Pack More Punch in Your Prose

by James Scott Bell
@jamesscottbell

We talk a lot about the big stuff here at TKZ—plot, structure, characters, scenes, and so on.

Today, I want to discuss the small stuff: words and sentences. But though they are small in stature, they are monumental in effect. It’s our sentences that create the pictures which deliver the stories to our readers.

If they’re flabby (the sentences, not the readers) the book won’t have nearly the effect it should.

So let’s get serious about sentences. The jumping-off point for our discussion is another of our first-page critiques. See you on the other side:

Lies on the Seine

Chapter One

There were three people in line in front of her. Danny Sullivan didn’t recognize the man behind the cart. Having to deal with a stranger wasn’t unheard of, but ever since the woman in Berlin it always made her throat dry and she had to force herself not to swallow. She was on high alert whenever it happened.

Danny surveyed the area around her for anyone who looked suspicious. A woman sitting on a wooden bench had a stroller and a book, but she didn’t seem to be reading or paying any attention to her child. A man in a fully buttoned suit was leaning on a tree talking on his phone. He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie, she’d keep him in her sight. She noticed a group of teenagers over her left shoulder, the one in the baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be looking directly at her, she couldn’t be sure. She wasn’t paranoid, suspicious people could be extremely dangerous.

There were two people in line in front of her. Danny turned her attention to the sandbox. Jacob and Jason were playing their favorite game, burying their cars then needing help to find them. Being that it was rare for their father to get a few minutes off in the middle of the day to meet his family at the park, Mark was unaware that the four-year-olds were conning him. She watched as he desperately looked for cars where the twins pointed even though they each knew he was excavating in the wrong location. To him, ruining his suit was a small price to pay if it meant he could play with his sons. Her family was a distraction.

There was one person in line in front of her. Her hand shook as she reached into her bag preparing for the worst. Meetings like this always put her on edge. At least she was out in the open, unlike the time inside the rubbled hospital remains in Iran when the only thing she accomplished was getting out alive. Danny had been with the CIA for almost fifteen years, danger came with the job. Now, as an operative assigned to bring down a black market arms dealer, she expected to find herself in situations that put her life at risk. However, being in such close proximity to her family was a whole different kind of scared.

***

JSB: Author, you’ve got the makings of a good scene here. CIA, something big about to go down, kids and husband close by. So let’s see if we can’t render this with more vigorous prose, more action, and less telling.

There were three people in line in front of her.

I want you to be on the lookout for sentences that begin with the There were… construction. It’s not ungrammatical, and I use it myself sometimes. But there are (!) other ways to deliver the same information. I mention it because you use this construction in three of the four paragraphs. I get that you’re showing the line getting shorter, but variety in the language would make this more inviting.

Also, while it’s often done, beware of beginning a story with a pronoun (her) instead of a name. Yes, a writer could have a valid reason for doing so, but be darn sure about that reason.

Why not this for the opening line:

Danny Sullivan didn’t recognize the man behind the cart.

Now we have a name, which gets us closer to the character from the jump. We have action—she’s looking and not recognizing. And we have a specific image—the man behind the cart. This opening line put us right into an actual scene. In medias res, as they say.

I like the mystery that’s dropped in about the woman in Berlin. I think we can also make this crisper, not only by cutting flab (there’s that word again) but by making this two or three sentences:

OLD: Having to deal with a stranger wasn’t unheard of, but ever since the woman in Berlin it always made her throat dry and she had to force herself not to swallow.

NEW: Dealing with a stranger wasn’t unheard of, but ever since the woman in Berlin it made her throat dry. She had to force herself not to swallow.

OR: Dealing with a stranger wasn’t unheard of. But ever since the woman in Berlin it made her throat dry. She had to force herself not to swallow.

In general, compact sentences increase tension.

The second paragraph gives us Danny’s observations. We can do some more cutting:

OLD: A man in a fully buttoned suit was leaning on a tree…

NEW: A man in a fully buttoned suit leaned on a tree… 

Grammatically, there’s nothing wrong with the first version. But when you can cut words and still convey the same information, try it. Especially if you’re writing a thriller.

He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie, she’d keep him in her sight. She noticed a group of teenagers over her left shoulder, the one in the baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be looking directly at her, she couldn’t be sure.

Odd use of commas. Change each comma to a period and I think you’ll see it reads better.

Third paragraph: As I’ve already mentioned, There were… should go. Also, we can cut some more flab. Try it this way: Two people to go. Danny looked at the sandbox.

I’d also cut the last line: Her family was a distraction. I’m not sure what it means. What kind of distraction—one that gives her pleasure, or makes her nervous? If you want this information in the scene, show us how Danny’s feeling by way of something physical—a smile, a twitch, inner warmth, inner trembling, a deep breath—or perhaps a thought beat (e.g., Mark, why’d you pick today?) 

In fact, you should cut the last line of each paragraph. There’s a little guideline called RUE (Resist the Urge to Explain). Each of your last lines is an author explanation of what we’ve just read. Let the action speak for itself.

The fourth paragraph begins: Her hand shook as she reached into her bag preparing for the worst. Meetings like this always put her on edge. At least she was out in the open, unlike the time inside the rubbled hospital remains in Iran when the only thing she accomplished was getting out alive.

I like this because it’s active and has a bit of backstory is woven in naturally. Notice how the effect can be enhanced by leaving some things out:

Her hand shook as she reached into her bag. At least she was out in the open, unlike the time inside the rubbled hospital remains in Iran.

Now we have micro-mysteries. What is she reaching for? Why was she in Iran? Micro-mysteries are great in opening pages. They compel the reader to read on.

So cut the rest of the paragraph, which is plain exposition—CIA, fifteen years, black market. Instead, let us see by Danny’s subsequent actions what her skills are.

Act first, explain later.

I recall an action movie, The Long Kiss Goodnight starring Geena Davis. She’s this nice, prim wife in a small town. But when she’s viciously attacked in her home, she suddenly has this amazing skill with a knife, and dispatches her attacker with lethal force.

WHU?

We have to wait a long time to find out the backstory. That’s okay. We’re hooked. (Oddly, I can’t remember the rest of the movie. But the opening remains vivid.)

Author, you’ve got the stuff here for a tense opening page. Rework it. Cut and shape those words so they punch us in the heart.

Oh, and one more thing—don’t ever start a sentence with However. That’s for academic papers and stuffy speeches to the Rotary Club, not fiction! [UPDATE: Unless it’s in the mouth of a prim character who would begin a sentence with However!]

All right, kids. Your turn.

8+

26 thoughts on “Pack More Punch in Your Prose

  1. While I agree the “there were” paragraph openings are “weak” I kind of liked the way they repeated. I wondered what would happen when the protag got to the front. But I agree, removing the “there were” can keep that tension.

    But, JSB, you’re scaring me here:

    “Oh, and one more thing—don’t ever start a sentence with However. That’s for academic papers and stuffy speeches to the Rotary Club, not fiction!”

    Not even in dialogue? Doing a search on “however” in the WIP now.

    • LOL, Terry. You actually added a good tweak (I’ve updated the post to reflect that). Remember, I’m just talking about beginning a sentence with the word However.

      William Zinsser, the guru of non-fiction writing (His On Writing Well is the must-have for non-fiction writers) remarked that a sentence with however is better served by moving it inward. Thus:

      However, you can get the same view by taking the boat to the other side of the bay.

      …is more inviting this way:

      You can get the same view, however, by taking the boat to the other side of the bay.

      The same would apply with even more force in fiction, IMO. We want all our sentences to be invitations.

      • Found 21 uses of “However” starting with a capital H, which means they were at the beginning of a sentence. (out of 100K words in the WIP.)
        On my “things to check/fix” list as I go through my edits.
        I think a lot of those are in there because I know I overuse “but” and wanted some variety.
        Nobody said this gig is easy.

  2. You’ve picked one of my pet peeves–there is/there are, it is, etcetera. Weak sentence construction, and a sin I think I’ve corrected, but I didn’t find it easy. The trick for me was to find the real subject of the sentence and use it, e.g.,There was a table ladened with food in the center of the room. The real subject is the table, so the sentence can be revised to something like ‘A table ladened with food beckoned from the center of the room.’ (Both sentences are pretty awful and boring, but the second is better, I think.)

    So how do you make a sentence interesting? Spicy specifics–I don’t see many in this excerpt, and none in my boring examples above. What kind of food? You could list it (ugh! unless one hidden detail is a clue), or, even better, show the POV character’s reaction to the food. Verb choice–“beckoned” hints at the viewer’s reaction and whether or not she’s hungry. One word can often evoke much more than we give it credit for (thanks to Sir Winston, I may end a sentence with a preposition, but just because I may doesn’t mean I should, especially in fiction.)

    Word order is also important. The ends of things are Points of Stress. Prepositions are weak, so re-order your sentences so that the ends of paragraphs, scenes and chapters are stronger.

    This excerpt could be fresher by changing most of the verb ‘to be’ to a different verb, and the search for just the right verb can help relatively new writers find their voice.

    Verb tense is so very important. The simple past (leaned) is stronger than the progressive past/imperfect (was leaning)… unless you’re creating a lazy and relaxed moment in a scene, but even then, a better verb can solve the problem of too frequent use of “was.”

    Was (ha ha) it here that I recently read a post about making music with our sentences? I can’t remember, but reading your work aloud really helps find awkward sentences, repetitious sentence structure and the ideal place for a short, medium or longer sentence.

    I think the fact that her family is there could be important. In fact, I’d like to see this writer make more of that to increase the tension in the scene. She’s on a dangerous mission where shots could be fired, I’m assuming (but I could be wrong.) Her family could easily be collateral damage if shots are fired, or perhaps injured in some other way, even emotionally, e.g., if her real work is a secret. Does she want to get them out of there somehow? Or is she trying to figure out how to lead the danger somewhere else?

    I found SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King very helpful. It deals with many “picky” issues, plus some more substantive ones.

    Word choice and all the picky stuff will carry some of the burden toward the goals of creating more tension and conflict. Clarifying (without telling) the dangers in the scene for the character and her family can bump up the tension even more.

    Lots of potential here.

  3. JSB, I’m reading your Ty #1 book at the moment (I’ve read thru Chap. 36). I’m struck by two things – the amount of dialog and you seem to be using chapter breaks to move time along. I don’t have a good grasp of the number of days that have passed in the story nor is that necessary for me to enjoy it. Do you recommend shorter chapters with the intent being that each chapter reflects a scene or a conversation? I looked and this book has 127 chapters.
    Sorry, no comment on the First Page above as I agree with what has been said so far.

  4. Anonymous author here –

    Thank you so much for all the advice on my submission.

    I find it really hard to get away from the word ‘was’ when writing in 3rd person, past tense. I know it is a weakness I will have to overcome.

    For the purpose of the submission you can only attach the first 400 words, however, the whole first chapter is barely over 700. Below is the end of the chapter. Please let me know if it answers the question, at least most of the questions, put forth in the critiques above.

    being in such close proximity to her family was a whole different kind of scared.
    It was her turn. “Do you have black cherry?”
    “No, Madam. That’s only a special when my wife decides to make it.”
    “Think she’ll make it anytime soon?”
    “Maybe Tuesday.”
    The stranger had recited the script exactly. Danny released the grip she had on the gun in her bag and pulled out her wallet, “Then I’ll just take two small chocolate cones.”
    She watched his every move.
    He handed her the ice cream and she handed him the payment wrapped around the memory card.
    The woman on the bench was giving a bottle to the child in her lap. The man on the phone waved to someone off in the distance. The woman behind the cart asked Danny’s contact if he could make change for her. The drop had gone off without a hitch. For the first time since entering the park she took a breath as if it wasn’t her last.
    Jacob ran towards her at full speed. He took the cone in one hand and her hand with his other. Walking back she heard Mark’s laugh. Her husband was on his knees trying to coax Jason out from beneath the bench with the threat of enjoying Jason’s cone for himself. She stopped to watch them and thought how bringing down the arms dealer would be so less complicated if he wasn’t such a good father to their children.

    • The drop had gone off without a hitch.

      RUE. Cut this. We saw it go off without a hitch, and the next sentence gives us her reaction.

      BTW, I’d like to see more of this “breathlessness” in the opening. Don’t be afraid to go deep into her emotions and reactions!

  5. Decades ago, I had a radio talk show. I got to know one of the newsguys a little. He had an unusual style for delivering the news.

    Sometimes, he would re-write stories in as much alliteration as he could. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

    One of my favorite alliterations began this way: A pair of pistol-packing purloiners paid prosperous patronage to the Picadilly porridge parlor yesterday p.m.

    Meaning: a pair or robbers robbed a local Picadilly cafeteria yesterday afternoon.

    That one sentence has taught me a lot.

  6. I live in a more rural area with no vendor carts. The first kind of cart that popped into my head was a grocery store cart, and I thought Danny was somehow associated with the checkout line. Just in case there are other readers out there whose neighbors include more fence posts than people, maybe Anon could add some key words to clue us in, something like, “Danny didn’t recognize the man behind the ice cream cart.”

    Also, because I know more Daniels than Danielles, I thought Danny was a man. Here’s how I read the first two sentences:
    There were three people in line in front of her. (Someone is spying on a woman waiting in line.) Danny Sullivan didn’t recognize the man behind the cart. (Danny, our male protagonist, doesn’t recognize one of the three, a male customer at the grocery store checkout line.)

    The extra paragraphs from Anon posed another question for me. Where did the woman behind the cart come from? There are two people behind one of those tiny ice cream carts?

    I really like the way Anon described Danny’s observations. It let readers know that Danny is a keen observer, trained and experienced, perhaps a detective. Then of course we learn in the last paragraph that she is CIA.

    I agree with JSB and others’ recommendations to cut wordiness, be careful about word repetitions, and be precise in verb choice.

    If this first page were easier for me to read without getting confused about grocery stores and gender, and if Anon wrote with a wee bit more economy and precision, I would turn the page for more!

    • Excellent notes, Priscilla. I agree. There is solid material here. We just want to “cut away” what is in the way, much the same way Michelangelo “saw” David in the marble and cut away everything that wasn’t David (with one notable exception, if you know what I mean).

  7. Thanks for sharing your work with us, brave writer. Here are my comments:

    1. “There were three people in line in front of her.”

    The pronoun “her” has no antecedent. (http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/antecedent.htm)

    2. Avoid beginning a sentence with “there were.”

    Fix both problems (1) and (2) like this:

    Three people stood ahead of Danny Sullivan in the line.

    3. Danny is not a feminine name. Make it clear that Danny is a woman.

    4. Your first sentence should lead with more mystery.

    5. “Having to deal with a stranger wasn’t unheard of, but ever since the woman in Berlin it always made her throat dry and she had to force herself not to swallow.”

    Unwieldy sentence. Try something like this:

    She often dealt with strangers, but memories of the woman in Berlin made her throat dry. She fought the urge to swallow.

    (I’m lost here about the dry throat.)

    6. “She was on high alert whenever it happened.”

    Resist the urge to use “was” when you can use a more powerful verb. What does “it” refer to in the sentence above. Be clear. Also, it’s best not to keep beginning sentences with she.

    Try something like this:

    Whenever (fill in description of what “it” refers to here), she remained vigilant.

    7. “Danny surveyed the area around her for anyone who looked suspicious.”

    Omit “around her”; it’s not needed. What you don’t want to omit, however, are more “spicy specifics” (tip of the hat to Sheryl for that term) about the exact setting. I can’t picture it yet.

    8. “paying any attention to her child”

    Just say “paying attention to her child”

    Notice how writing can be tightened by getting rid of unneeded words here and there.

    9. “A man in a fully buttoned suit was leaning on a tree talking on his phone.”

    The “was leaning” phrase is an example of past progressive.
    Someone suggested that you change the “was leaning” to leaned. There is a real difference between the past tense and the past progressive tense. To save time, read about it here and take whatever action you deem appropriate: https://englishhelponline.me/2011/06/27/the-difference-between-words-past-tense-and-waswere-ing/

    10. “He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie, she’d keep him in her sight. She noticed a group of teenagers over her left shoulder, the one in the baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be looking directly at her, she couldn’t be sure.”

    I know that you have probably seen published authors who occasionally use comma splices, but you don’t want to make it a habit. You can fix your sentences without breaking rules. Also, the “over her left shoulder” makes it sound like the teenagers are overhead or something. Let’s see if we can fix this:

    He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie—she’d keep him in sight. She looked over her left shoulder and noticed two teenagers. The one wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be staring at her.

    11. “She wasn’t paranoid, suspicious people could be extremely dangerous.”
    I’d advise getting rid of these kinds of editorial comments. Readers will already be concerned about someone staring at her.

    12. Adverbs. You’re using way too many of them on one page. Here are a few:
    fully, directly, extremely, only, desperately

    Adverbs should be used the way a chef would use cayenne pepper.

    13. “There were two people in line in front of her.”

    Sometimes was/were are used as auxiliary verbs and are necessary. However, “were” isn’t needed here. Try a different verb, like this:

    Two people stood ahead of her in line.

    Btw, this blow-by-blow description will only work if you pick up the pacing with snappier sentences. I’m losing interest at this point.

    14. “Danny turned her attention to the sandbox. Jacob and Jason were playing their favorite game, burying their cars then needing help to find them.”

    Sandbox? What sandbox? Where are they now? Who are Jacob and Jason? If they are her sons, say so immediately. Try something like this:

    Jacob and Jason, her twin boys, were burying their cars in the sandbox. Of course, they’d need help finding them.

    15. “Being that it was rare for their father to get a few minutes off in the middle of the day to meet his family at the park, Mark was unaware that the four-year-olds were conning him.”

    This is another unwieldy sentence, and you’ve just introduced three more characters on the first page. Let’s try to fix the unwieldy sentence:

    Their father, Mark, rarely had time to meet them at the park. Danny watched as the four-year-old boys conned Mark into searching for the cars.

    16. “To him, ruining his suit was a small price to pay if it meant he could play with his sons.”

    Stick to Danny’s thoughts. Omit this line. I would mention that they are in a park sooner, btw.

    17. “Her family was a distraction.”

    I don’t like the “was” here. Try something like:

    Danny didn’t need distractions.

    18. “Meetings like this always put her on edge.”

    Show, don’t tell.

    19. “At least she was out in the open, unlike the time inside the rubbled hospital remains in Iran when the only thing she accomplished was getting out alive.”

    Another unwieldy sentence and more uses of “was.” Try something like this.

    At least she waited out in the open—unlike the time beneath rubbled hospital remains in Iran when she’d barely escaped with her life.

    20. “Danny had been with the CIA for almost fifteen years, danger came with the job.”

    Use two sentences here. No comma splice.

    21. “Now, as an operative assigned to bring down a black market arms dealer, she expected to find herself in situations that put her life at risk.”

    Another unwieldy sentence. Try this:

    As an operative assigned to bring down a black market arms dealer, she expected life-threatening situations.

    22. “However, being in such close proximity to her family was a whole different kind of scared.”

    “close proximity” is redundant
    I agree with JSB about the word “however” here.

    Instead of your sentence, I’d try to get the reader’s sympathy with something like this:

    She’d never intended to put her husband and children in jeopardy.

    You get the idea. Play with it in order to tug at the reader’s heartstrings a little here.

    Carry on, brave writer! I can tell that you have great writing ahead of you. It’s easy to train your eye to look for the kinds of things that I’ve pointed out to you. Best of luck.

  8. Thanks for sharing your work with us, brave writer. Here are my comments:

    1. “There were three people in line in front of her.”

    The pronoun “her” has no antecedent. Use a search engine to find out about pronoun antecedents.

    2. Avoid beginning a sentence with “there were.”

    Fix both problems (1) and (2) like this:

    Three people stood ahead of Danny Sullivan in the line.

    3. Danny is not a feminine name. Make it clear that Danny is a woman.

    4. Your first sentence should lead with more mystery.

    5. “Having to deal with a stranger wasn’t unheard of, but ever since the woman in Berlin it always made her throat dry and she had to force herself not to swallow.”

    Unwieldy sentence. Try something like this:

    She often dealt with strangers, but memories of the woman in Berlin made her throat dry. She fought the urge to swallow.

    (I’m lost here about the dry throat.)

    6. “She was on high alert whenever it happened.”

    Resist the urge to use “was” when you can use a more powerful verb. What does “it” refer to in the sentence above. Be clear. Also, it’s best not to keep beginning sentences with she.

    Try something like this:

    Whenever (fill in description of what “it” refers to here), she remained vigilant.

    7. “Danny surveyed the area around her for anyone who looked suspicious.”

    Omit “around her”; it’s not needed. What you don’t want to omit, however, are more “spicy specifics” (tip of the hat to Sheryl for that term) about the exact setting. I can’t picture it yet.

    8. “paying any attention to her child”

    Just say “paying attention to her child”

    Notice how writing can be tightened by getting rid of unneeded words here and there.

    9. “A man in a fully buttoned suit was leaning on a tree talking on his phone.”

    The “was leaning” phrase is an example of past progressive.
    Someone suggested that you change the “was leaning” to leaned. There is a real difference between the past tense and the past progressive tense. To save time, read about it here and take whatever action you deem appropriate: https://englishhelponline.me/2011/06/27/the-difference-between-words-past-tense-and-waswere-ing/

    10. “He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie, she’d keep him in her sight. She noticed a group of teenagers over her left shoulder, the one in the baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be looking directly at her, she couldn’t be sure.”

    I know that you have probably seen published authors who occasionally use comma splices, but you don’t want to make it a habit. You can fix your sentences without breaking rules. Also, the “over her left shoulder” makes it sound like the teenagers are overhead or something. Let’s see if we can fix this:

    He wouldn’t stand out if he loosened his tie—she’d keep him in sight. She looked over her left shoulder and noticed two teenagers. The one wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses seemed to be staring at her.

    11. “She wasn’t paranoid, suspicious people could be extremely dangerous.”
    I’d advise getting rid of these kinds of editorial comments. Readers will already be concerned about someone staring at her.

    12. Adverbs. You’re using way too many of them on one page. Here are a few:
    fully, directly, extremely, only, desperately

    Adverbs should be used the way a chef would use cayenne pepper.

    13. “There were two people in line in front of her.”

    Sometimes was/were are used as auxiliary verbs and are necessary. However, “were” isn’t needed here. Try a different verb, like this:

    Two people stood ahead of her in line.

    Btw, this blow-by-blow description will only work if you pick up the pacing with snappier sentences. I’m losing interest at this point.

    14. “Danny turned her attention to the sandbox. Jacob and Jason were playing their favorite game, burying their cars then needing help to find them.”

    Sandbox? What sandbox? Where are they now? Who are Jacob and Jason? If they are her sons, say so immediately. Try something like this:

    Jacob and Jason, her twin boys, were burying their cars in the sandbox. Of course, they’d need help finding them.

    15. “Being that it was rare for their father to get a few minutes off in the middle of the day to meet his family at the park, Mark was unaware that the four-year-olds were conning him.”

    This is another unwieldy sentence, and you’ve just introduced three more characters on the first page. Let’s try to fix the unwieldy sentence:

    Their father, Mark, rarely had time to meet them at the park. Danny watched as the four-year-old boys conned Mark into searching for the cars.

    16. “To him, ruining his suit was a small price to pay if it meant he could play with his sons.”

    Stick to Danny’s thoughts. Omit this line. I would mention that they are in a park sooner, btw.

    17. “Her family was a distraction.”

    I don’t like the “was” here. Try something like:

    Danny didn’t need distractions.

    18. “Meetings like this always put her on edge.”

    Show, don’t tell.

    19. “At least she was out in the open, unlike the time inside the rubbled hospital remains in Iran when the only thing she accomplished was getting out alive.”

    Another unwieldy sentence and more uses of “was.” Try something like this.

    At least she waited out in the open—unlike the time beneath rubbled hospital remains in Iran when she’d barely escaped with her life.

    20. “Danny had been with the CIA for almost fifteen years, danger came with the job.”

    Use two sentences here. No comma splice.

    21. “Now, as an operative assigned to bring down a black market arms dealer, she expected to find herself in situations that put her life at risk.”

    Another unwieldy sentence. Try this:

    As an operative assigned to bring down a black market arms dealer, she expected life-threatening situations.

    22. “However, being in such close proximity to her family was a whole different kind of scared.”

    “close proximity” is redundant
    I agree with JSB about the word “however” here.

    Instead of your sentence, I’d try to get the reader’s sympathy with something like this:

    She’d never intended to put her husband and children in jeopardy.

    You get the idea. Play with it in order to tug at the reader’s heartstrings a little here.

    Carry on, brave writer! I can tell that you have great writing ahead of you. It’s easy to train your eye to look for the kinds of things that I’ve pointed out to you. Best of luck.

    • Brave writer, I tried to post a link about pronoun antecedents for you, but the posting program will only let me post one external link per post it seems. Anyway, if you need further clarification, just ask.

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