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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gutting a Sentence


“The vole was huddled in frozen terror under the crumbling bark of a fallen tree.”

How would you re-write this sentence composed three years ago in another life?

My snarky answer: Since ‘huddle’ implies fright, why add ‘frozen terror’? Sounds like an echo to me. The same is true of ‘crumbling bark’ and ‘fallen tree’. The tree is down so the bark isn’t in good shape. Why repeat it? And what's with the double verb? Dump 'to be' verbs whenever possible.

Editing version of the above sentence:

The vole huddled under the fallen tree. Silent.

Later, on the same page or paragraph, I’d repeat the ‘beat’ of this sentence followed by a single, fragmented word to increase the tension.


By the way, every one makes mistakes. Even uber agents.

This agent's blog: "...they will only 'except an' ms or query from an agent..."
*snicker* Okay, I shouldn't laugh. But....
BWHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

3 comments:

Tara Tyler said...

huddled! great word!

and love catching pros in error, shows no one is infallible!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Sometimes the old purple prose leaks out. One has to always keep it in check.

Donna Hole said...

I was almost there . .

..........dhole