Need to revise a sentence.

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Preacher
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Need to revise a sentence.

Post by Preacher » January 9th, 2013, 3:39 pm

I have this - "It also made him think of his father. Frank hated the rain. He hated his son, too. He never thought he'd amount to much of anything and took every opportunity to make it known, vocally as well as physically."

The sentence is obviously from the son's POV but as it reads it feels like there is a POV shift there. I want to reword it to contain this same information but have it in the son's POV. Can anyone help?

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wilderness
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Re: Need to revise a sentence.

Post by wilderness » January 9th, 2013, 11:36 pm

Preacher wrote:I have this - "It also made him think of his father. Frank hated the rain. He hated his son, too. He never thought he'd amount to much of anything and took every opportunity to make it known, vocally as well as physically."
I think the problem has more to do with indefinite pronouns than with shift in POV.

It also made Joe think of his father. Frank hated rain almost as much as he hated Joe. His father never thought Joe would amount to much of anything and took every...

(I used Joe since I don't know the son's name)

bcomet
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Re: Need to revise a sentence.

Post by bcomet » January 10th, 2013, 12:10 am

His father used to tolerate Joe, but that was when Steven was still alive. Now his father hated him.

Joe should have died instead of his brother Steven, but that was something even his father could not, with all his power, change.

Joe had lived while Steven had died.

Even to please his father, Joe could not remedy that. In his father's eyes, it was his greatest sin, and the one sin his father could never forgive.


(Sorry to have taken this into a background that probably doesn't exist in your story, but it occurred to me that "rain" was not a big enough reason for hate and I wanted to up the stakes.)

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Need to revise a sentence.

Post by Beethovenfan » January 10th, 2013, 2:56 am

Most POV problems can be solved by putting the idea into the character's thought. Make it something the son is actually thinking.
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Hillsy
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Re: Need to revise a sentence.

Post by Hillsy » January 10th, 2013, 9:08 am

Wilderness absolutely nailed it. From there it's just tweaking flow and character voice to eliminate some of the pronouns, reinforce the emotional connection.....

"It made him think of his father. Dad hated the rain almost as much as he hated him. Wouldn't amount to nothing, Dad said, and backed his words up physically often as not."

I tried to remove as many identifier tags as possible so we get into the son's head and there's less chance for him fto slip out.

But in the main - yeah what wilderness said!

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polymath
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Re: Need to revise a sentence.

Post by polymath » January 10th, 2013, 12:43 pm

"It made him think of his father . . ." "It" pronoun subject antecedent issue. Pronouns without antecedent referents are syntax expletives, subject placeholders relying on later information to give them meaning. It was raining doesn't hold much meaning. The opening of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is in syncrisis using expletive "it."

I imagine there is an antecedent subject referent for "it"; however, the opportunity for repetition, substitution, and amplification, a rhetorical scheme, is missed. In other words, the context and texture of the preceding content influences the excerpt's meaning. The preceding content and context and texture influence the excerpt's structure and potentially close narrative distance into the son's viewpoint and voice. Stimuli cause responses.

Two bluejays bickered over a breadcrust. It made him think of his father . . .

What made him think of his father, the bickering, the breadcrust, the bluejays? "It" is usually weak writing from potential vagueness. The "him" is vague too; pronouns often are unless their subject referents are unequivocal.

"It made him think of his father" doesn't close into the son's viewpoint or voice. The narrator's viewpoint and voice are in the foreground. If the narrator describes how "it" reminds the son of his father, narrative distance between the narrator's voice and the son's voice closes. Modifying terms that express attitude, ideally the son's or a viewpoint character's, carry a character's voice.

The brash bluejay stole a stale breadcrust from the timid squirrel. The rude bird made [son's name] think of his father . . . "Rude," "stale," and "timid" are attitude terms, estranging narrator voice to a degree and closing into character voice. Also note the accentual verse of "brash bluejay," "stole a stale breadcrust," and "timid squirrel."
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