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1

You have a first person narrator, you're trying to convey a sense of character, and this is commonly used in this way by (some) people in informal speech, so it's perfectly okay and appropriate to use in this situation. Most of the rules for formal and academic writing can be blithely disregarded when you're writing dialog or a first-person narrative, ...


1

It changes the meaning for me. The use of "this" implies to me that you are still at the restaurant in question, whereas the use of "a" would imply that you were no longer there. "a" also implies that you don't care which restaurant it was, only that it was fancy.


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No. It obfuscates the meaning of your sentence and impedes thought flow; especially in the case given, which I would rewrite completely for clarity. [ironic] Edit for Clarity: I say that it confuses and makes understanding your sentence more difficult because I couldn't even tell how I was supposed to read the sentence at first. I actually thought it was a ...


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As stated the use of this in place of a is a Southern colloquialism. It would be okay to use if the story is first person and the protagonist/narrator is native to the appropriate region. It should be noted: it immediately gives the sense of the narrator being a impoverished uneducated Southerner. It pushes more emphasis on her opinion of how fancy the ...


2

I think in this case this serves to emphasize the object in the sentence and connotes a specific kind of consideration or attitude (the narrators?) towards the object . On a natural level I find it quite reasonable - but I don't have a precedent or formal reference to support that.


1

Had to look up the meaning of coherence to answer this question and this answer is based on the result I got: The quality or state of cohering, especially a logical, orderly, and aesthetically consistent relationship of parts. So, with that in mind: First off I must say that this sounds like an amazing story, I'd love to read it when it is done. ...


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Meebo gleeb owt anso gilf?+ Don't you agree? +I'll explain in a moment. Question Heard Around the Writing World Can a book teach you to write? Well, of course not. For no matter how great the book, the pupil herself may be completely obstinate and impenetrable to the lessons. What Would A Book About Writing Teach? "Furthermore," the cynic says. ...


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Sure, you could say this sort of thing about any how-to book. Just yesterday I saw an ad for a video titled, "How to get your message across in 30 seconds!". In small print it says, "Running time: 45 minutes". Apparently the people who made the video didn't see the irony. It's a common joke that people who write "how to get rich books" get rich by selling ...


1

This comment: Moreover, successful fiction authors don't write books about writing fiction. ...is false. Le Guin, Bradbury, Card, Block, King all wrote books about writing fiction, and they are all successful to one degree or another. And this comment: I can't think of anything, other than altruism, that would motivate them to publish their ...


3

Mark Twain did not learn how to write by reading a book about how to write. Neither did Hermann Melville, William Faulkner, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Goethe, Proust, etc. Buying and (maybe) reading how-to-write books is a symptom of procrastination. Wannabe writers have shelves of them. And every time they feel afraid of starting to write and making ...


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All right, this is an interesting one. If you want to be proper in your use of punctuation, perhaps you ought to check out what the Chicago Manual of Style (or another style guide, for that matter) has to say about commas. Grammatically speaking, there should always be a reason to use a comma. In other words, it isn't correct to simply play it by ear. ...


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I don't think you are over-explaining. If you want to get into the mind of a first-person protagonist, you have to sometimes write exactly how they feel. Here he feels like he's being sarcastic because he himself realises the absurdity of what he just thought. That being said, there's a few tiny tweaks you could make (or I would make): I let out a sigh. ...


3

I think all your original examples sound fine. Go with your inner ear and let your beta/editor add or remove commas for the sake of grammar. As Bobn points out, the commas indicate pauses, and all those pauses sound natural and appropriate.


5

Commas are used to increase clarity. In each of your examples, a speaker would pause while reading the lines, indicating a comma is called for. A sentence with too many commas probably means the sentence is overly complicated. Your writing sample is first person and modern, so I would follow contemporary writing and speaking as a guide. A good reference for ...


1

I'd use ellipses for pauses, dashes are usually used for interruption. "I found this - " "That doesn't matter, look what I found!" As opposed to: "She... She's dead."


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Adding to the answers by Lauren Ipsum and CLockeWork. I'll just look at the second example: Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It was — a whale! Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It was ... a whale! It seems to me that the dash as a sign of a sudden change works well in the ...


4

I might use an M-dash for the whale example, because it's startling. For the gold watch, that's more of a thoughtful pause, so it would take an ellipsis. Also related on this site: Using dashes in writing dialogue and How not to overuse ellipsis?


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em dashes are usually used to denote an interruption or sudden change — whether in dialogue, thought or narrative — ellipses are for pauses, again in all respects. 'I just don't see why— 'I don't care what you think,' Johan barked, turning from me before I could protest. 'She was just...' His face turned pale as his memory returned to that ...



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