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Thread: I killed an AS

  1. #1
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Cool I killed an AS

    Original sentence:
    His wary eyes caught movement as he added the last of his load to the wood already piled against Ivergan's hut.

    Current version of sentence:
    Most of his load had joined the wood already piled against Ivergan's hut when his wary eyes caught movement.

    There was nothing wrong with the original sentence. The use of "as" to join two simultaneous events was perfectly correct. It was not a lazy "as-splice". Even I, the Ranter of As, assassin of -ings and persecuter of apostrophleas, had passed it. However, its being picked on by a slightly hyper critter made me think. I couldn't resist the challenge. So, while adding back some cut material that a wise beta regretted the loss of, I ran over the passage a few times and found a solution that did not add more words (my greatest fear *shudder*).

    Gosh, it felt good.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  2. #2
    Infuriatingly Theoretical TheIT's Avatar
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    I've been looking through my writing and noticing all the places I used "as" which should have been "when" or "while".
    Weave a web of words and trap the unwary on the stickiness of meaning.

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  3. #3
    Moon Wolf
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    Smile

    Cool! I love it when that happens.


  4. #4
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    It was the only one of its kind in the whole chapter, poor thing.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  5. #5
    DISENCHANTED coming soon Judg's Avatar
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    It's a much better sentence for the reworking. The first one was a hard read.
    Disenchanted is now out!

    My website, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (yeah, seriously), Goodreads, Pinterest--it's getting ridiculous.

  6. #6
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Thank you, she murmured modestly.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  7. #7
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    A short rant on the "as-splice"

    "As" is a decent little word, a member in good standing of the conjunction family, and has important work to do. Unfortunately, it gets stuck with a lot of make-work jobs that do nothing but embarrass it.

    It is a perfectly good synonym for "while" -- but would you use "while" in one out of every three or four sentences? I doubt it. Yet "as" turns up that often in careless writing. A lot of the time there is no good reason for its use. It is there because doing it is a habit. A bad habit. "As" used correctly gives a feeling of immediacy. An "as-splice" takes it away.

    The habit is very common among beginning writers, amateurs, fan-fickers. I don't know how it is picked up, unless by absorption from reading the same sort of stuff. You are what you read; a tolerance for poor writing will not help anyone to get published.
    * * *
    Swift, shallow water tugged at his feet as he felt his way among the slippery rocks.
    * * *
    In this sentence a person (my MC again, lol) is fording a creek. The process of careful stepping and the pull of the water are simultaneous and closely related. Use of "as" in its role as a conjunction is justifiable. In the following examples, it is not.
    * * *
    Mary watched her lamb as Jack and Jill went up the hill.
    The sun shone brightly on the ridiculous scene as Jack and Jill tumbled down the hill.
    Jack watched as Jill filled the bucket.
    * * *
    "Watched as" is particularly abhorrent--watched what? Watched the other person doing something, of course. "Watched as" is so limp and lame, almost as bad as "The day dawned bright and early." Doing this "as" cr@p over and over builds up a sort of as-resistance in the reader. The potential immediacy of "as" is wasted. The word becomes ineffectual and weak even when it is used correctly, thus weakening everything it touches.

    Though I am not overly fond of arbitrary rules, one that I do like is: Never use "as" in a first sentence. The moment I see it in a first sentence, I wince and prepare myself for the worst. Sure enough, there's one in the next paragraph, two in the one after that, and on and on. I lose my appetite. It's hard to crit without yelling, "Stop that as-ing, dammit!" Even when the worst does not happen, having my teeth set on edge by that first as-splice leaves me twitchy.

    *Sigh* I did holler at somebody once for using "The day dawned bright and early." She defended it tooth and cliched nail.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  8. #8
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    eep

    *newbie goes off on a seek and destroy mission*
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

  9. #9
    NEVER give up!!!! Danalynn's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    THANK YOU for the awesome advice, Matera!

    I went through my whole novel, and was able to eliminate 126 unnecessary AS's!



    Gonna keep a much tighter reign on those lil' buggers from now on, too.

    THANKS!


    * That's a point well put, and a timely suggestion that we'll bring up at the very
    next meeting a week from Tuesday. . . . I don't know why, it's just policy *


  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Anonymisty's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness, this is so funny - I ranted about my dislike of "as" just yesterday on my LJ!!! I wish I'd found this thread earlier.

    *grin*
    Misty
    A Hazardous Occupation (my site)
    http://www.magicalwords.net
    Writers shouldn't necessarily be mentally healthy - ask anybody."
    -- Tim Powers

  11. #11
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Oooo, I love watching the bodies pile up.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  12. #12
    Ribbed for your pleasure. Voyager's Avatar
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    Oh my word. I thought you'd bashed your AlphaSmart against a wall or shot it or something. But yay for the as kill, another notch in your pencil!
    “You write how you write. If I were a calculating careerist, I would not be a novelist.” Justin Cronin

    "I'd rather shoot myself in the face than have another discussion about the difference between one category of literature and another." Colson Whitehead

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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Constantine K's Avatar
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    I like the first one more, to be honest.

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