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Either you do or you don't, there is no try-Yoda
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hfriscia: With the CLANK of treads and the RUMBLE of motors, out rolls an Army tank body on which is mounted a large laser tube -- a one-foot diameter, six-foot long clear glass column with a GLOWING RED, wrist-thick beam of light inside, on a swiveling turret.

Curious question, is "swiveling" a noun or adjective?
February 9, 2017 at 11:51PM
    Jannypan (Jan) : As written, it is describing the turret. So, it is an adjective here.
    February 10, 2017 at 12:41AM
    DR DIP: I think it can only be a verb or an adjective h

    February 10, 2017 at 7:21AM

hfriscia: A quick question, does "mumbling" go with the noun "kids" or "home" ?

A group of kids walk by the ordinary home which rests near a few tall trees and a fence that separates the houses, mumbling to each other.

I think it goes with kids, but I'm not sure.
November 11, 2015 at 4:51AM
    michaelcahill: There's no way to determine what's mumbling here. We assume it's kids, but it could be trees, or even houses. Since it requires at least two to be mumbling it does eliminate "the ordinary home" and "the fence".
    The whole sentence is confusing.
    The home rests? Is it tired? A fence separates the houses? What houses?

    A group of mumbling kids walk by an ordinary home near a few tall trees. A fence separates the houses in the area.

    I can't help but think there is too much unnecessary information here that the reader doesn't need to know.

    A group of mumbling kids walk by an ordinary home near a few tall trees.

    You have to ask yourself what is needed for the story. I'm guessing the mumbling kids are. They must be mumbling about something to do with the story.

    Are the trees important? Is the ordinary house important? Maybe the house is but it doesn't matter that it is ordinary.
    How about the other houses? Do they matter? Is the fence that separates them important?

    Maybe all that matters is this:

    "A group of mumbling kids walk down the street."

    See, if that is all that is important then you've tightened your story considerably. The reader is moving right along.

    Just blathering here, but that is how you want to look at it. Not that I do with my own wordy rambling work. HAhahah!!
    November 11, 2015 at 5:30AM
    evilynne: You take a gamble when you ramble?
    November 11, 2015 at 6:49AM
    Linda Engel: good advice Mike and Evi. well put.
    November 11, 2015 at 1:37PM
    vapros: Your sentence is okay, but arranged poorly - too much distraction between the kids and their mumbling. "A group of kids, mumbling to each other," - and then proceed with whatever needs to follow.
    November 11, 2015 at 3:32PM
    vapros: P.S. A group 'walks'.
    November 11, 2015 at 3:34PM
    hfriscia: Okay, I kinda figured that's what it was. I just wanted to make sure. And I couldn't of a verb for I wouldn't the house to do. But I found one, I will use stand instead.

    I thought since kids is plural, the word has to have a "s" at the end.
    November 11, 2015 at 4:48PM

hfriscia: Is this sentence past tense?

Then, suddenly, a light momentarily danced into my room, grabbing my attention and disappearing moments later.

OR, after room, "which grabbed my attention and disappeared moments later".

Thank you for the help.
March 9, 2015 at 11:08PM
    LIJ Red: Danced is the key verb, past tense.
    March 9, 2015 at 11:32PM
    nor84: I'd cut 'then, suddenly 'and 'momentarily' and go with: A light danced into my room, grabbing my attention and disappearing moments later. That kills some unnecessary words and a couple of adverbs. If you say the light danced into the room and left moments later, we already know it was there 'momentarily.'
    March 9, 2015 at 11:42PM
    michaelcahill: Nor is exactly right. You could even make it shorter.
    "A light danced into my room. I blinked and it disappeared."
    Just illustrating that you're using a lot of words to describe something that happens in a moment.
    March 10, 2015 at 1:06AM

hfriscia: Okay, I'm looking for a word (the antonyms) for , "peer", that's a verb.

Here is the sentence,

He peers out and looks around the corner.

I can't think of a word (verb) that describes in "leaning, or going back into cover." Thank you for you time.
February 18, 2015 at 11:12PM
    michaelcahill: An "antonym" is a word that means the opposite. I think you mean, "synonym", a word that means the same thing or something similar.

    "He sneaks a peek down the corner."

    You don't need all of the detail to describe such a simple act. Short and sweet unless you're looking for it to be more dramatic.

    "He leers out and gazes around the corner."

    It's difficult out of context like this. You should take this to the writing section of the forum and put the sentences that surround this there. It gives us more time to consider it.

    "With a leering gaze, he peeks around the corner."

    It depends on the character and what is actually happening.

    February 18, 2015 at 11:54PM
    nor84: That's right. Present these things in the story writing forum with a little bit about the surrounding sentences to get the best responses. Just pull down the headings at the top of the screen until you find "forum" and you'll get a list. Choose story writing.
    February 19, 2015 at 1:24AM
    shelley kaye: - it's not just rhymes, it's antonyms and synonyms and related words, too.

    February 19, 2015 at 11:25AM

hfriscia: Thank you for all help, I appreciate it. For this animation spec script I'm writing as of right now, I'm drawing a blank.

I'm trying to find a word to replace, "whimpering". It's a rechargeable gun with a sound that indicates it's out of ammo or empty. And, every time the character pulls the trigger it "fizzles with a fading sound". It has to be a word the describes a sound.

Here is the sentence,

Moments later, Duke's gun clicks and clicks again with whimpering hum every time.
February 4, 2015 at 8:03PM
    nor84: A synonym for whimper is easy -- whine. However, a whimper can't hum. A click is a click, like when you turn on a light switch. That's the way an empty pistol would sound, I believe. It wouldn't fizzle or have a fading sound or a whimper, just a click.
    February 4, 2015 at 9:01PM
    nor84: maybe just say clicks on an empty chamber, if it's like a revolver.
    February 4, 2015 at 9:03PM
    vapros: The rechargeable gun is not a common weapon - it's just yours. Close your eyes and you will hear the helpless sound, and if you can hear it, you can find a word.

    Maybe it buzzes or ratchets as it searches for another shot - or it rasps in mechanical frustration, or it hums helplessly. Stutters, hisses, grinds, etc
    February 4, 2015 at 10:42PM
    michaelcahill: Not exactly sure how the weapon works, but I have the feeling when it's empty it clicks followed by a "whirring" sound as the mechanism inside the weapon finds no ammunition to latch onto.
    February 5, 2015 at 12:48AM
    Imogen JH: No matter what word you change whimpering into, I would slaughter it in a critique. The whole sentence is weak.
    One of the main reasons why people struggle to find fitting words is because the descriptive structure is piss poor.
    February 5, 2015 at 6:09AM

hfriscia: Do I need a comma after, "Then".

Then, he raises his arm and points at the incoming plane.
February 2, 2015 at 3:35PM
    Kingsland: Yes as there's a natural pause there...
    February 2, 2015 at 4:21PM
    kathy shirley: Depends upon how you would like it read. If you want a pause after "then," put in the comma. If you don't want a pause, leave it out.
    February 2, 2015 at 5:35PM
    William Walz: Kathy is correct. It's all in how you want the reader to react to your sentence.
    February 2, 2015 at 5:55PM
    Kingsland: I beg to differ with it being a choice. It needs to have a comma after then. There is a natural pause in the reading of that particular sentence...
    February 2, 2015 at 6:17PM
    nor84: Usually, you don't want then at all. If he does something, he finished doing it. What happens next is automatically happens either next or then.
    February 2, 2015 at 7:45PM
    William Walz: Then he raises his arm...I can read that without a pause. The point is rather minor, one way or the other.
    February 2, 2015 at 8:46PM
    William Walz: Actually Norma has the right approach. The "then" is probably not needed.
    February 2, 2015 at 8:48PM

hfriscia: I definitely need more help. I can't find the proper word to replace "grasp", giving the image of the hand barely missing the grenade.

His arm enters frame as his hand grasps at the dipping grenade, barely missing it.
January 31, 2015 at 6:58PM
    vapros: I think 'grasps at' works okay.
    January 31, 2015 at 7:01PM
    Kingsland: clutches... clinches... holds... grabs... There are more but my mind is at a blank right now...
    January 31, 2015 at 7:11PM
    adewpearl: clutches was the one I was also going to suggest, and grabs works well too
    January 31, 2015 at 8:09PM
    nor84: His arm enters the frame as he grabs for the falling grenade, barely missing it.

    It's clear he has to use his hand to grab for something. Don't need to say hand.
    January 31, 2015 at 8:18PM
    gypsycaravan: How about 'claws'?
    January 31, 2015 at 9:55PM
    michaelcahill: His arm enters the frame as he swipes at the falling grenade, missing it.
    "Barely" takes up room to me. "Swipes" has a lot of quick desperate action I think. Nor is on the money about "hand".
    January 31, 2015 at 10:08PM
    michaelcahill: Claws is good too, but it isn't as heroic. It depends on the character.
    January 31, 2015 at 10:09PM
    michaelcahill: Sorry, they should have an editing feature on these. :) If the grenade is falling, it's obvious he missed it.

    "His arm enters the frame as he swipes at the falling grenade."

    That says it all.
    January 31, 2015 at 10:12PM
    humpwhistle: 'Scrambles for' -- it conveys futile desperation
    February 1, 2015 at 6:15AM
    Imogen JH: You could use 'clamp' or 'clench' But do consider the possibility that if the word doesn't fit the situation, it might be because the whole paragraph might not carry enough writing strength in itself.
    February 1, 2015 at 7:39AM
    michaelcahill: Yes! "Scrambles for", much better. "Lunges for" perhaps. You should post these queries in the writing forums. These profile posts disappear quickly.
    February 1, 2015 at 2:22PM

hfriscia: Do I need the comma after, "rubber".

Ripcord rears his arm back and thrusts the arm forward as the viper-like limb stretches out like rubber, towards the grenade.
January 31, 2015 at 6:34PM
    vapros: I don't think the comma is needed. Also, I think you could have a better verb than 'rears' for the guy's arm. Use 'rears' when he stands up.
    January 31, 2015 at 6:58PM

hfriscia: The plasma fire hits the bio-vipers' upper body in various places, soaring through the gelatin, leaving holes. Then, almost instinctively the goo refill the openings seconds later.

Does anybody know if the second sentence is correct?
January 15, 2015 at 6:19PM
    rosehill (Wendy): Can I first just say Yuuuuk! Then:

    Seconds later, almost instinctively, the goo refills the opening.

    if you want to keep almost instinctively there. I think that if it takes seconds, it is instinctive and not a response that was pondered. Soooo, since you asked:

    Seconds later the goo refills the openings.

    My choice. followed by another Yuuuuuk!

    January 15, 2015 at 7:28PM
    nor84: And if it's one bio-viper, the apostrophe should go before the S. bio-viper's.
    January 15, 2015 at 7:51PM
    michaelcahill: It isn't an instinct, it's a bodily function. It wouldn't be a delayed reaction, it would began immediately. "The holes refilled with goo". BUT--This is where you might want to show us that disgusting process. Describe the oozing goo filling the gaping wound.
    You realize that we're writer's picking this to death, right? :)
    I'm going off the deep end maybe...
    January 15, 2015 at 8:29PM
    michaelcahill: Then, almost instinctively the goo refill the openings seconds later.

    First, you have two conflicting times in your sentence: "then" and "seconds later". So, you have to chose one.
    Second, it would be "refills" not "refill".

    So, without considering anything else, your sentence would read:

    Seconds later, almost instinctively, the goo refills the openings.
    But, you can't refill something later, you refill it now. So, it would be:
    Seconds later, almost instinctively, the goo refilled the openings.

    By putting it in the past, even by seconds, you've made it boring.
    So, "then" is clearly better as it keeps the action flowing.
    "Then, almost instinctively, the goo refills the openings."

    Like I said before, a bodily function is not an instinct not to mention an instinct either is or isn't, it is not "almost".
    "Then, the goo refills the openings."
    Boring, right?

    "Before their horrified eyes, foul smelling goo oozed into the gaping wounds healing them."

    I'm somewhat blathering to myself, trying to learn how to look at my own work with a more critical eye. In any case, the final version is painting a picture in the reader's mind of what is going on. That is what you are aiming at.

    Aren't you glad you asked? Hahaha!!
    January 15, 2015 at 10:02PM
    michaelcahill: By the way, even "then" puts it in the past. "Then, the goo refilled".
    I think.... Help Nor!!!!!
    January 15, 2015 at 10:10PM
    nor84: Well, Michael, having read everybody's remarks, here's what I'd do:
    The plasma fire hits the bio-viper's upper body, searing through the gelatin, leaving holes. The snake's goo refills the openings seconds later. >>>and then I'd describe that process a little for true Yuck. Hope this helps.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:02AM

hfriscia: Is this sentence below correct?

As Tunnel Rat trudges through the waste, he raises his hand and taps on the device in his ear.
December 3, 2014 at 10:17PM
    trimple: As the sewer rat, trudges it's way through the foul waste, he raises his hand and taps the device, situated in his left ear?
    December 3, 2014 at 10:24PM
    Adri7enne: The sentence is grammatically correct, infriscia.
    December 3, 2014 at 10:29PM
    michaelcahill: You are giving details that are unnecessary. You don't have to say he "raises his hand" and you don't have to say, "on". Those are all understood.

    "As Tunnel Rat trudges through the waste, he taps the device in his ear."

    "Tunnel Rat trudges through waste tapping the device in his ear."

    It depends on what comes before and after the sentence. In general, action like this should be crisp and quick. You don't want to bog it down with too many words.
    December 4, 2014 at 3:04AM

hfriscia: I am not sure if the next sentence grammatically correct.

She stops and reaches into her pocket, pulling out a two-way viewing device to the front of her.

Thank you in advance.
August 20, 2014 at 2:44AM
    michaelcahill: It would read more smoothly:
    She stops, reaches in her pocket and pulls our a two-way viewing device to the front of her.
    "to the front of her" isn't very clear. I'd suggest that you end the first sentence at "device", and begin a new sentence to more clearly describe what she is doing with the device.
    She stops, reaches in her pocket and pulls our a two-way viewing device. She holds it in front of herself.
    It could be written more concisely, but that is an improvement I think.
    August 20, 2014 at 3:30AM
    michaelcahill: Sorry, I keep putting our instead of out!
    August 20, 2014 at 3:33AM

hfriscia: I was wondering if the sentence below is correct?

Holding a bowl as steam rises out of it, Tunnel rat grimaces with disgust.
July 28, 2014 at 3:47AM
    adewpearl: That is a correct sentence.
    July 28, 2014 at 4:58AM
    hfriscia: Thank you
    July 28, 2014 at 2:23PM

hfriscia: I was wondering if this sentence correct also?

The jet veers off, right before the disaster, barely missing the satellite.
July 19, 2014 at 3:07AM
    michaelcahill: I think so, but what is a jet doing almost encountering a satelite? Is the satelite falling from outer space?
    July 19, 2014 at 4:25AM
    hfriscia: Yup!
    July 28, 2014 at 2:23PM

hfriscia: Not entirely sure I need the comma after, "by".

SLOWLY PUSH IN on the vehicle disguised as a small camping truck, while a few people casually walk by, along the pavement in the background, going about their daily routine.

Thank you...
July 18, 2014 at 7:39PM
    michaelcahill: I'm not the best at punctuation, but I would say no. If this is the entire sentence, it is a really long incomplete sentence. I would consider breaking it up and adding a "subject" at least.
    July 18, 2014 at 8:42PM

hfriscia: I'm having trouble with the grammar. After the comma, does the rest of words refer to the plane or the a blazed contraption? I'm kind of confused. Thank you

Falling diagonally, the a blazed contraption barely misses a commerical plane soaring by, which veers off to avoid a disaster.
July 4, 2014 at 1:40AM
    nor84: You've got a problem with the wording. Need to take out either THE or A. I don't think blazed is the word you want.It's the past tense of the verb BLAZE or it might be an adjective describing a marking. If you mean a flaming contraption, one that's on fire, that would be a better description. The plane cannot SOAR by. It might pass close by, but to soar means to rise. It would mean the plane is climbing higher in the air. But to answer your question, the words after the comma would describe the most recent noun, which is the airplane.
    July 4, 2014 at 1:55AM

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