Thursday, August 20, 2015

Simultaneous Actions/Impossible Sentences

Be on the lookout for sentences that contain so many actions they're “impossible” for the character to do. Watch for multiple “as” phrases, “ands”, “thens”, and “whiles” in a sentence. They’re giveaways.

Avoid: I ran downstairs and hopped in a cab while I called my mom on my cellphone and the cab driver pulled from the curb, heading across town.
Try: I ran downstairs and hopped in a cab. As the cab driver pulled from the curb and headed for downtown, I called my mom on my cellphone.

Also, phrases starting with “as” and “ing verbs” are supposed to happen simultaneously within the action of the main sentence.

Avoid: Pushing to her feet, Jane ran to her husband.
Try: Pushing to her feet, Jane smiled at her husband.

Jane is not pushing to her feet at the same time she's running to her husband. One action happened (she pushed to her feet) and then another action happened (she ran to her husband).

Avoid: As Jane pushed to her feet, she ran to her husband.
Try: As Jane pushed to her feet, she smiled at her husband.

Same here. Jane did not push to her feet at the same time she ran to her husband. One action happened (she pushed to her feet) and then another action happened (she ran to her husband).

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