29 March 2019

Published March 27, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Hysterical Faction

Word Count: 100

STORY THREADS

Am I the only one who has found learning the current rules of writing ruins the enjoyment of reading? Suddenly, I find myself editing. Oh dear. I shouldn’t have started that last sentence with ‘suddenly.’ As Mark Twain is credited with saying, “If you see an adverb, kill it.”

What about disembodied body parts? Don’t tell me you’ve never noticed them. 

“His eyes traveled about the room.” Can you see them rolling along the walls?

How about, “Her nose ran to the scent”? Disturbing at best.

“The boy’s hand waved vigorously.” All I can say to that one is, “Duck!”

130 comments on “29 March 2019

  • Hehehehe. This is all so very true. I can’t even watch movies without mumbling ‘here’s the inciting incident…, this is the turning point…” any more. And another nice one is his or her chocolate orbs. Yummy…not. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi,

      In my HS drama class we studied the technical side of movies. It took a while to really enjoy a movie. Actually, I’m good at picking up inconsistencies. I’m sure I’m not fun to see a movie with. 😉 Chocolate orbs??? Oh dear, oh dear. I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Clever take – well done. The easier way forward is to disregard the rules. My enjoyment of Madame Bovary was flawed not by the POV hopping itself, but by that niggling recollection of ‘informed opinion’ on it. And my appreciation of the flow/meter of a phrase often diminished by the lack of a well-placed adverb.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sandra,

      Balance is definitely the key. Some rules are meant to be broken. But some breakings are too egregious to disregard. One memorable one for me was “A smile crawled across her face.” Tell me that isn’t horrifying. An adverb here and there but I once read a story where if the hero and heroine smiled lovingly one more time…well, I’m sure you understand. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I don’t mind a few adverbs here and there, actually. Really, the focus should be on the narration and not too much on the grammar. 😉 Fun take on the prompt, Rochelle. Very well done indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  • It is funny, but I think only another author would think, “I let my eye wander over the sea of humanity packed like sardines in the train station,” is totally disgusting 😉 I mean, I try to keep the body parts of all of my characters firmly attached, but I am sure I have read about these phantom body parts in the works of more than one illustrious author… Adverbs? Oh well, they are a personal weakness…

    Liked by 2 people

  • Good points, Rochelle. Reading aloud often shows these errors (as well as rhyming echoes, a certain plague). I tend to try and follow Elmore Leonard’s dictum: leave out the parts the reader will skip.” I also think that you’re allowed one use of “suddenly” per 100,000 words, but that’s just me.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Kill your darlings! And don’t use the “to be” verbs! And don’t start your sentences with a conjunction… oops!

    I have to say though, “his eyes traveled about the room” really made me chuckle 😉

    Very entertaining, Rochelle!!

    -Rachel

    Liked by 1 person

  • Funny take on the prompt, Rochelle. I’ve heard of the eyes traveling about a room. What about her/his gaze swept across the landscape? I used “he shook his head vigorously” in one of my stories because it was necessary. I say if it works for the story, go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Adele,

      Actually, I find gaze acceptable, since that’s what we do with our eyes. An adverb here and there is not biggie. There are some things I’ve read where there are so many adverbs you lose the immediacy of the action. So I agree…if it works, use it. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Oh my goodness! Yes! You nailed it with this one. I already had an issue suspending disbelief. Once I started taking writing seriously, I started correcting grammar, punctuation… One error sets me off. Instead of a reader enjoying reading, I’m an editor in search and destroy mode.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Nobbin,

      I haven’t decided if this editing bent is a blessing or a curse. A bit of each perhaps. 😉 I’ve picked up some things in my own published books that set my teeth on edge. Thank you for understanding my pain.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I canna lie. Once upon a time, I did not particularly notice disembodied body parts. You have totally ruined it for me. As for adverbs, I fear, at times, I am guilty. Shoot. I’m already a pain in the ass with the There, They’re, Their and you’re and your and… ok… nevermind.
    Suddenly, I have the urge to reread all my stuff and fix anything I may have ignorantly done…

    Shalom and Lotsa love (yes, ‘Lots of’ has been morphed into my personal expression “lotsa”)

    Dale

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      What can I say. It happens to all of us. It means you’ve become…gasp!…a writer. 😉 Thanks for all the support you give me nearly every day. Lotsa is fine with me, particularly when it precedes ‘love.’ Thank you.

      Shalom and lotsa hugs,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear David,

      I think editing as we read is a writer’s trait. It comes upon us gradually but once it happens we’re ruined for life it seems. Ever since I went to a workshop where disembodied body parts were discussed, I’ve not been able to unsee them. Thank you for reading and understanding. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • What I don’t like is editing as I write. Trying to be perfect for someone’s eyes instead of how I want to really say it. Loved the Nose running to the Scent.

    Funny I am right here. The guy above me mentioned he just wrote his 200th story for FF. I’ve never counted mine, but went back and looked at my first one. I was surprised to see it was almost exactly to the day 7 years ago.

    https://tedstrutz.com/2012/03/24/friday-flash-fictioneers-bang/

    Like

      • Dear Ted,

        I read both stories. Good jobs! You were only 3 weeks ahead of me. I had no idea what a wild ride and ‘career’ of cat herding I was setting myself up for. Looking back, I wouldn’t change most of it. 😉 Friday Fictioneers helped me through a very dark time in 2012. Not to mention I’ve made some lasting friendships. (Yes, I still communicate with the disc flinger.)

        As for editing…yeah, I can’t help myself. I’ve no idea how many FF stories I’ve written. In 7 years… a lot, with a few reruns tossed in. Thank you for sticking with me.

        Shalom,

        Rochelle

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Plaridel,

      I have said it before and it bears repeating. You have shown such a marked improvement in your writing since you started. I’d never have guessed that English was your second language. I envy people who are fluent in more than one language.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I was just thinking about this subject. I’ve been in a critique group for over a year now. As I read a book for fun, I keep thinking of comments to the author. “Need a new para here, Unnecessary word here, Remove exclamation point here.” I’m so much more aware of the author at this point. Kinda spoils the reading. Still, I’ll never stop. Great fun, Rochelle. I apologize for being absent so long. The new book is almost done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Eric,

      I have felt the void your absence has left. At any rate, I haven’t been in too much danger of snorting my coffee. 😉 One valuable lesson I’ve learned through crit groups and other writers is that there is a time to break the rules. And don’t they change? Read a novel written 50 years ago and you’ll find it littered with passive voice and dismembered body parts. My favorite book of my childhood and teen years was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I’ve picked it up recently and realized to my shock and horror that it is written in Omniscient author. Gasp!
      Again, happy to see you back. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe. I’ve been cooking up devious plans to make you snort coffee. I’ve not given up! And yeah, times change in writing. One of my biggest influences is H.P. Lovecraft, but I could never sell a thing writing in that style. So good to see you again, and thanks much!

        Like

  • I “smile lovingly” when I think about your “curse” as the grammar nazi. However, that is what makes you such a good writer. Of course we know that if I wrote a hundred word story and you red lined it, I would be left with a twenty word garble. Lol. A really good take on thread.

    Liked by 1 person

  • You certainly hit the nail on the head! I’m not an author but I’m a wordsmith, as well as doing some freelance proofreading. Some of the new rules drive me nuts, especially since there are different style standards such as the APA and the Chicago Manual. Use the Oxford comma or not? Put the period inside the quote mark or outside? Hyphen, en mark, or em mark? Do ellipses consist of three dots in a line or three dots with spaces in between?

    And yes, it kind of screws with my reading because I notice all the typos, grammar errors, and the odd sentence structures that leave the wrong visuals in my head. And I certainly Waffle about my own writing (I really do need to get back to blogging).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Barb,

      I am a washout when it comes to punctuation. And it’s hard to keep up with new rules. Omniscient author used to be an accepted form and many of my old favorites were written in it. Now, thanks to conferences and workshops, the head popping makes me nuts. I’m ruined.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’ve made me smile. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Aha! loved this fun take. Hilarious to say the least. Work on creating wow moments and a great reading experience rather than being too stuck up on worrying about a misplaced ‘adverb’ or some other modifier here and there. The operative word, I guess is “ENJOY;. And speaking of you and your writings, that’s what I, as do countless others, do when we read you oops your writings that is, dear Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Neel,

      I agree to a point. I do use an occasional adverb. It’s my opinion that overuse of adverbs and adjectives can make the reader feel like he or she is drowning in the sea of description. And talk about slowing a story down to a crawl. I’m glad you enjoyed my meant to be humorous rant. Thank you for your kind words.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Lyneane,

      You do know how I am. 😉 I’m of the decided opinion (that comes from my own experience) that too many adjectives and adverbs can slow a story down to a glacial crawl. Slow your brain before you get a mental speeding ticket.

      Shalom,

      Rukhelita

      Like

    • Dear Francine,

      It’s not always about rules but…puh-lease…I recently read a novel where the author used, not once or twice, but several times, a frown crouched on his forehead. Tell me that doesn’t put a disturbing image in your mind. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      It’s perfectly all right to roll your eyes. It’s when they roll by themselves that you have the problem. Now your jaw dropping is another issue entirely.

      To quote Mark Twain, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

      (I grew up with Tom Swifty’s)

      Thank you and your eyes for dropping by.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Lol, this is very funny and clever.

    I’m thankful for my editor’s eye, as it helps me decide if I can be bothered with a book (thank you, Amazon and some other online stores, for your “look inside” feature). As for all those rolling eyes, when I read “Fifty Shades of Grey” ages back, while searching for the elusive magical ingredients involved in writing a bestseller, I seem to remember those eyeballs were rolling bigtime! I never read the other two books in the trilogy. One was quite enough.

    Sorry, I’m still being elusive re blogging and socialising. I’ve just had too much on my plate this year and need to recharge, although the whole Brexit mess isn’t helping my mood, or anybody else’s in the UK just now.

    On the positive front. There’s been some lovely sunshine to entice me away from the PC and out into the garden, where I’ve been editing from hardcopy with the birds for background music and my dog for company.

    Will return to the fold eventually. At least I’ve got as far as checking out the FF prompt this week.

    All best wishes,
    Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah,

      Take all the time you need. At any rate it’s so good to see you here on my purple page. 😀
      We just can’t help but edit, can we? As I mentioned to someone before, I recently read a book for a book club I’ve joined. While the book wasn’t terrible, more than once the author used “a frown crouched on his forehead or on his eyebrows.” Somehow I envision Spiderman couching between the person’s eyes. Disturbing at best.
      Thank you for coming by and reading. You’ve made my day. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,
    It’s true that writers read more critically than ‘general readers’, because we’re aware of all the ‘rules’, although we know they’re there to be broken!
    Fabulous summary of how a writer feels when editing his own work…. like a duck!
    All the best,
    Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

  • Amen, to your observation on being too rule-aware. Its funny you should mention Twain, whose work I love, however politically incorrect it sometimes seems to us. But he also said, according to twainquotes.com, ”
    “It is good to obey all the rules when you’re young, so you’ll have the strength to break them when you’re old.”
    – quoted in Advance Magazine, 2/1940 by Dorothy Quick

    His autobiography I found harder to read, than his shorter works (it was quite detailed, which can be wearying, and lifeintervened, so I havent finished it yet.) I imagine he honored even his own rules mostly in the breech, just like the rest of us. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andrea,

      I do believe there’s a time to go by the rules and a time to ignore them. Too many adverbs and adjectives can bring a story to grinding halt or at least to a slow crawl. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Too many adverbs are a bad thing, but then I think in the right context, for example when dealing with dialogue, they can be important. I try not to over think what I do though, or it can stifle the creativity in the first place.

    I dread to think how many technical blunders I have made, I am sure I have used “He cast his eyes over the scene” before… Oh well. I have to accept, I like to write in a very old fashioned style.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kristian,

      It’s a learning process. One wonderful thing about dialogue is that anything goes, depending on the speech patterns of your character. An occasional adverb isn’t a bad thing. It’s when there are so many they slow the pace to a crawl.
      I’ve caught some things in my published works like her eyes darted…yeah, makes me cringe.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such an affirming comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Betsy Ross W(T)F,

    After reading your tale, I can visualize little mime hands performing all kind of extraneous activities (much to the horror of those watching her little exposition). The only time my eyeballs float is when I need to go pee real bad.

    Best of luck recapturing those flying body parts,
    Ramblin’ Ross

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hahaha… I love the part about disembodied body parts! I tend to take certain expression too literally for my own good. Whenever someone asks if they can “pick my brain”, I imagine my brain exposed to the elements, being pecked (and picked) by vultures. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • So true. I spent 33 years teaching English, so I’ve lived with the disability you describe for a long time. However, I’ve found that since I started devoting more time to writing (in other words, when I retired), that experience has been an asset. You can’t be too rigid about grammar – a creative person can break the rules, as long as they’re broken cleverly. But spelling errors – they jump out at me from everywhere. (Oops, talk about disembodied body parts.) Thanks for this story – very entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I know it’s not coal mining, but writing is hard – harder than people think. You have all of the things you mentioned to try to avoid, all the adjectives and adverbs, you have to remember correct punctuation and grammar, avoiding cliches and then you have to try to find your own voice, a unique way of telling a story in a practice that has gone on for centuries! Hard, hard, hard. And I hear you with our knowledge of story spoiling books and TV – I find I so often second guess what’s going to happen on TV shows and in films now, I irritate myself.
    Lovely piece, Rochelle and those travelling eyes will haunt me for days! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      It is such a balancing act, isn’t it? I certainly haven’t “arrived” but have learned a lot over the past 15 years. I wouldn’t show my first draft of my first novel to anyone. I’m terrible when it comes to punctuation. Then avoiding cliches is really tough. It was one of the first lessons I learned as a new writer. Of course my first MS was loaded with them….and passive voice. So I throw my hands in the air and hope they’ll return to me. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Very good. I empathise completely – my work was filled with passive voice (something I still have to watch for) and the over description … well, you can imagine with me, I found it hard to reign in! I have to restrain myself from jumping on a soap box (ah, the cliche!) when people tell me how they always fancied writing a book, as if writing fiction to a high standard is as easy as breathing. Most of us know how to write, after all 😉

        Like

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