Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Editing Frenzy: Prompt Eight Clarification: Modal verbs

This is where we try to get rid of the modal verbs by reformulating sentences:
Modal verbs are: Could, would, must, can, will, shall...

Run a search for each of them and see how many you have. 
If would and will are not extremely annoying as they mark the sense of future in the narrative (replace with present/preterit or with an action), could and can rapidly become repetitive and heavy.

They are used the most with sensory verbs so let's have a look here at two of them in a different setting.

Initial: He could see that she was unhappy but she couldn't have thought of telling him it was the fault of his mother.

And I'm sure you can think of something to get rid of them but let me do it for you once anyway. 

Replace by: He saw she was unhappy but she refused to tell him it was the fault of his mother.

We have also been around cutting down to be in a previous post so let's continue this sentence editing. (It also fixes the POV issue, mega win.)

Replace by: Her unhappiness showed on her face but she refused to blame his mother in front of him. 

Now this is not a perfect sentence is it need to be transformed again for more show and less tell.

Replace by: Her smile left her face as his mother entered the room with a plate filled with potatoes and placed it in front of her. She dropped her book and seized the knife as the older woman nodded in approval. He mentally counted the pages she turned tonight. Before his mother moved in, he brought her new reading daily. She piled the potatoes without a word and let them fall gently in the bucket of cold water. 

Editing is a long process, you won't get it write the first time, you won't get it right the second time, just keep deleting words just keep adding details.


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