Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Editing Frenzy: Prompt thirteen: Doing two things at the same time.

Today I'm going to be talking about those extremely multitasking characters who have to do so many things at the same time. It's overwhelming.

I was reading last night and in the book, the characters couldn't talk without having some sort of body motion making them pretty restless and me too at the same time. They couldn't run without looking at something or someone so that their actions were blended into the description making it really hard to 1) follow the action and 2) carrying about the surrounding. 

Give your characters a break! Of course details are important but stop adding something useless just to add some words because it's just filling up empty space with empty meaning. I mean in that book, they even brought two new characters for diner and the evening passed without even a conversation, leave alone something meaningful, it was totally awkward. Had I been in the room with them, I would have felt awkward too.

So let's get practical, shall we?

There are three things to check:

1) -ing which are not part of passive form this time.

Initial: She jumped down from her chair laughing and brushing her hair out of her face, looking at him. She wanted to kiss him so badly but he couldn't have meant it that way because he crossed his arms back on his chest.
(I tried my best to add some but it was hard.)

Replace by: He made her laugh so hard that she jumped from her chair, her hair flying all over the place. He looked at her approach, she was too close now, he took a step back and crossed his arms back on his chest. He wasn't sure what she wanted but he didn't mean it that way.

2) As

Initial: As she looked down the street, she saw the car pulled by the horses but they weren't his horses. As the door opened, a man too tall to be him stepped out. She put her face closer to the window to see him more clearly but pulled back as the fog formed on the cold glass.

Replace by: The car pulled by horses she couldn't recognised entered the street. A man too tall to be her friend stepped out, she put her face closer to the window to look at him more closely but the fog formed by her own breath blocked her view.  

What happened to the door? Well, if the guy can't walk through walls it had to be open, useless to say it.

3) While

Initial: While I was sitting on the floor in from of my unfinished homework, I couldn't find a way to concentrate. Peter was at the desk, I could only see his back and his arm slightly moving on the side while he wrote frenetically. It wasn't the first time I was doing homework with Peter but I had never noticed how handsome he looked from the back while concentrating.

Replace by: I was once again doing my homework with Peter, but new feelings filled my mind. I couldn't take my eyes away from his back, I was sure unable to concentrate on my homeworks. This angle showed him more handsome then usual. Why did I need to sit on the floor in the first place? He would sure have finished before me and I would have to stay here alone instead of walking home with him.

There is nothing wrong with characters multitasking but try not to be too repetitive with the grammatical element you use when having them do several things, it soon gets boring. 

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