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The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it's the difference between a lightning bug and the lightning. — Mark Twain

Editor for Hire! laurenipsum47@gmail.com


Jan
12
comment A cross-[What] kind of romance?
@Mussri That's interesting. How are you defining "sapient"?
Jan
12
reviewed Approve suggested edit on Troubles with unfamiliar locations and settings based in the real world
Jan
10
answered How to keep the reader engaged in a novel where “not much happens”?
Jan
9
comment What genre appeals to the widest audience?
I believe that's called "quality," colloquially known as "it doesn't suck."
Jan
8
comment How about a story as a series of anecdotes?
You make a very good point about LOTR. I always skip Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire when I read the trilogy.:)
Jan
8
comment Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
I am not suggesting that everything be "a big confusing wall of text." I just think that "several medium-length paragraphs" reads better than "rat-a-tat-tat single lines all down the page." Additionally, not every TV show has camera work like Numb3rs. Some have lengthy wide shots or long tracking shots of several minutes with no cutaways. I think we've reached Your Mileage May Vary territory. :)
Jan
7
comment Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
The close shots/single wide shot is an excellent comparison. Close shots, to me as a viewer, indicate that the exchange is significant. Something happened. It's worthy of attention. In this instance, paying for the mints does not have narrative significance, so it should be a continuous wide shot. And it's not just about clarity in terms of who is the focus. The written equivalent of the close shot, to my eyes, creates meaning for the reader. If there's no meaning intended, don't leave a hole where the reader could put some in.
Jan
7
comment How about a story as a series of anecdotes?
Edgar Lee Masters did this in a series of poems called the Spoon River Anthology. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_River_Anthology
Jan
7
comment Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
A change of subject is easily done by using "The cashier." I don't know where you live, but where I am, the act of paying for something with cash happens pretty dang quick. It's not a change of action; it's a fairly continuous series of actions. And Jill/Jim is still the instigator and the protagonist. We are still focused on Jill/Jim. You could as easily say "Jill paid for the mints, collected her change, and left the store" and it would have the same elapsed time and impact without the cashier's presence in the sentence.
Jan
7
comment Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
So we agree "don't confuse the reader," but to my eyes, breaking up the text into this constant staccato of separate actions rather than the normal flow of give and take is more confusing, not less. As a reader I'm looking at that pause and wondering what the authorial weight and intent is. Are we supposed to wonder if Jim's money is real? If the cashier is spying on Jim and is verifying his identity? So to me, leaving in the same paragraph is a significant benefit, because it reduces the significance of what is a meaningless action into the background where it belongs.
Jan
7
comment Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
Your example is exactly the kind of structure I am editing out of the novel I'm currently working on. This is because I feel the paragraph break adds a fractional pause to the action, and in this example, there isn't one. Jim hands the cashier the money, and the cashier puts it in the till instantly. Adding the paragraph break reads, to me, like there was a moment's pause, a hesitation, before the cashier accepted it. If the referent of "him" is unclear, then focus on clearing that up ("The cashier took the money") rather than adding unnecessary pauses.
Jan
5
reviewed Reject suggested edit on Why does an author need an editor?
Jan
5
reviewed Reject suggested edit on Why does an author need an editor?
Jan
4
answered Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
Jan
4
answered Very long sentences: personal style or just bad writing?
Jan
3
comment Researching sensitive subjects
Yes, true. But that was the example given, so I addressed it. The OP already knows that you have to go to the source for research. Without other examples of sensitive subjects, I can't offer other advice.
Jan
3
answered Researching sensitive subjects
Jan
3
comment Researching sensitive subjects
What country do you live in? That may affect the advice given.
Jan
2
answered avoiding making all your characters sound the same
Jan
2
reviewed Approve suggested edit on How does one write a character smarter than oneself?