Wednesday, May 7, 2014

As I write this post, I grumble about as/ing constructions.

There are other blog posts on this topic. I’m sure of it. I just feel the need to address it because as/ing constructions bug the sh*t out of me.

What’s bad about them? Nothing, if used sparingly. When overused, they present the same problem as any other craft element. Repetition is annoying.

The reason I hate them has nothing to do with their actual existence. I’ve seen them used well. It’s just that 99 times out of 100, they don’t do anything. Consider the following.

Holding my breath, I contemplated the situation.

This feels like a sword strike on my ears. Not only is nothing happening, it’s drawing attention to thought processes. In a nut shell, this sentence is stagnant. Just cut it.

The following is a bit better.

Standing tall, she entered the room.

We’re moving now, but it’s very mechanical. First I did this. Then, I did this. This could be rewritten to give more.

She straightened her spine and strode into the room.

Now we have a lot of active, well, action. Our person is doing stuff, and we’re seeing her actually straighten—stand tall. Then we replaced the not-so-showing “walk” with the much more informative strode.

As she walked into the room, she took in the painting on the wall.

Personally, I think as constructions are worse. Absolutely nothing interesting happens in this sentence.

She entered the room. A painting of a ship at sea dominated the left-hand wall.

Look at all that information!

Case and point, 99 times out of 100, there is a stronger way to phrase as/ing constructions.

Happy writing.

-See you on Twitter: @desantismt

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