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whitehound
08-13-2005, 01:09 PM
I am having a discussion with somebody about fine details of style. I won't tell you why, with whom, or which bit is whose, because I don't want to bias the vote. Just tell me, if you would, which of these slightly different version of the same scene you prefer.


For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous. She decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and she grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous: decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Prof. Destruction to our enemies."

triceretops
08-13-2005, 01:19 PM
Gee, either one will pass. Only difference is a colon instead of a new sentence. Very good writing BTW.

Tri

brinkett
08-13-2005, 03:46 PM
I like the second one better, even though I don't like the use of the colon.

Julie Worth
08-13-2005, 03:55 PM
I am having a discussion with somebody about fine details of style. I won't tell you why, with whom, or which bit is whose, because I don't want to bias the vote. Just tell me, if you would, which of these slightly different version of the same scene you prefer.


For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous. She decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and she grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous: decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Prof. Destruction to our enemies."



Both seem wordy, and I hate the colon in the second one. I'd prefer it as:

He was freakish and dangerous, but then, he wasn’t the one who got off on blood and death. So she grinned back in a sort of cozy, mutual malice, saying, "Destruction to our enemies, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

Saanen
08-13-2005, 05:35 PM
I prefer the first selection--it seems to flow a little better. I like the writing style.

azbikergirl
08-13-2005, 06:02 PM
I prefer the first one. The colon leaps out at me in the second, and the phrase starting with 'decided' seems too long the way it's constructed.

Medievalist
08-13-2005, 07:06 PM
I prefer the first one. The colon leaps out at me in the second, and the phrase starting with 'decided' seems too long the way it's constructed.

The colon shouldn't be a colon, though semi-colon would be OK. I prefer the first.

loquax
08-13-2005, 07:18 PM
I agree with Julie's post, if only for the inclusion of a "but". It separates the two contrasting statements much more effectively than any punctuation could.

clintl
08-13-2005, 09:11 PM
I also prefer the first.

Birol
08-13-2005, 10:12 PM
The first.

Niesta
08-13-2005, 11:41 PM
The first.

Sharon Mock
08-14-2005, 12:57 AM
For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous. She decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and she grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous: decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Prof. Destruction to our enemies."

1. Either one works, depending on the style of the surrounding writing.

2. Of the two, I prefer the sentence break to the colon, but otherwise prefer the second version.

3. Neither is the way I would write it personally, which might go something like:


She'd never noticed he was freakish and dangerous. On the other hand, she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death.

She grinned back with a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

4. I wouldn't use "Prof" for Professor unless it's a nickname that's already well-established. Possibly not even then.

Bufty
08-14-2005, 01:13 AM
First for me.

Jamesaritchie
08-14-2005, 01:57 AM
I am having a discussion with somebody about fine details of style. I won't tell you why, with whom, or which bit is whose, because I don't want to bias the vote. Just tell me, if you would, which of these slightly different version of the same scene you prefer.


For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous. She decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and she grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous: decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Prof. Destruction to our enemies."



Either will do, neither is great, and both need to have a "THAT" removed.

HConn
08-14-2005, 05:24 AM
The first is better than the second, but I'm not terribly fond of it.

veinglory
08-14-2005, 05:26 AM
the second with a semi-colon, but neither is smoothly written.

WVWriterGirl
08-14-2005, 09:21 AM
The first.

zornhau
08-15-2005, 02:38 PM
Both versions are flawed because you're telling rather than showing: stepping outside her head to tell us about the passage of time. Also, we need to see her reactions. For example, something a little like this:


He grinned wolfishly.

She shuffled back a pace. What a dangerous wierdo. But the way her blood-soaked soles stuck to the marmoleum reminded her that she was little better. With a smile, she cocked her Uzi. "Yeah, Prof. Kill them all and let God sort 'em out."
Not perfect, of course. However, the idea is to give her an reaction that takes "an instant", then have her mentally dismiss it. YMMV
Z

brinkett
08-15-2005, 03:25 PM
Both versions are flawed because you're telling rather than showing:
It depends. If the versions are lifted from a WIP, maybe, maybe not--we'd need to know the surrounding text to say. If the versions were concocted so that they differ in one or two stylistic elements for the purpose of this informal poll, rewrites are useless, and weren't requested anyway.

zornhau
08-15-2005, 03:33 PM
Ah, we were discussing the to colon or not to colon. My bad.

zornhau
08-15-2005, 03:39 PM
Though, actually, I stand by my original comments.

The colon was being used to separate two instants in time, so it was part of a construction which told rather than showed the POV character's changing perceptions over time.

It was a bit like asking: What shall I take into the gunfight? A fish or a surrealist manifesto?

brinkett
08-15-2005, 03:47 PM
I'm not sure the colon is the key stylistic element--only whitehound knows. Just pointing out that a specific question was asked, and the two examples might have been constructed just for that purpose.

As far as telling vs. showing goes, again, hard to say without knowing the context.

(it's difficult to do a good job of improving a sentence without knowing the voice of the rest of the work and the context of the sentence...)

zornhau
08-15-2005, 03:59 PM
I'm not sure the colon is the key stylistic element--only whitehound knows. Just pointing out that a specific question was asked, and the two examples might have been constructed just for that purpose.


Problem was, I couldn't see anything redeeming in either of the two examples. How was I to answer? I could have said nothing, I suppose... I was only trying to help as I would in the workshop I attend. The OP can ignore my comments if they choose.



As far as telling vs. showing goes, again, hard to say without knowing the context.

(it's difficult to do a good job of improving a sentence without knowing the voice of the rest of the work and the context of the sentence...)

Context: It was 3rd person past tense SF genre fiction rather than literary.

Voice: There's nothing magical about "voice". If the rest of the novel is in a similar "voice" then it's flawed and requires an edit.

Had it been in a 1st person conversational style, that might have been a different matter.

brinkett
08-15-2005, 05:27 PM
Problem was, I couldn't see anything redeeming in either of the two examples. How was I to answer?

I don't like either style.



I could have said nothing, I suppose... I was only trying to help as I would in the workshop I attend. The OP can ignore my comments if they choose.

True.



Context: It was 3rd person past tense SF genre fiction rather than literary.

That's not what I meant by context. I meant the surrounding text, if there is any.



Voice: There's nothing magical about "voice". If the rest of the novel is in a similar "voice" then it's flawed and requires an edit.

You can't make that assessment based on one sentence lifted from the work (if there's a work).

Anyway, all I was trying to point out was that a specific question was asked, and critiquing/rewriting doesn't answer the question. I didn't mean to single you out specifically, and should have made that clear in my original response.

zornhau
08-15-2005, 05:49 PM
Agreed. No flame intended or taken. We're just clarifying here!

I disagree with you, in that I think that in some cases you can take a chunk of text out of its page and tell that it's broken or probably broken. However, that's OT for this thread. 'nuff said.

Z

scfirenice
08-15-2005, 05:54 PM
[

One instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous; she decided in another that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk. She grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice and said (or 'saying' depending on your tense.) , "Destruction to our enemies, then, Professor. Destruction to our enemies." I like the first better, but I took the liberty of cleaning it up. Both have grammatical errors.


For an instant she felt that he was freakish and dangerous: ( colon use here is incorrect.) decided in another instant that she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death and was therefore in no position to talk, and grinned back in a sort of cosy, mutual malice. "Destruction to our enemies, then, Prof. Destruction to our enemies."

Just my thoughts, for what they are worth.
S

brinkett
08-15-2005, 05:57 PM
I disagree with you, in that I think that in some cases you can take a chunk of text out of its page and tell that it's broken or probably broken.

Oh, I agree that sometimes you can, but without context, I don't find anything terribly broken about either version (cringing over the colon aside). Room for improvement and broken are two different things, IMO.



However, that's OT for this thread. 'nuff said.

Agreed. Don't want to hijack the thread as I'm finding it interesting. Hopefully whitehound will let us know what the discussion was about.

Sharon Mock
08-16-2005, 02:37 AM
I don't think we've gotten off-topic quite yet. We're just starting to explore interesting tangents. :)


He grinned wolfishly.

She shuffled back a pace. What a dangerous wierdo. But the way her blood-soaked soles stuck to the marmoleum reminded her that she was little better. With a smile, she cocked her Uzi. "Yeah, Prof. Kill them all and let God sort 'em out."
Showing is all well and good, but there's nothing in this revision that shows the POV character's personality as engagingly as "she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death". Sometimes getting the POV camera inside the character's head is more effective than a more objective view.

zornhau
08-17-2005, 04:00 PM
I don't think we've gotten off-topic quite yet. We're just starting to explore interesting tangents. :)

Showing is all well and good, but there's nothing in this revision that shows the POV character's personality as engagingly as "she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death". Sometimes getting the POV camera inside the character's head is more effective than a more objective view.



Agreed. I was just illustrating the form I preferred and so was more concerned with showing the passage of time rather than the inside of her head. Taking onboard your feedback...


He grinned wolfishly.

She shuffled back a pace. What a dangerous wierdo. But then, she was the one who got off on singing about blood and death - otherwise they would never have met. Too late to turn back now. With a smile, she cocked her Uzi. "Yeah, Prof. Kill them all and let God sort 'em out."
Given more context, I'd work some physical details in about her singing. E.g. if she's a pro musician, perhaps there's a picture of her on the wall strutting her stuff in Heavy Rock gear.

Bartel
08-20-2005, 09:04 PM
Both seem wordy, and I hate the colon in the second one. I'd prefer it as:

He was freakish and dangerous, but then, he wasn’t the one who got off on blood and death. So she grinned back in a sort of cozy, mutual malice, saying, "Destruction to our enemies, Professor. Destruction to our enemies."

I know we're trying to narrow our focus here, but I had to make a quick comment on this. It seemed to me that the first line of the excerts were meant to show the singer's impression of the professor, not necessarily how he definitively was. Sorry, just had to mention that. Okay, so, on to the point. I agree with many of the members in saying that both versions need work, but I prefer the first one. The change from Professor to Prof needs to be carefully considered, as well, as it completely changes the feel of the singer

preyer
08-24-2005, 03:21 PM
i prefer the first one. nothing wrong with colons, etc., as long as they flow well, which this one in the second version didn't. it was almost jarring and heavy-handed. colons are just gimmicks, anyway. effective gimmicks, but gimmicks nonetheless.