11/27/2020 0 Comments
Writing tip #27: Watch the chronology
There’s a trap many authors fall into when trying to vary sentence construction. Consider this sentence:
Packing her bag, she ran out the front door to the taxi.
The way it’s written implies that she packed her bag and ran out the door at the same time. This is not feasible and it could be rewritten simply as:
She packed her bag and ran out the front door to the taxi.
Consider these other examples:
Brushing his teeth, he spat into the hand basin.
Kissing my daughter goodnight, I tucked her in and turned off the light.
The chronology’s not quite right because those actions are not occurring at the same time. That sentence construction is fine, however, as long as the actions are actually simultaneous. Here’s an example of one that does work because the actions could be simultaneous:
Singing at the top of her lungs, she ran out the front door to the taxi.
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About this blog
Through my experience as an editor, a reader and a book reviewer, I’ve noticed that some writing faults keep just popping up again and again. As an author, I’m especially aware of those writing crimes that I’m frequently tempted to commit myself. This series of brief tips addresses the common writing problems that I’ve encountered. Following them will help make your writing clear, accurate and stylish.