movement toward experienced writer. The U.S. grammar gold standard is The Little, Brown Handbook, 13th edition low $$$ new. Several for British English, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, 2002, thrice as much $ new as Little, Brown's, ranks among the several. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English costs less, upper $$, and is a derivative of Cambridge, plus, covers speech grammars somewhat. Bypass paperbacks and opt for the more durable hardcovers; board covers wear gentler if referenced as much as they will and best practice should.

Hatrack time display is user optional, default set to our host Orson Scott Card's and Hatrack server home time zone: Eastern U.S. Not given to me to reveal more. To reset time display, select, under Hatrack River Writers Workshop below the masthead banner, "my profile," select Edit Preferences, enter Time Adjustment plus five hours for Greenwich Mean Time zone or minus two hours for U.S. Mountain Time zone. Preference edit Update Profile prompts for user name and password authentication. User time displays whatever time zone adjustment set to.

[ February 14, 2018, 03:04 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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walexander
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quote:
Hatrack time display is user optional, default set to our host Orson Scott Card's and Hatrack server home time zone: Eastern U.S. Not given to me to reveal more. To reset time display, select, under Hatrack River . . .
Ahh, E. You're great at editing, but you failed to see the humor in a sci-fi writer sending his posts two hours into the future, but I can appreciate your know-how.

Jack, I have MW's English usage. The Lie/Lay question/answer is not in there. I already checked, but if you can find it in there please point out the page number. I am only human.

Plus overall, I point out how the question of lie/lay in the forum helped me see a larger problem in the paragraph structure.

I remember when I first came here and my focus was on word by word spelling problems like there/their/they're. Then I moved to increasing my weak vocabulary. Then basic sentence structure. Then hook structure. Then creative writing. Then research - brainstorming - world building - outlining - and idea implementation. Then chapter building and novel building. Then flow. Then drafts and rewrites. Then content gaps and repetitive subject matter and repetitive sentences, and now - word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, line editing only in the hope to get the writing into the hands of a professional editor. (Mainly working on paragraph structure now.) It all can become very mind-numbing. I have about a half dozen top grammar books close at hand, but if you've ever had a complex English problem, getting a direct answer to the problem can become quite time-consuming. This is with editing software and internet access. That is why I always defend the forum because it has always been an invaluable tool for me to fall back on when stumped. And all of this is done in hopes of becoming a better writer without sacrificing creativity, which can easily get bogged down in technical issues. (Write first - Rewrite later)

The only reason I said it wasn't a first 13 is that it isn't. It's just a paragraph in the middle of chapter two. Not to say that's less important, every paragraph is important to the story.

- But the weight of a first thirteen does not "lie" upon this paragraph's shoulders. [Wink]

W.

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Jay Greenstein
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quote:
Princess Nema was dead, and with her death, so was any hope he felt within himself for redemption.
If you're telling someone a story, personally, this paragraph is what you'd say, in summation. But does he live in summation, or is his life lived as ours is, moment-by-moment?

When you read fiction, are you looking for a summation of events, or to be made to live the story in real-time, with the protagonist as your avatar? Assume you're reading a horror story. Do you want to know that the protagonist feels terror or be made to be afraid to turn out the lights? Story happens, it's not talked about. The reader is hoping to be made to feel, not know.

Take a simple example: Someone runs into the room where you are and says, "Did you hear? Someone was hit by a car at the corner." Compare that to your reaction were they to have said, "Did you hear? Your mother was hit by a car at the corner?" Information that emotionally involves us has a far greater effect than data, and the paragraph you showed is data, a summation, delivered in a voice that had no emotion other than that suggested by the punctuation and what's inherent to the words, themselves. So what the reader "hears," is very different from what they would were you telling the story aloud. Have your computer read it aloud and you'll hear how dispassionately it reads.

Look at the line I quoted as a reader, not the author, who knows the story and the people as they read. It's a report, because you're not in the protagonist's viewpoint. Instead, you the storyteller, are explaining the situation as a dispassionate external observer. But is he living the story as we watch, or are you talking about it? As presented, why isn't there a line of dialog, following the paragraph, where he says, "Who the hell are you, and why are you talking about me to people I can't see?"

Who wants to read a storyteller's script, or a report? That only informs, and your reader hopes to be entertained right? In his viewpoint, in the moment he calls now, and in his mind, it's more like:

Princess Nema is dead, along with any hope of redemption.

Presented in your viewpoint you face the problem that without knowing your intent for the words, the reader cannot take any meaning for them but what the words suggest to them, based on their background, experience, and personality. And given the variables, like reader age, background, area, and even gender, is there any assurance that the meaning you intend matches what the reader takes? No. But...suppose the reader is given the protagonist's interpretation of events, their resources, needs, desires, and necessities—in other words, their viewpoint. Won't the meaning they take be the one the protagonist does?

Place anyone in the same situation and what they take from it will be the result of both the situation and what the protagonist brings to that situation. For an example of what I mean, here's an example of the result of multiple people viewing the same scene, and how different what they take from it is.

I know this isn't the kind of answer you were expecting, but as I see it the problem isn't one of phrasing, it's of the structural approach, something that has far-reaching effects in all aspects of the story.

This article, one I favor, is a condensation of one very powerful way of placing the reader into the scene in real-time, as a participant, and on stage, not as an audience member drowsing in the third row.

Hope this helps.

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walexander
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Hmm,

Need to get back to you on this jay. I'm reading the article and following it to its source material. I gladly accept advice, but "cum grano salis" (taken with a grain of salt)

I can say this. The paragraph in question falls under Sequel - At stage -

Dilemma: A Dilemma is a situation with no good options. If your Disaster was a real Disaster, there aren’t any good choices. Your POV character must have a real dilemma. This gives your reader a chance to worry, which is good. Your reader must be wondering what can possibly happen next. (Mainly here.)Let your POV character work through the choices. Let him sort things out. Eventually, let him come to the least-bad option . . .

but I see what you are saying about the MRU small scale. Here's a quick rewrite to see if I'm following this thinking correctly - This is internal. He would not be talking out loud at this point. Based on where he is, being alone, and the danger he is facing.

quote:
Nema was dead, along with any hope for his redemption. He no longer could count himself amongst her brave and fearless companions. His part of their suicidal pact was left unfulfilled. The responsibility for the quest's failure would now lay solely upon his shoulders. The burden of which threatened to break him if he couldn’t find a way to reconcile himself with its truth.
I do see one inherent danger to constant MRU's in third person. That of making the reader the "I" and slipping into first person, but that's just a minor note. It's hard to say if some summation isn't needed. You can find it in Tolkien and many other great authors. But I am definitely learning something here.

Thank you. Who'd realize this would become so fascinating.

W.

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Jack Albany
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W, in the above example it should be, to my ear, lie instead of lay. Proof? I have none; it just 'sounds' better that way.

Found it. 14th printing, Merriam-Webster hardcover, page 586: lay,lie.

[ February 14, 2018, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: Jack Albany ]

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walexander
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That !@$%$@! word! What did Meredith say - Rested - lol.

I'm just going to write it -

The responsibility for the quest's failure would now lay, lie, lies, lays, laid, lain, and rested solely upon his shoulders. [Razz]

W.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by walexander:
Amazing how writing never gets any easier. You just move up to the next level of problems.

So, so true!
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by walexander:
quote:
Hatrack time display is user optional, default set to our host Orson Scott Card's and Hatrack server home time zone: Eastern U.S. Not given to me to reveal more. To reset time display, select, under Hatrack River . . .
Ahh, E. You're great at editing, but you failed to see the humor in a sci-fi writer sending his posts two hours into the future, but I can appreciate your know-how.
Did not fail to see the humor on my end because the time display here doesn't show your disparate times, even if sent into your relative future, no notice displayed of such on this end. Hence, the humor is an inside lark for the self's amusement: "De se," of oneself (Wikipedia).

[ February 14, 2018, 08:12 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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extrinsic
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"Nema was dead, along with any hope for his redemption. He no longer could count himself amongst her brave and fearless companions. His part of their suicidal pact was left unfulfilled. The responsibility for the quest's failure would now lay solely upon his shoulders. The burden of which threatened to break him if he couldn’t find a way to reconcile himself with its truth."

To me, doth try overmuch for too on-the-nose explanation, writer tell interference, and misses that the passage is thought's stream of consciousness.

A recast for illustration purposes, my aesthetic, though:

//He could count himself her brave and fearless companion no more. Nema was dead, and hope for his redemption. Their suicidal pact unfulfilled -- the quest's failure would now fall upon his shoulders alone. Break or reconcile him to the truth.//

"Lay, lie," Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, pages 586 - 7.

[ February 14, 2018, 08:22 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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walexander
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Oh yeah - 42 is the answer to your future question about the universe E. Explain how I knew that if I wasn't in the past. Bazinga.

)writer sits at the bar looking at his fifth shot and realizes the universe no longer make any rational sense.(

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extrinsic
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Enlightenment's glories lay beyond the stygian abyss. Jump the elephant! not the shark.
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walexander
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The universe is but a fraction of thought my friend, do not lose yourself to the seconds tick-tock or find yourself back to the forwards trapped in the in-between of now.
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extrinsic
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If a do over were given of me to my youth, I'd show and persuade the youth through apt appeal enticements that the easiest way is the hard way. Not by the rod nor cat-o-nine, rather by more raspberbious approbations.
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walexander
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True, but in zero there is not, but in not, there is nothing to look forward to. There is no easy way to accept life's inevitable outcome, except, live or live not.
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walexander
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Philosophies thought lacks a center. A center expanding ever outward and yet unclosed within a boundary never enclosed. Who can say here is the measure of something we've never known? I can, and yell, "See me, step not here, destroyer of ants!"
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extrinsic
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When you look at the Moon, do you see-see a platter or a sphere? From that, see-see the sizes of Earth, Sun, and the Solar System? From that, infer the sizes of the Milky Way, the Local Cluster, the Universe, in its many dimensions? More than see-infer, be every fiber of being? If so, one feels very minuscule before all, yet part of and, therefore, as large as the whole. Only humanity is able to perceive and be the largeness of all, and few humans at that.

Like philosophy's relation to sapience, moral aptitude of the species and how an individual's sapience stacks up, if, as they say, half the people the self meets are below average for see-seeing the Moon dimensionally, half are above average, and the self average at the center of allness. Not so. A few are average, fewer above average, most below average of what humanity is capable, the self's center blinded by the allness's all and self-justifications' irrelevances.

[ February 14, 2018, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Jay Greenstein
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quote:
Nema was dead, along with any hope for his redemption. He no longer could count himself amongst her brave and fearless companions. His part of their suicidal pact was left unfulfilled. The responsibility for the quest's failure would now lay solely upon his shoulders. The burden of which threatened to break him if he couldn’t find a way to reconcile himself with its truth.
This is still a summation, from you. If this is a cut-scene that rubber-bands time to pass over a section in which little happens, no problems. But if this is presented as his reaction to events, it's a break in POV, and he sould be asking you who you are and why you're in stage.

My question on this is: why you must tell the reader this? Don't they know this from personal observation, as he does, based on the events in the scene? If so, why is this paragraph necessary? If not, you're not placing the reader into his viewpoint, and should.

Whenever you step on stage, and talk to the reader, you still the scene clock and kill all momentum the scene may have achieved. And in the words of Sol Stein, “In sum, if you want to improve your chances of publication, keep your story visible on stage and yourself mum.”

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walexander
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Thanks for the advice jay. I'll do some research, and see if I need to make more adjustments.

Thanks again,

W.

[ February 15, 2018, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: walexander ]

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walexander
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Excellent work Jack! Exactly on that page. Lay/Lie.
Not sure how I missed it.

Thank you!

W.

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extrinsic
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William Faulkner's first published short story "Landing in Luck," The Mississippian, November 26, 1919, University of Mississippi, a summarized anecdote narrative. Available as part of an early Faulkner poems and prose collection at Internet Archive, archive.org, digitized from an Atlantic Monthly Press Book, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Toronto, edited By Carvel Collins 1962.

The story is 2,100 words. The story on Faulkner's curriculum vitae -- he next found less resistance for professional short story publication. Seven years on, he debuted his first novel: Soldier's Pay.

An excerpt below that almost slips into the agonist's thoughts, stream of consciousness, and entails a life-defining decision though no way overtly declared, portrayed, nor implied. Much of the writer in the narrative, yet slips shyly, doubtfully between writer-narrator voice and agonist voice, almost estranges the narrator-writer. Faulkner, for this narrative, uses the pre-modernist prose traditions his later works would have less of and more of modernist methods. Third person, selective omniscient-omnipresent narrator, past tense, indicative mood narrative point of view.

1919 Faulkner yet was self-conscious and less confident than his later effusive prose aesthetic, somewhat visible here. Most notable, the story's parts and parcels are summarization and conversation top heavy, and description, narration, action, sensation, introspection, exposition, explanation, transition, and emotion prose writing modes, most so, ever forward dramatic movement -- as like the plane and Thompson are.

Landing in Luck
William Faulkner
Excerpt
quote:
Thompson pulled down his goggles. He had been angry enough to kill his officer for the better part of a week, so added indignities rested but lightly upon him. He was a strange mixture of fear and pride as he opened the throttle wide and pushed the stick forward — fear that he would wreck the machine landing, and pride that he was on his own at last. He was no physical coward, his fear was that he would show himself up before his less fortunate friends to whom he had talked largely of spins and side slips and gliding angles.

All-in-all, he was in no particularly safe frame of mind for his solo flight. He gained speed down the field. The tail was off the ground now and Thompson, more or less nervous, though he had taken the machine off like a veteran with the instructor aboard, pulled the stick back before the machine had gained speed sufficient to rise. It lurched forward and the tail sank heavily, losing more speed. He knew that he had gone too far down the field and should turn back and take off again, so he closed the throttle. When the noise of the engine ceased he heard the instructor shouting at him, and the splutter of a motor cycle. Sending after him, were they? Cadet Thompson was once more cleanly angry. He jerked the throttle open.

His subconscious mind had registered a cable across the end of the field, and he had flown enough to know that it was touch and go as to whether he would clear it. He was afraid of rising too soon again and he knew that he would not stop in time were he to close the throttle now. So, his eyes on the speed indicator, he pulled the stick back. The motion at once became easier and he climbed as much as he dared.



[ February 15, 2018, 08:57 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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walexander
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So interestingly enough on my other thread of dialog tags came up Browne and King's, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS. If you read the show and tell chapter they discuss narrative summary. When to use it, when not to use it.

I only bring this up when doing research into the writing the perfect scene article by Randy Ingermanson which Jay suggested. While Randy Ingermanson's article has some merit's, and you can read his style in book one, City of God series, the book is free on Amazon/ebook. It has it's shortfalls also, but that's just personal opinion. When stacked up against other professional suspense writer's styles like Clancy, Patterson, Grisham's, Crichton, I see the limitation. I felt in Randy Ingermanson novel he cut too much information. There was a lot of action, but it lacked substance for me. I had no clue what was happening in chapter one except he leads it by telling everyone about wormholes and time travel before the chapter. The protag is wearing VR equipment then is in ancient times. If the writer hadn't led it with talk of time travel you'd be clueless.

It's funny because the framework Randy Ingermanson suggest's is interesting. I just believe there are many aspects of page turning that he has left out. The above chapter in Browne and King's, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS I believe cover's some of these shortfalls.

This was definitely a rabbit hole thread. It's led a few unusual place's. I learned a few really interesting things about writing, including a few interesting things about my favorite author's also. I thank all the contributors to both threads. We need more discussion's like this. I know we all won't always agree on the best course of writing, but just having the discussion broadens horizons.

I highly suggest you form your own opinion and if you haven't read either the books above, you do so, including Randy Ingermanson full book on writing technique or his other articles on his website if so interested.

This is the journey,

W.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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But watch out for those unnecessary apostrophes, okay?
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walexander
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K
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walexander
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darn, missed it,
should have said,
'kay

[Smile]

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extrinsic
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Shortfalls of writing about writing texts are legend. Multiple texts and prose to contrast and compare asserted craft method theories are, therefore, useful. In a final analysis, learning extant craft is but a step-stone to realization of the self's true design.
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