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  1. #11
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    What's the subject of the sentence then, Nom?



  2. #12
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    A laser knife is subject.

  3. #13
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    If a laser knife is the subject, what is it doing? Isn't it being held? And isn't something being done to an object (as opposed to the object doing something) the definition of a passive sentence?
    I could be wrong, but if so please explain. I do respect your opinion and I relish the opportunity to learn something.

    Mark

  4. #14
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    What is the laser knife doing? It sits ...

    Let me refer you to a few links. BTW, the Purdue.edu site is an excellent grammar site.

    <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_actpass.html>

    and for a basic definition of passive voice:

    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_voice>

  5. #15
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    Then wouldn't the sentence read better this way.

    A laser knife sits in his fat grubby hand?

  6. #16
    Ord Retniap
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    "Consider the way you talk, let's say you hate rollar coasters, like I do, and you get off one. You think or say, that felt like hours, now let's go to the ski ball machine."

    Yes, but writing isn't about verbatim transcription of real speech or thought patterns - it's a craft. Nor is dialogue in novels an accurate representation of how people speak; transcribe a real conversation you've had and you'll quickly realise that it would never make it into a book. Dialogue in books, for the most part (there are exceptions), has to be artificial and 'unrealistic' in order to sound realistic. It's just one of those paradoxes you find in writing.

    Therefore, I maintain that the first sentence is a stumbling block. It sounds clumsy. Doesn't matter how realistic it is.

  7. #17
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    I agree that dialogue in books if artificial and unrealistic. But this isn't a passage of dialogue we're talking about, it's a sentence of description. And sometimes, not all the time mind you, it's okay to break the rules of grammar if what your doing sounds a little like real life. Telling a good story is like seduction. You are seducing the reader. If you can get a little good talk in there (and I do mean a little) you've got your reader. So much of the art of seduction is about good talk, consider why people go out to dinner, have good conversation and wind up in bed. That is part of the craft of writing.

  8. #18
    eilidh gowan
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    I dare to disagree. Dialogue should be realistic to a certain extent. It's people talking. Every voice should have a characteristic tone. But then that's just me, always talking from a reader's pov.

    Moderation and maintaining balance is the key.

    The odd use of passive voice does not hurt and there's plenty of books out there that explain when you can use passive voice to your advantage. In your case you need the active voice because it is important WHO has the knife.


    One point of critique though: the first person POV makes the book very personal (lol) that's why a : "I burst out laughing for multiple reasons" will not work.

    Then again, just my amateur-ish 15 cents, I'm just a good reader, not a good writer.

  9. #19
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    EG wrote:
    "n your case you need the active voice because it is important WHO has the knife. "

    He wrote it in the active voice and it's very obvious WHO held the knife (the fat one !)

    The reason i jumped earlier on the alleged passive voice of this sentence (that i don't consider the most wonderful sentence in the world either) is that just about once a week someone wrongly accuses the poster of an excerpt of passive voice. It must be confusing for the writer who can't figure out what he did wrong.

  10. #20
    eilidh gowan
    Guest

    Re: Rate my dialogue and character desc (850 words)

    Yes, I agree. I did not say that he wrote passive voice.

    My point is that passive voice - used in moderation and pointedly (oooh adverb alert) - has its merits but not in the example above.

    The sentence remains confusing through the fronting of the object.

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