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6

My thought is, if you can remove the text (which you've bolded) and it still makes sense — that is, if there is no other reasonable interpretation — you can take it out. Can Cath reasonably cover her nose with her knee? with a bandana? If not, you're fine.


4

Let the editor decide. Send your story. Editors can't buy a story you don't send. They know more than you do about what they want. And you are almost certainly not a great judge of your own stories. They may like a story that you think is not your best. Many writers and editors are horrified by this advice. They are concerned, I think, that writers will ...


4

The difference between a successful writer and a wannabe writer is that the latter says that "unfortunately I don't know anyone in the field," whereas the successful writer grabs a copy of the yellow pages, finds a doctor, and makes an appointment. A further difference is that the wannabe writer uses Google to find information, and that the successful ...


4

Seek medical advice. Find a medical or health care professional who will answer your questions. If you can't figure it out from a book, find a doctor, nurse, EMT, etc. who is willing to sit down with you for half an hour.


4

These two examples make the scene more specific in a particular way: By adding modifiers. In these cases: By adding adverbial phrases. Your temptation to add the modifiers is telling you something. Some word elsewhere in your sentences may be too abstract. Your concern about adding words is telling you something. Some words elsewhere in your sentences may ...


3

By and large, overusing a specific word or phrase is not great style. However, what I see here is the same word used three times with three different meanings. The first usage references a mental idea or thought process. This could probably stand to be more specific (what made the narrator stop?) but otherwise is a perfectly cromulent usage. The second is in ...


3

It's "whereas." It's a formal and slightly clunky word. Plus you're using the exact same sentence structure twice in a row, but only twice. Once is fine, and three times is an effect, but two looks like a mistake. Kate’s problem had been physical, but mine had been psychological. She had been motivated by an excess of sensations. My problem was a lack ...


3

I don't know how to give a quick summary of its effects. So I'll offer some terminology to aid your research. That technique is called polysyndeton. Wikipedia has a little bit about the effects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysyndeton You can also go in the other direction and remove all of the conjunctions. That is called asyndeton: ...


3

I don't see any tense changes in your examples. It all appears to be in past tense. The reason the reader has the perception of the passages happening in present tense is due to the narrator presenting their rendition of the events in the way a storyteller would. To clarify, your examples give the impression of somebody telling a story around a campfire, ...


3

Why does the message have to be in English? Messages that are meant to be understood across languages are usually encoded visually. Think of the pictograms used to direct people on airports, or the comic-book-like saftey instructions in the nets at the backs of airplane seats. Or think of making drinking gestures. If I wanted to communicate a message to ...


3

The original Tarzan book deals with this situation. His parents had several years' worth of picture and children's books, which they intended to use to educate him while they did whatever they were doing in Africa (which I forget) before they were marooned by pirates. [edit: Then they both died while Tarzan was still a baby.] So, yeah, they had a ...


3

There seem to be two basic issues in this question. The first is similar to the issue of when a pronoun's antecedent is clear; is the extra information necessary for an understanding of the basic meaning of the text. This is addressed by Lauren Ipsum's answer: "if there is no other reasonable interpretation" when the extra information is excluded, then "you ...


2

What is in your head and what is on the page may be very different things. The characters, places and developments of your story may seem a tightly woven tapestry in your head. But the fresh eyes of another will clearly see loose threads, tears and great big holes in the fabric. Always be open to the critiques of others. That being said... By all means, ...


2

I have seen books where the author prefaces the book by saying it's a translation of some other-worldly book, and then goes on to use real-world languages as a stand-in for the in-world languages. Tolkien did this to a minor degree when he used some more archaic English words for the Rohirrim, whose language was meant to be like an older form of the ...


2

Just as a side note, I would alter the second/third sentence to this. I was beginning to like her more. I also realized we had some things in common, like our attempts of suicide. "Like" should be part of the previous sentence. With that in mind, the two examples in Lauren Ipsum's answer are great. Here's another: I smiled and gave her a nod. I ...


2

Since it is a children's book, you can't use "umber" or "sienna" or complicated color words. (Heck, I still don't know what "khaki" is!) And you said you don't want to use food. That means you need to think of things that 1) are always (roughly) the same color, and 2) are well-known to children. Shades of brown are going to be tough. Random ideas that ...


2

Adding to Dale Emery's answer, besides the effects listed in Wikipedia, one basic effect is that of emphasizing the staggering number of things: "there were apples, oranges, and bananas" is just a neutral list, whereas "there were apples and oranges and bananas" emphasizes the fact that there are impressively many different fruits to choose from. There ...


1

Yes, such generic placeholders are definitely washing out the image. The reader reads descriptions to gain knowledge of given situation, and these are empty, useless duds. If the information is limited, give the scraps that are still available. A surprising sight made me stop again. Two hands shoved me, or a mass against my back shoved me. Only use ...


1

I don't know about the repetition, but I feel the somethings are bad style for different reasons. Avoiding "something" makes your text feel less wishy-washy and more intense and to the point: Not a minute passed, however, when the rottweiler stopped me again. At that same moment I was pushed to the floor. “... it seems like the dog wanted to ...


1

I see from also searching online as you did that most people seem to think of character sketches as just filling out forms or writing a straight description. But I remember writing "character sketches" in college and we basically wrote "mini stories" as you've said. I think I wrote a sketch describing a man's character using his hat as an analogy for his ...


1

There is a lot of, often erotic, fiction that spends quite some time describing the sensual qualities of the surface appearance of people (color, shape, texture, smell, sound). Usually that literature chooses color terms that both describe the color well (we all have a clear image of what chestnut hair looks like) and evoke a pleasant sensual image ...


1

There's nothing technically wrong with doing this, but you're right to think it sounds fishy. I'd suggest confining exclamations like these to dialog. Ultimately, though, you'll have to rely on your ear and the ears of your beta readers.


1

Close. Part of the process of evolution is that it doesn't happen once, but repeatedly over a long period of time, and that "falling through a particular hole" allows something beneficial to happen later on (reproduction and thereby continuance of the species). If the pebble doesn't fall through the hole, you have to explain what bad thing would happen. And ...


1

I would agree with Mr. Shiny that the simplest way might be to say that they are speaking in their 'strange language,' and then just tell the reader what they said in English. For example: "I should think not," said the witch, still speaking in her strange tongue. If you do NOT want the reader to understand the witch, a made-up language would be ...


1

It's probably useful to think of a developmental editor as a project manager. While it's often associated with non-fiction, but it's not unheard of for novelists to hire a developmental editor. (I see job posts like this every so often.) Whether you should hire a developmental editor for fiction is a hard question to answer without knowing more about the ...


1

Sounds pretty good, in that I can kind of picture the scenes. (Of course, I actually know a couple with these names.) If you're worried, though, play around a little with the scenes. Record yourself saying the dialogue out loud. Then playback, listening with fresh ears. (Kind of like when you revise.) Listen for anything that sounds too stilted & edit. ...



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