Prose Tips

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I just read a passage of Khan's Wife Miriacia Tai, and I noticed how I have quite often substituted the word "the" for a specific thing or idea. (Application for articles: a, an, and the are relevant here). Substituting something more meaty instead of using articles, that are indeterminant, forces the writing to be more specific. It is good to know that trick when you begin your short story or novel.

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Utilization of "the" is a layover from expository writing for those who have done term papers in high school or university. It is a way to begin an opening theme paragraph. I discovered that the writer is forced, actuallly redirected, to construct a sentence differently if "the" is not used in the sentence. Paint with words, etch it out, then put meat and muscle on bones. No "the" though. It is hard at first and gets easier once you form exceptional habits.

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I asked when I first began writing my first Khansman novel: How do I construct sentences so that they do not all sound similar? Term paper tone is the same, flat, unemotional, stripped of most allusions or devices--some, but not predominantly. My search became one of experimenting with elements of style found in poetry - that was a long time getting rid of over years - it all sounded like poetry.

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There is a balance, use sparingly succint elements of style - expand them into allegory (extended metaphor) that is the essence of prose. Without "the" major shifts occurred. After I wrote an extensive pp prose piece on Adjectives and Adverbs, I realized there was an absence of those types of phrases and descriptive words throughout each of my novels. From poetry, I kept rhythm, cadence, the rise and fall of varied voices. I'm adding them, rearranging sentences to accomodate them. They are remarkably "seeable" words and phrases. Now, I add them automatically (prosaic). Or rather: Automatically, I am adding them (rhythmically prosaic). Varied line lengths help to enforce this principle.

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Rhythm can not be ignored in prose and counting beats per sentence holds rapt  attention of each reader with song quality. That is created by mixing up parts of speech. When your writing goes flat, that is usually because of repeition of world that are flat. Insuffient emotional content created by description of thoughts, action, dialog, or description of place and setting.

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Another huge skill to acquire in extended prose is describing high and low action of characters and their interaction with equipment, propinquity to items in a room; their placement in relationship to others.  A lot of words are dedicated to movement, expressions, though bubbles (in italics of what character is thinking) and creative ways to say those things without being repetitious. Whew! To write is a joy. To write well takes acquisition of skills. Do not use "the" for an entire paragraph. Experiment with one word sentences sparingly. Your eyebrows will rise with enlightenment. 

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Just thinking out loud.

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allets

03-05-19

117p

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lozzamus's picture

Very interesting. 

Very interesting. 

allets's picture

Thanks 4 The Read

I wish someone was there for me early on when I had the bug and no idea what to do with it. Best wishes, slc