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Old 06-16-2012, 10:02 AM   #31
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They're British hooligans, old chap. The finest in the world. Of course they're going to stop fighting for a tea break. They're not bally savages.
Tea and cucumber sandwiches - with the crusts cut off - I sincerely hope!
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:07 AM   #32
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"Hanging above them were two moons; one red, one blue." This sentence has better flow than saying, "Hanging above them were two moons. One was red, one was blue." or even simply replacing the semi-colon or period with a comma as it elicits a different, and ultimately more fluid kind of "pause" than either of the other viable punctuation choices would.
I would have used an em-dash instead in that example.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:20 AM   #33
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I would have used an em-dash instead in that example.
What would you do in my list example?
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:35 PM   #34
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What would you do in my list example?
I'll give you that one.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:14 AM   #35
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Not a bad list of sins.

POV is a tricky thing. I was recently reading Michael Connelly's "The Reversal" and he gives somewhat equal time to his two huge protagonists from prior novels (Bosch and Mickey). He's one of my favorite authors but it was still awkward at times because he was switching POV between chapters, giving equal time.
I think an even bigger issue is when an author gives TOO much time to the main character and doesn't balance out the story somewhat by bringing in the other characters to support them. I had this issue with my "Mike" character in the Earthfleet saga at the beginning. I started out with a bit of the "superman" complex when writing about him. Eventually I had to come to grips with the fact that no story is every a one man show. Sure, give the majority of the action and screen time to the main character, but like when fixing a stew, you've gotta have more than just a pot full of water. You need all the veggies and spices to make it a stew, even if they're the lesser ingredients.
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So the one I've read a bit of hemming and hawing over is repeating a character's name endlessly during dialog. I've read a fair few arguments both ways, and none are particularly convincing.
This would pretty much fit with the repeating word argument. I apply the same anti-repeating rules with names in my stories as I do with any other word. I got jumped about that in my early days, using the name too much and not enough pronouns.
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I think it shows up if you read the work aloud. Very quickly the repetition of first names becomes clumsy and unrealistic.
I very much agree with people reading their works aloud. I've come to make that a habit when editing (my neighbors think I'm insane, but oh well. lol.) and it's opened my eyes to everything from unseen repetitions to spotting clumsy sentences that might flow smoothly in your mind, but when you speak them it's like you just carpet bombed yourself. I've been doing that with some of the scenes I'm working on in my latest book. I'll take them, print out the scene, and then read it to my mom. In doing so I've found lots of issues, and one real zinger of a busted, awkward sentence. So reading out loud is always a smart idea, even for the pros.
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...Characters who all sound the same.
Oh gawds, that drives me nuts too. It's probably why I spend so much time on not only creating completely unique characters, but also ensuring that I hear them in my head speaking exactly what I'm writing. If something I'm trying to do is out of character for them, they usually kick me between the eyes and get me back on character again. :P
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:10 AM   #36
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I have two responses to this:

tl;dr

And just today I was reading John Irving's essay, The King of the Novel, in which he says of Charles Dickens: "He is a master of that device for making short sentences seem long, and long sentences readable - the semi-colon!"
The Dickens you say!
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #37
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They're British hooligans, old chap. The finest in the world. Of course they're going to stop fighting for a tea break. They're not bally savages.
Oh, I see ol' chap.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:36 AM   #38
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The Dickens you say!
As a matter of interest, use of the word "Dickens" (as a polite substitute for "Devil") long predates the author Charles Dickens, and has absolutely nothing to do with him.
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:39 AM   #39
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From grammar class to history, in a single post. Gotta love hanging around here!
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:06 AM   #40
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:33 PM   #41
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I don't know which mistake this falls under but I often see an overuse of pronouns when I sample the indie titles in KDP Select.

"He turned left ..." "He walked towards the ..." "He heard ..." "He stopped ..."

"I ... " "I ... " "I ... " "I ... "
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by BookCat View Post
I hate being pedantic, but I think that semi-colon would be better replaced by a colon, as it indicates a list is on it's way.

"Hanging above them were two moons: one red, one blue."

I tend to use semi colons to indicate a pause half a beat longer than a comma. A full stop would end the sentence, therefore the arc of the thought; I think.
I find recent usage in trad published novels interesting on this point. I have frequently found a sentence which I would "conclude" with a colonbut which is instead ended with a period. In the list presented afterwards then each element is presented as its own complete thought. For example: She often thought about her wounded brethren. The happy horseman. The slogging groundsman. The terrified lout.

I've seen this done time and again in a popular series I recently read--and loved. So what ARE the rules today? How does an Indie Author cope? To wirte the above segment the way the author I read did would leave me, as an Indie Author, subject to grammatical derision in online reviews. What? Help! Am I to be banned a beautiful construction by being labeled an Indie Author?
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:07 PM   #43
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I find recent usage in trad published novels interesting on this point. I have frequently found a sentence which I would "conclude" with a colonbut which is instead ended with a period... What? Help! Am I to be banned a beautiful construction by being labeled an Indie Author?
This particular example would not, I expect, draw much criticism. But it's true that established authors can often do "for artistic license" things that an indie author would be criticized for. It's happened to me, too. It's not fair, but that's what it is.

My advice would be to write what you want to write, and go off the reservation if you want... but be mindful of how often you go off the reservation. If you spend too much time out there, readers will notice and react adversely. So use those overly-artistic passages sparingly.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #44
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One thing I have always liked about your posts is your willingness to embrace different opinions then yours. You are just a great, easy going, and accepting person.
Wow. You've read me all wrong. I could care less about different opinions. I'll readily assimilate new ideas if they're better, but respecting different opinions for the sake of it? Pfft. Why would I embrace an opinion I disagree with? It may be necessary to understand someone's point of view specifically to point out why they're wrong, but you shouldn't confuse that with empathy any more than an autopsy is a way to a man's heart.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:46 AM   #45
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