HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 11 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 107

Thread: Armed With...

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    508

    Armed With...

    Again, I come to find nothing to critique
    And must relegate myself to something banal.

    I only do one sort of writing exercise and it's based only on the availability of a pen in coincidence with a book. I underline a sentence I like then try to figure out why I like it and apply that why to some unsuspecting and obstinate sentence in my work for the day.

    I'll share today's:

    Walter would never never say "rich"; and indeed the word "wealthy," as he says it, is redolent of a life spiced and sumptuous, a tapestry thick to the touch and shot through with the bright thread of freedom.

    This from Walker Percy's "Moviegoer," which has been on my TBR shelf for years and I'm finally getting to because I got through my book-club book so quickly this month.

    Humm, to think about why I like this sentence? Part of it may be how it's a simple idea, convoluted with commas and a semicolon and a mixed metaphor. Since this is a first-person piece, this convolution tells me as much about the narrator/character as it does about Walter. The narrator is telling me that he's muddled about this Walter, admires him and yet wishes to scoff at him.

    So my take-away here is that the very structure of the sentence, when first person or tight to a character's POV, can tell the reader something beyond what the words only are telling. Here the POV character is constricted in telling the reader about this friend. His convoluted expression and mixed metaphors lets me know he's trapped himself between redolent/thick and bright/freedom. I kinda know that what's written about Walter is probably more about the narrator character.

    I've been searching my current scene for a place to apply this idea and will post the before and after when I find where it will fit.

    Anyone else got an idea about what makes this sentence work? How to apply that to your WIP?

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Armed With...

    I read "The Moviegoer" years ago. Meh.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    508

    Re: Armed With...

    Here's the sentence I decided to work with:

    Lauren stood behind him, holding a jug of milk in one hand, a ham in the other. I can do this.
    He took the milk and ham from her hands and slid them into the fridge.
    She stood empty handed. I got this. With so many things to do, why did he always want to help out with what she was doing?

    Toying with this idea of using convoluted sentence structure and mixed muddled clauses to show my POV character's frame of mind:

    The jug of milk in one hand, a ham in the other, Lauren waited behind him while he slid a dozen eggs beneath the meat-keeper, and she counted seconds, saying, "I got this" once or twice; he smiled, turned to unload the milk and ham from her arms, and asked something about her day. She repeated, "I got this" and thought of a hundred more efficient efforts he could make; things that wouldn't tread her system or confront her with his body not even, now, a ham's distance away. "I got this."

    Guess, I wouldn't switch out the old version entirely. But some of this would be good. Definitely good to get the two stoods out of there and the "do/doing" out. And I think a bit more convolution in the sentence structure would help. I'm working on it.

    Anyone else want to try this idea? Or maybe there's something else in that sentence you see that you want to play with?


    Rogue, what's "meh" mean? Wait, just looked it up and discovered you're indifferent, that you don't care. Because you read it years ago? Because you didn't find a first-time novelist who won the National Book Award interesting? Because that sentence didn't intrigue you? Because that's your stock response? Like thanks-but? More importantly, why would you respond to something you're indifferent to? Goodness, could it be that you're telegraphing something else entirely, much like the example, although without the convoluted structure and, gasp, without a semicolon? Can that even be done? Are you skipping over the convolution and commas and so forth to give an example of how a reader can read more into a rogue character than even the rogue knows? Well done! I'm going to pick your response as my next writing exercise. To say so much about a character in three letters -- meh.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    6,016

    Re: Armed With...

    "The jug of milk in one hand, a ham in the other . . ."

    Paging Wonky, paging Wonky. Ham in a sentence. Come in, Wonky.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    83

    Re: Armed With...

    I have to agree with Rogue on the meh reply.

    I was given a copy Moviegoer by a 'friend' as a swap after waxing lyrical about The Redemption of Althalus, (no they are not the same style and no NEVER got back my book either), I read a few pages and couldn't get into it. Also lost rack of the friend and I'm pretty sure I gave away the book with my last apartment move.

    Yeah, MEH is about right........

    My latest attempt at writing something new; a competion entry for a trip to Italy... hell who knows could be the best paid 25 words of my life! lol

    Raven

  6. #6
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Armed With...

    Meh is a summary of my review. I think I liked this so much I gave the book away.
    http://bjbooks.blogspot.com/search?q=moviegoer

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    508

    Re: Armed With...

    Guys, the point isn't whether you like a particular book, even a particular sentence. (I'm reading the book now and like a good many of the sentences; no idea if I'll like the whole thing when I'm done, but his writing is great.) The idea is to look at what's going on in a particular sentence and play with using those techniques with awareness in one sentence of our WIPs. It doesn't matter if you like it, only that it does interesting things we can learn from and add to are arsenal of skills.

    Mostly we learn to write through a pretty passive process; we read good books and a certain feel gets absorbed into our brains. This exercise asks us to think about techniques, structures, and so forth. I like the exercise because it's actually on my WIP, rather than in a writer's journal or warm-up stuff. It gets me thinking about how to stretch within my current work.

  8. #8
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Armed With...

    C K Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Guys, the point isn't whether you like a
    > particular book, even a particular sentence. (I'm
    > reading the book now and like a good many of the
    > sentences; no idea if I'll like the whole thing
    > when I'm done, but his writing is great.) The
    > idea is to look at what's going on in a particular
    > sentence and play with using those techniques with
    > awareness in one sentence of our WIPs. It doesn't
    > matter if you like it, only that it does
    > interesting things we can learn from and add to
    > are arsenal of skills.
    >
    > Mostly we learn to write through a pretty passive
    > process; we read good books and a certain feel
    > gets absorbed into our brains. This exercise asks
    > us to think about techniques, structures, and so
    > forth. I like the exercise because it's actually
    > on my WIP, rather than in a writer's journal or
    > warm-up stuff. It gets me thinking about how to
    > stretch within my current work.


    Meh. I already graduated from college. Don't need no more of that book learnin'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    6,016

    Re: Armed With...

    Actually, CK, the "idea" is that we're free to read posts any way we choose, and respond any way we choose.

    One poster's "exercise" is another poster's "meh."

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Posts
    4,623

    Re: Armed With...

    Mangy used to meh at a lot of my comments, but then he wised up. :-)

    *_*

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts