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The shoes didn't fit. It was an omen.













Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 8: J is for Jump and Jerk

This morning, well almost everyday when writing a scene, I find myself pondering and sometimes inking other ways to show someone being startled or moving abruptly. And whenever I’d turned my work into my editor, she’d write a big, fat ‘Ack!’ or ‘Yak!’.

“Sweetie,” she said many, many times. “You don’t have to try so hard. Things like this only need to be said simply. Remember, keep it simple.”

And my poor brain still believes there has to a fancier way of showing these words.  What do you think?

Below are a couple lines from my novel.

I jumped, turning to face the doorway, almost jabbing my wrist. “Oh my, goodness,” I gasped, yanking at the scissors stuck in the lace. “You scared me.”

I jerked my hand back. “Max, there are people right outside who can see in.”

 

Disclaimer: No one may use this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

22 comments:

  1. Sometimes it's a matter of personal taste in the editor. I think the two lines work well as they stand, but at the same time, they could be simplified with the odd change of word.

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    1. Well, now I'll be editor shopping as you already know.

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  2. I have definately had a few of the jump and jerk, especially when hubby has to work late and my imagination hears things

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    1. I jerk and jump when I write horror. I scare myself sometimes.

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  3. There is a lot of movement in these two lines, and it can get a little hard to keep all the images in your head as you read. I think if I read them with a line break before "Oh my goodness" it would slow it down a little. But I like the fact that it's all simple words, I think that works well with the urgency of the moment.

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  4. I always wonder about this kind of thing, if finding new ways is best or going with the tride and true. Hard to say on this one, I think they both work. Best of luck!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Yep.Yep.Yepper. It is hard sometimes.

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  5. It is difficult to express the right balance of action and emotion in a sentence. I often wonder: Will the reader understand? How best to get my point across?

    Your second sentence seems to work well, but in the first sentence, the character is jumping, turning, jabbing, gasping, and yanking.

    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

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    1. Okay. I'll take this in consideration. Thank you.

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  6. The second is definitely better than the first. I would try rearranging the words. Something like, Turning toward the doorway I jumped and almost jabbed.....

    Or maybe use startled rather than jumped. I think all the ing endings slows the sentence down. Maybe that is what you are going for.

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    1. Yes. That soumds much better. Thank you.

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  7. I'm more in the "less is more" camp. So I agree with trying to write simply. ;)

    However, that's just my style as a writer.

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    1. Simple is much better but I'm always experimenting with different ways of saying something. Readiing out loud helps, of course.

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  8. I think that's difficult too.

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  9. Mmm... a tricky one!
    Sometimes fancy words seem toooo busy...
    There's a sense of non-stop activity in the words turning, jabbing, yanking which all point to edginess (which I think is what you're aiming for...)
    Maybe it depends on writing style?

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    1. Michelle:

      I will definitely fix it. Thank you.

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  10. Seems I've come across this problem in my own writing. Wanting to show every little action. What if you go with she jumped. Then she turns, but doesn't discover that she has nearly jabbed her wrist until she sees the scissors haning in the lace?

    I'm working on short story where I wanted my character to smell lilacs while driving in a cemetery, and I honed it down to a very simple sentence, instead of something that seemed to need more. Rearranging, breaking the whole thing down until something pops into place is sometimes the only way to get it right.

    Good luck, hon!

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    1. Thanks, Lorelei. Its easier to do this with someone else's work. I guess like they say, we are too close to our own stuff.

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  11. No, offense, but I agree with your editor. You need to tone it down and simplify it. The "almost jabbing my wrist," seems to clash with the jumping. Maybe I just need the sentence before to figure out why the character is jumping and how he or she almost jabs a wrist with a scissors. A little description would go along way to toning this down. Thanks for you visits. You rock!

    Catch My Words
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm never offended. And you rock, too.

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I'm dying to know what you think.