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Shining N0va

Anything about writing you wanna know how to do, discuss it among your peers in this thread. Please clarify what you wanna know how to do so you can get the help you need. Thanks. :)

--Nova.

5/10/2008 #1
Shining N0va

I have a hard time remembering where commas and such like that goes. I put in not enough or too many :( Well any help?

5/10/2008 #2
Shining N0va

Oooh, this is my kinda question!

Commas

--Commas are used to separate lists of things. Use commas when you name three or more items in the same sentence.

//Bob saw a monkey, zebra, and a lion on his trip to the jungle.//

Just remember that the last item in the list should be preceeded by 'and.'

--Commas are used to separate independent clauses when joined by the conjunctions 'but,' 'so,' and 'nor.' Examples are...

//I've lost the battle, but I won the war.//

//Karen was upset, so her friend tried to cheer her up.//

//She didn't do her homework, nor was she planning to do it.//

--Commas are also used when introductory clauses-- 'although,' 'because,' 'while,' 'since'-- are present. More examples...

//Since Taki broke her leg, she could not compete in the marathon.//

//Because John had the highest grade in the class, he was given a full college scholarship.//

//While Marie was out of her room, George read her diary.//

//Although Kimi did not study for her test, she still received a B.//

--Ridin' off of the previous point, commas should also follow introductory words like 'yes,' 'well' and 'however.'

//Yes, I washed the dishes.//

//However, I didn't take out the trash.//

//Well, I didn't mean to forget to take out the trash.//

--Nonessential clauses (clauses that aren't important to the main idea of the sentence) also need commas, like...

//Tuesday, which is my anniversary, is not a good day for me.//

//You're a good worker. For the last few weeks, however, you've been slacking off.//

--Commas are used to separate coordinate clauses as well..

//Tom is a petty, cheap man.//

--Commas can also be used to offset phrases that refer back to the subject of the sentence.

//Tammy waved goodbye to her friend, laughing joyously.//

You cannot do this unless the subject is made clear. In other words, what/who is the clause affecting?

--You do not use commas when dependent clauses follow. Examples..

//I was late for class, because my alarm never rang.//

You only use commas in extreme cases of contrast, like...

//She was upset about her grades, although she was in the top five percent of her class.//

--You do not use commas to separate the subject from the verb...

//An eighteen year old in California, is now considered an adult.//

--You do not use commas in compound sentences...

//Your english professor, and my football coach are best friends.//

//I was told that I arrived for the job too late, and that I would have to apply again next year.//

Any other questions? I think that covers it.

5/10/2008 #3
Shining N0va

Nice! I loved the examples makes it easier to see and place where things will go. I certainly will keep coming back to this thread! :D!

5/10/2008 #4
Shining N0va

Gah. There's a troublesome phrase giving me some...well...trouble comma-wise.

Toph, of course, wasn’t going to immediately appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”

Where do these commas go? It'd be easy enough if Toph's quote was her directly saying it, like "Toph said, 'You're dead.'" But if I'm saying that it's "her whispered 'You're dead'" what do I do? Blech, it's not that brilliant of a phrase in the first place, but now the comma thing will bug me even if I change it.

5/10/2008 #5
Shining N0va

Aislynn Crowdaughter

I asked for this thread to discuss problems of tell not show, versus show not tell, especially while in close third person pov or direct first person pov. Warning, tl:dr and shameless self-plug ahead:

This is an example of one of my own stories, where I am unsure if I tell too much (warning, implied slash ahead):

Methos cursed silently. He was not sure how he had managed to maneuver them both into this point so quickly. He was not even sure what devil had gotten into him. He did not really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And of course he didn't expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds openly in the public; that would not fit into MacLeods style. Not that he himself was strictly opposed to it, but he didn't need to much public interest in his personal affairs, too.

But he could not help to feel unsure, still, when he and Mac were trapped at a society entertainment like this and his lover found himself the natural target of a real crowd of predatory ladies. Not that Methos was normally an easy prey to the green-eyed monster; but his relationship with his lover was still new, a somewhat recent development, and he could not help the nagging fear that MacLeod would suddenly come to his senses and return to straightness again. He feared this day, feared it deeply. And so events like this one here tended to leave him nervous, even when there was no reason for it at all.

And now, acting on this fear, he had successfully managed to drive MacLeod away, at least for this evening. Maybe even more. 'Just great, old man!' He chastised himself.

The problematic part is that I feel I give too much explanation, in this. I've shown the jealousy scene already, in the part before this one, but now, I tell the motivations, instead of letting the readers find out for themselves. On the other hand, I need this information in the story. So... will probably be subject to a rewrite, later, but at the moment, I don't see how and when.

This is a more recent example, First person POV (warning, heavily AU):

It is dawn when we reach the borders of the hidden valley. Even had I not known the way, I would have found it easily. The voice of Elrond's ring has been a steady presence in my mind, and it has drawn me like a beacon. Its master has been fighting me in my thoughts for weeks. I feel his hate and fear inside my mind like a vile song. It is nearly as insistent as the power of the One Ring in my mind, and almost as sweet.

I know they are waiting for us. They have known that we were coming for a long time now. Still, while they are prepared, so are we. We crossed the mountains in a fortnight, and we made sure we are well rested. Our troops are ready to attack.

And I have made my plan with care. I know what strengths they have, how many warriors they could muster. I know which strongholds they can occupy, and how they plan to meet our attack.

In this perspective, I *can* only tell, not show, what is happening; on the other hand, I do not want the emotions to fall flat or get simply told instead of shown. I hope I managed.

So, how to avoid too much explanation, especially when you need to give some background information and you are in close third person POV or first person POV?

5/10/2008 #6
Shining N0va

//Toph, of course, wasn’t going to immediately appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”//

First off, that's a big run-on. And you've got some fat in that sentence that should be eliminated. I'll experiment.

//Toph, of course, wasn’t going to immediately appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”//

'Of course' is a nonessential clause, and it's just weighing the sentence down. Cut out the fat. Eliminating it..

//Toph wasn’t going to immediately appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”//

'Toph wasn't going to immediately' is passive voice. Whatever happened before this sentence occured rubbed Toph the wrong way, right? She's not feeling very appreciative in this sentence. Changing it...

// Toph didn't immediately appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”//

'Immediately' implies that she'll be appreciative later on. But in that sentence, you want to let the readers know she's pissed. Forget what happens afterward. Eliminating 'immediately...'

//Toph didn't appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.”//

Comma should be after 'whispered.' Adding the comma...

//Toph didn't appreciate the gesture, which she made very clear in her whispered, “You’re dead, Sugarqueen” as Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride “the big one.//

Now... this sentence still got some syntax issues. In order for the sentence to be grammatically correct and still flow, I would have to rearrange the second half of the sentence with the middle part. Switching them...

//Toph didn't appreciate the gesture. As Sokka pulled her past on their way to ride "the big one," Toph whispered, "You're dead, Sugarqueen."//

Only thing that needs fixin' now is that 'pulled past' part. Who/What is Toph bein' pulled past?

//Toph didn't appreciate the gesture. As Sokka pulled her past [insert him/her, or the name of what Toph's passing] on their way to ride "the big one," Toph whispered, "You're dead, Sugarqueen."//

See what I did? I had to eliminate the 'very clear' part, because the quote makes it pretty damn clear how pissed Toph is. So I hope that's what you wanted to hear...

5/10/2008 #7
Shining N0va

Well, I can't say it's what I wanted to hear, but I wasn't going to get an "Oh no, Twilight, it was dripping in perfection!" xD

I knew I was going to end up changing that line, but I definitely wanted to see how the punctuation would work out if I didn't. Call it OCD.

Thankies; you have now given me a better way to rewrite it than what I had in mind..

5/10/2008 #8
Shining N0va

Alrighty, Aislynn. I'ma take a crack at the third POV first..

//Methos cursed silently. He was not sure how he had managed to maneuver them both into this point so quickly. He was not even sure what devil had gotten into him. He did not really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And of course he didn't expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds openly in the public; that would not fit into MacLeods style. Not that he himself was strictly opposed to it, but he didn't need to much public interest in his personal affairs, too.//

The problem in this sentence is not over-explaining yourself; it's usin' too many words to explain. Some of this can be cut out. I'll start sentence by sentence...

//Methos cursed silently. He was not sure how he had managed to maneuver them both into this point so quickly.//

'Had managed to' is passive voice. Passive voice is bad. And it's fat that's not need it. Cut it out...

//Methos cursed silently. He was not sure how he maneuvered them both to this point so quickly//

Next sentence...

//He was not even sure what devil had gotten into him. He did not really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old.//

Okay, I think you need to switch the 'maneuver' sentence with the 'devil sentence. Like so...

//Methos cursed silently. He wasn't sure what devil had gotten into him. He wasn't even sure how he maneuvered them both to this point so quickly//

Conjunctions are your friends; it makes what you say seem less robotic and technical. Moving on...

//He did not really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And of course he didn't expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds openly in the public; that would not fit into MacLeods style.//

I'm gonna add the conjunctions in this sentence too. And the 'of course' thing is fat, along with the 'lovebirds openly in the public.' Cut out the openly part. Since public means that you're doing something in front of a lotta people, the openly part defeats the purpose of writing the public. Editing...

//He didn't really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And he didn't expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds in public; it didn't fit MacLeod's style.//

// Not that he himself was strictly opposed to it, but he didn't need to much public interest in his personal affairs, too.//

'He himself' is more fat; just say Methos. And your 'to' should be 'too.' And you use it twice. So, editing that...

//Methos wasn't opposed to it; he didn't need interest in his personal affairs, too.//

So, to put all that together...

//Methos cursed silently. He wasn't sure what devil had gotten into him. He wasn't even sure how he maneuvered them both to this point so quickly. He didn't really believe MacLeod would really cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And he didn't expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds in public; it didn't fit MacLeod's style. Methos wasn't opposed to it; he didn't need interest in his personal affairs, too.//

You did good with this, Aislynn. The thing about showing and tell is that you've gotta pick the best times to show and the best times to tell. This is not a good time to show. You'll definitely slip into purple prose. It's not much you can describe, since Methos is reflecting on what just happened (I remember this bit.) If he was describing curtains or something, then you could get a little flowery.

5/10/2008 #9
Shining N0va

You're welcome, Twilight... I think. XD

NOTE TO ALL: I DON'T MIND ANYONE ELSE HELPING OUT WITH TIPS IN THIS THREAD; WE ALL CAN HELP EACH OTHER WRITTE BETTER.

5/10/2008 #10
Shining N0va

You did good with this, Aislynn. The thing about showing and tell is that you've gotta pick the best times to show and the best times to tell. This is not a good time to show. You'll definitely slip into purple prose. It's not much you can describe, since Methos is reflecting on what just happened (I remember this bit.) If he was describing curtains or something, then you could get a little flowery.

*Snort* Thanks for the edit; I shall keep the passive voice in this instance, though, because the scene is playing after the whole mess that happened between them, before. Also, "Methos wasn't opposed to it" now says the opposite of what I was trying to convey; which was that Methos would not be strictly opposed to playing lovebird in public, himself, *but* he did not need too much public interest in his private affairs, either. (But on the other hand, he is obviously insecure about MacLeod's dedication, here).

Let's see:

Methos cursed silently. He wasn't sure what devil had gotten into him. He wasn't even sure how he had maneuvered them both to this point so quickly. He did not really believe MacLeod would cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And of course he did not expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds in public; it didn't fit MacLeod's style. Methos would not have been opposed to it, himself, but he didn't need public interest in his personal affairs, either.

Too purple?

5/10/2008 #11
Shining N0va

Oh. Okay. As long as you know the circumstances behind usin' passive.

Methos cursed silently. He wasn't sure what devil had gotten into him. He wasn't even sure how he had maneuvered them both to this point so quickly. He did not really believe MacLeod would cheat on him or throw him out for some giggling seventeen years-old. And of course he did not expect MacLeod and him to play lovebirds in public; it didn't fit MacLeod's style. Methos would not have been opposed to it, himself, but he didn't need public interest in his personal affairs, either.

Too purple?

Not purple, definitely. I still object to the 'of course', but the sentence is fine. Oh, eliminate the commas between 'it' and 'himself'; it's comma abuse. And 'either' is a lil' extra. I would cut it out personally.

//You want me to do the other paragraphs, yeah?

5/10/2008 #12
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