Saturday, January 5th, 2013
Rules of Writing #5- The use of the word “and” should be monitored and deleted when or if possible. This becomes an issue when you start to notice not a few, but several of your sentences containing the word “and”. Fortunately this is a simple fix most of the time.
For example, “I arrived at the store at a quarter past nine to meet Sarah, and bought some eggs while I waited.” There is too much going on in this sentence. Easy solution though, delete the word “and”, and add “I”. “I arrived at the store at a quarter past nine. I bought some eggs while I waited.”
Remember simple, short sentences often give your reader the best tools to paint the vivid picture you are trying to describe to them.
This seems like such a trivial issue, but trust me from a reader’s point of view it is a big issue. You don’t want to swamp your reader with a bunch of huge sentences connected by the word “and”. While proof reading your work, ask yourself is this “and” really needed each time you come across one. If not, delete and create two sentences. Wait, did I use “and” in that last sentence? Was it correct usage or should I have deleted it??
Monday, December 31st, 2012
****Warning the following may contain spoilers if you have not read the complete Dark Tower series by Stephen King*****
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
Above is the first line from The Gunslinger book one of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. This opening line is often heralded as one of the best sentences Stephen King has ever written. Upon first reading the sentence, I knew it was great, but didn’t realize why until I finished the whole series and started to compose short short short stories of my own.
That one single sentence, told the complete story of the eight book series. And to be expected most readers will not understand this until they finish the series. Lets break it down and see why it’s so great.
The man in black– this part represents not only a person who is a central antagonist throughout the works, but it also describes the greater antagonist the world in which Roland lives, black. These four words describe the struggle and hardships very well.
fled across the desert- even though the man in black(world) is the enemy has taken steps toward darkening the world further, the darkness is now fleeing as a result of the actions of Roland and his friends. The desert symbolizes how desperate the enemy now is, to even cross the desert in order to lose the gunslinger.
, and the gunslinger followed- Roland, a gunslinger continues on his duty to follow the man in black (both literally and figuratively), in order to search the evil out and put an end to it. Notice the sentence ends with “followed” not a word or words describing a victory by Roland. Once you read the last book this makes perfect sense. The sentence is meant to seem repetitive in nature because as we learn in fact Roland is having to repeat this sentence over and over.
For once, I agree with the critiques and reviews. This is one of the best sentences, I have ever read.
Monday, December 31st, 2012
Start of the End
These are not easy times to call yourself a gunslinger. But I continue to walk the once, well traveled path of my ancestors. Many years ago, I held my head high when I passed the fork in the road. I squint my eyes as I watch the silver sun slowly set in the distance. I smile. The end of the beginning is almost over. I walk forward.
Usually I do not dissect my own works for the reader to read, but I’ve decided to do so for this (idk why).
First sentence- Gunslinger (much like the one in the dark tower series) represents the older, now dying line of those who follow a now forgotten code of morality, spirituality, etc. In addition, besides being forgotten it’s not easy b/c the gunslinger is tempted several times to give in and change his/her name, hence the use of “call”.
Second sentence-Despite the hardships, despite the pressures the gunslinger continues with the life he/she knows, while recollecting memories of this on the way.
Sentence three- the gunslinger dips into his/her past and tells us a story about being tempted to divert paths. The gunslinger declines, and afterwords is proud of the his/her actions.
Sentence four and five- The silver sun setting represents the “mechanical world” not just in terms of technology but in terms of the spirit of the people who have given up the old ways for the new ways. The gunslinger squint his/her eyes because it painful to see what the world has become. The gunslinger smiles, b/c hope is felt as a result of the sun setting, which represents the new way fading, but slowly. (we are not clear as the reader if this is false or real hope)
Sentence five- The stories ends with the gunslinger’s new motivation and motto being told to the reader. He/she now sets out to continue and finish the mission with new found hope.