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triceretops
12-05-2004, 10:17 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

There are many things wrong with this sentence. Rewrite this sentence using your own style and color. What would an editor like to see here? I know that I see this type of writing more than I'd like to think, almost everywhere, even is some published books. More than grammar or syntax, try for clarity.

Here would be an editor's version of that sentence:

"I could plainly see that it was a corpse, apparently a gun shot victim."

Here's my version with a touch of style.

"I couldn't believe it; it was corpse, a lonely tattered heap shot full of holes."

Just one aspect I didn't like about it: Eyes don't have provocation. People do. What else do you see besides syntax and grammar?

Triceratops

maestrowork
12-05-2004, 10:39 AM
Overwrought. Pretentious. Convoluted. Too much telling... the list goes on...

How I'd edit it? It depends on the genre, I suppose. But if it's mystery, I'd probably do:

To my horror, the man was already dead with multiple gunshot wounds."

bfdc
12-06-2004, 02:09 AM
Hehehe. If I were an editor and read that at the top of the page, I'd close the file and return it with my apologies for not having time to finish it.

On the other hand, if I were an editor working for a publisher and being paid by the hour, I'd be rubbing my hands together and looking for that new printer I'd like to get.

My edit:

Ah, jeeze, the guy was dead, shot full of holes.

Did I spell "jeeze" right?

Bob/bfdc

AprilBoo
12-06-2004, 11:03 AM
If I were editing this, I would have stopped after "horrific slaughter" unless I were contractually obligated to continue. What a ridiculous way to describe seeing a dead body. There's a logic problem in the end of the sentence too - if the bullets infiltrated the corpse, then the guy was already dead when he was shot, and you still don't know what the cause of death is.

Depending on context, I might try this:

His death was unwelcome reality. I saw his body, bloodied and torn through by bullets, lying lifeless on the concrete.


By the way - where did this sentence come from? Care to share?

triceretops
12-06-2004, 11:39 AM
April,

I'd prefer not to share the exact source other than to say it came from another writing group entirely. It did not originate here. I've crittered about 30 fiction shorts and found that about 22 of them had similar or less than catastrophic writing styles. This has been in the last two months. I know that most of these are neophytes and testing the waters before they make the big jump. And the big jump to them is actually posting in writing groups--fear of ridicule, the reason for hesitancy.
I remember all too well my own stumbling beginnings as a budding writer, so I'm really trying to assist these beginners without inflammatory bias. The surprise is their stories have well thought out plots, theme, good characterization and other elements that make their stories quite fascinating and original. It just boggles my mind how SO MANY writers have somehow glossed over the simple basics. I encourage all new beginners to read the many fine instructional articles in groups such as this before they attempt fingers to keys. To ignore good advice from other professionals firsthand, is to continue on down a dirt road to nowhere with all bad habits intact and compounding.

Triceratops

rhymegirl
12-07-2004, 12:46 AM
This long, pompous-sounding sentence sounds like something Dr. Frasier Crane would say. If he said it in dialogue I think it would be funny. Otherwise, it's poorly written, overly wordy, etc.

aka eraser
12-07-2004, 02:17 AM
A lot of neophyte writers fall into Multi-syllablic Syndrome, thinking it'll impress the heck out of readers. "Simple is good" can be a tough lesson to get across.

"A blind man could see the guy was dead; he had more holes than a page from the Braille Bible."

AprilBoo
12-07-2004, 08:32 AM
Tri-

I wasn't trying to hamstring any new writers - I thought maybe this came from something published.

I just recently finished my first workshop, and I don't mind saying I was terrified about putting my work up on the chopping block. I didn't know where I fell on the continuum with the other writers in the group and was afraid I would embarrass myself. I'm glad to hear you're taking such an even-handed approach with your criticisms. I had a similarly even-handed teacher in my workshop - she stressed paying as much attention to the structure of your story as the writing, and that helped me relieve some of my own overblown writing and concentrate on being more elegant.

Vipersniper
03-14-2005, 11:35 PM
The novice nurse after taking the pulse of the deceased found that he was graveyard dead, while the charge nurse noted the eighteen hour holes in his head revealed the dirty floor beneath his bed.

Believe me this is no lie and it happened at a nursing home where I worked. When asked if she had made the bed check the student nurse had logged down that the resident appeared to be sleeping. And the roomate was agitated about something. Taken from my experience and a thirty page document sent to the Department of health. Written by me upon inquiry into the resident's death.

whitehound
03-17-2005, 03:24 AM
I feel that the re-write should aim to capture what the original writer was trying to say, including the mood, as closely as possible. Given that, I'd re-write this as something like:

"Judging from the several holes I could see punched through it, I had a horrible, creeping certainty that the body lying by the grating was dead."

Bunkly
03-19-2005, 05:19 PM
He was dead; had been shot through many times.

Obviously it's taken out of context, but that's the basic sentence. I'm not sure if somebody who had been shot several times would be "full of holes" - I think they'd just be a messy pulp really.


Billy

brokenfingers
03-19-2005, 09:47 PM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

There are many things wrong with this sentence. Rewrite this sentence using your own style and color. What would an editor like to see here? I know that I see this type of writing more than I'd like to think, almost everywhere, even is some published books. More than grammar or syntax, try for clarity.

Here would be an editor's version of that sentence:

"I could plainly see that it was a corpse, apparently a gun shot victim."

Here's my version with a touch of style.

"I couldn't believe it; it was corpse, a lonely tattered heap shot full of holes."

Just one aspect I didn't like about it: Eyes don't have provocation. People do. What else do you see besides syntax and grammar?

Triceratops


Upon discovering his body laying in the gutter and riddled with bulletholes, I knew without a doubt - he was dead as disco.

Moondancer
03-19-2005, 11:56 PM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."




Judging by the number of bullet holes, the murderer was either a bad shot or really wanted to make sure the victim was dead.

Birol
03-20-2005, 01:14 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

I wanted to turn away but was transfixed by the bullet-ridden corpse lying in the gutter.

SeanDSchaffer
03-20-2005, 03:02 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

That sentence is one of the longest, most difficult-to-understand sentences I have ever read, but I'll definitely give it a shot.


"I wished I hadn't looked; the body was so full of bullet-holes that I could barely tell it was human."

Julie Worth
03-20-2005, 03:34 AM
The form lying next to the grate was dead. It didn’t move, anyway. And it was full of bullet holes. Those were the facts. But dammit, I wasn’t a reporter for the evening newspaper. I was a novelist, a novelist! I pulled out my Thesaurus and flipped it open. Fighting the bile that rose in my throat, I put pen to paper and began, “I contained the irrevocable...”

Moondancer
03-20-2005, 09:54 AM
Quote:


"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."




The best I can say for it is it contains too many adjectives that do absolutely nothing except get in the way.

Oh, and the sentence I put up there wasn't meant to be facetious... that's how I'd translate the muckety muck we started with. I hope nobody took it as sarcasm.

Galoot
03-20-2005, 10:28 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

I almost walked past the man laying in the gutter, guessing he was just another wino sleeping it off. In this part of town you see them all the time. It was his expensive suit that made me look twice. It was plainly out of character. Then I noticed the bullet holes. If he was a wino he was a well-dressed one, and almost certainly dead.

brokenfingers
03-20-2005, 10:36 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

Triceratops


Damn, he was dead.

Paint
03-25-2005, 03:00 AM
The last post will be hard to beat.

Too wordy. Causes eyes to glaze over. Reader begins to mentally review the contents of fridge, or whatever.

"I could see it was a dead guy lying in the gutter, shot to pieces."

Ralyks
03-29-2005, 03:27 AM
Yes, that was a bad sentence, but how about this one, from a PUBLISHED work of CLASSIC literature by a FAMOUS author?
"By this however, the Number of People in the whole may be judg'd of; and indeed, I often wondered, that after the prodigious Numbers of People that went away at first, there was yet so great a Multitude left, as it appear'd there was."


Heck, Defoe or Poe or Lovecraft might have come up with something like the monstrosity below. (But it would at least have been more accurate.)

"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

MadScientistMatt
03-31-2005, 10:04 PM
I choked back my vomit as I stared, horrified, at the body. He must have had made someone very mad to have been worked over like this with a machine gun.

JAlpha
04-01-2005, 01:23 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

Triceratops

Wouldn't ya know, I would have to turn it into a haiku!

unmovable form
near the guttural grate
the punctured corpse

JAlpha

Optimus
04-13-2005, 05:23 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

"Hole-y dead guy, Batman!"

Anatole Ghio
04-13-2005, 10:37 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."


I saw a dead man lying in the gutter. It gave me a bad feeling, a really bad feeling. Not just because he was dead, but because he was dead, lying in the gutter, and filled with bullet holes.

alanna
04-17-2005, 06:41 AM
here's my reword:

My mind began repeating a mantra. He's not dead. He can't be. The seeping holes in his flesh gaped at me, and I knew I lied.

DamaNegra
09-04-2006, 12:33 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

Rewritting....

Done!

"I refused to believe what my eyes were seeing. A corpse, lying near the grate. The huge amount of bullet holes piercing it barely left any trace of human appearance in it."

Angelinity
09-04-2006, 09:55 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."

Triceratops

lol, i honestly thought you made it up to test us! no offense to the writer intended - coming up with that version must have taken some doing.

i'll give it a shot, attempting to keep some of the elements in the frag.....

'the scene looked like a page from the Bugsy files - thick blood coated the heap on the ground, the pavement, oozed into the run-off drain by the curb. that suit was full of holes - the guy had to be dead.'

persiphone_hellecat
09-04-2006, 10:40 AM
I offer the following - in my own irreverent style - PLEASE don't read this to your kids... Persi

A noise from outside woke me from my repose. So I pulled back the covers, and quickly I rose. Away to the window, I flew like a flash. Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a dead Santa Claus and eight slaughtered reindeer. The blood on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a touch of Steven King gore to the objects below. I asked myself "What's happened" as I scratched my cold head. "Who has offed Santa? Can he really be dead?" Since the sleigh was all empty, I quickly surmised that someone had robbed him before he demised. I stared down below at the scene so bewilderin' wondering exactly what I'd tell the poor children. What of the sugarplums? The gifts they expect? Then I suddenly realized, I was probably suspect. I slammed shut the shutters, and ran 'cross the floor. Any minute, the cops would be busting my door. I jumped into bed with a move very spry -- hoping the wife would provide alibi. That's how it went down, folks, I swear that it's true. But who did off Santa? I haven't a clue.

Angelinity
09-04-2006, 10:45 AM
A noise from outside woke me from my repose. So I pulled back the covers, and quickly I rose. Away to the window, I flew like a flash. Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a dead Santa Claus and eight slaughtered reindeer. The blood on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a touch of Steven King gore to the objects below. I asked myself "What's happened" as I scratched my cold head. "Who has offed Santa? Can he really be dead?" Since the sleigh was all empty, I quickly surmised that someone had robbed him before he demised. I stared down below at the scene so bewilderin' wondering exactly what I'd tell the poor children. What of the sugarplums? The gifts they expect? Then I suddenly realized, I was probably suspect. I slammed shut the shutters, and and ran 'cross the floor. Any minute, the cops would be busting my door. I jumped into bed with a move very spry -- hoping the wife would provide alibi. That's how it went down, folks, I swear that it's true. But who did off Santa? I haven't a clue.


:roll:

that was great! thanks for cheering up my morning!! :ROFL:

persiphone_hellecat
09-04-2006, 10:46 AM
Just being me ... I think it fit the bill.

Angelinity
09-04-2006, 10:49 AM
Just being me ... I think it fit the bill.

great sense of humour!

FreeStyle
09-04-2006, 07:03 PM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."


I saw her. She was dead in the street.






Where's this sentence from, btw? It's not in an actual published book, is it?

persiphone_hellecat
09-05-2006, 12:14 AM
I think it came from something unpublished - from another writing group - read the first couple posts.

persiphone_hellecat
09-06-2006, 10:46 AM
I decided to try a different way of changing this sentence. I'm an old detective noir fan. Love the genre. I love the snap and the biting sarcasm of a good detective noir story. So, here's how I think that sentence might have been written in a good old detective noir book...


It wasn't exactly the kind of thing you would want to trip over when you stumble from the sanctity of your favorite pub into the dawn's early light shortly after last call. Yet there it was--in all its former glory. Had I been a betting man, I might have picked heads, and I would have won. The eyes were open and pointing heavenward, although I strongly suspected this guy was headed in the opposite direction. A quick glance at the tight cluster of bullet holes in the chest told me this was a professional job. The guy's open jacket revealed he was packing enough firepower to respond, but never got the chance. Ambushed, right here on the mean streets of Chinatown. Damn. I could feel the Irish coffee in my stomach perculating for a second time and I fought back the urge to add the pickled contents of my stomach to the thick flow of blood heading for the grate in the street and eventually for the New York City sewer system. In a few minutes, the scene would be a flurry of NYPD blue, yellow crime scene tape and flashbulbs, but for now it was just the two of us -- mano a mano -- one who still had a whole lot of living to do and one who obviously didn't. However, the moment of male bonding passed quickly. Pros don't like witnesses. Cops do, but I don't like cops. So I put two and two together and realized if I wanted to avoid either a night in the morgue or a night in the station, it was time to put some distance between me and my newfound friend. So I bid him a fond good-night and disappeared into the shadows of lower Manhattan. Hey, honestly... I don't look for trouble -- it seems to look for me.

FreeStyle
05-27-2007, 09:30 AM
New Sentence!!


"Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood is passion, the flood is even madness: it depends on the force of the current, the height and strength of the barrier."

from Brave New World

Stijn Hommes
05-29-2007, 04:08 PM
A lot of neophyte writers fall into Multi-syllablic Syndrome, thinking it'll impress the heck out of readers. "Simple is good" can be a tough lesson to get across.

"A blind man could see the guy was dead; he had more holes than a page from the Braille Bible." Wow that is an amazing line.

dochas
06-02-2007, 01:02 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."



It never ceased to amaze me the vile things people have the stomach to do to one another. My latest vic, didn't have much of a stomach left, not to mention half his face was gone. Whatever little blood remained in his body had formed a small river running toward the sewer, carrying with it a few leaves, various cigarette butts and other unidentifiable bits of debris. Judging by the darkening color and slowing flow, I guessed he'd been dead at least thirty minutes, maybe more.

Blurb
06-05-2007, 08:52 AM
"I contained the irrevocable, yet persistent dire feeling that my eyes had, without provocation, perused a most contemptuous act of horrific slaughter, being that it wasn't beyond my estimation to admit that the unmovable form lying in the proximity of the guttural grate was terminally deceased, judging by the numerous cylindrical puncture holes infiltrating the corpse."


I needed another nightmare. Guess I was lucky. This one would be hanging around. She would have been a real knock out, if she had been older. At fifteen she had long legs joined to an athletic torso. That torso sported the beginings of a healthy... lung capacity. Long, firey red hair hid the blood. And the fact her face had been blown down the storm drain. Unless you looked too closely. I had looked too closely.