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    #1

    balancing himself from

    Hello!

    I'm unsure about how to put down this following concept: let's imagine someone is against a fence, with their back to it, arms hanging close to their sides and they are holding on to this rail, wrists up. Then, they start leaning their upper body forward, until their arms tense up, helping them not to fall and then they lean back again. (Imagine \ and | ) They repeat this motion again and so on for a while. It's a playful gesture, right? They are doing it while talking to other people.

    So, my paragraph goes like this:

    Kicking some leaves away he flashed a smirk at Joe, "I'm freezing." The air was cold, his clothes were damp, the wrought iron fence he was balancing himself from felt like ice piercing into his palm. "Hope you're enjoying yourself, you tyke."
    "Aye, that's how's up there north. Polar bears and vikings, mate."

    It can't be on because he isn't actually on top of it, right? I thought also of "balancing himself off from". Do any of these work? I'm avoiding slanting or leaning because I've been using them too much lately.

    As always thank you very much for your help!
    Last edited by lolipop90; 22-Sep-2016 at 03:29.

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    #2

    Re: balancing himself from

    It's difficult to provide a very brief phrase here that will accurately capture the action being performed. I can't think of a verb offhand that covers this motion. "Dangling" suggests being fully suspended. "Depending" might work, but is very vague without further explanation. If this image is important to your scene, consider inserting it prior to the conversation. Then, "dangled", "depended", "hung", and so on would be adjusted in the reader's mind to match what you just told them. Or, "...as he continued to fall, then catch himself...".

    Your question has a great deal to do with your own personal narrative style. "Balancing" doesn't really fit the situation, but many verbs or short phrases would work provided you set the image in the reader's mind first.

    "Leaning" does sound like a workable option. If you feel you've overused this word, don't forget that a previous usage might be the better one to change so you can use it here without exhausting the word .

    Don't consider previous text to be "written in stone"; I revise entire previous scenes for all sorts of reasons. Occasionally, for exactly this reason; I too hate overusing a word.

    Consider rewriting this section in an entirely different way; that often provides answers for these awkward examples where the writing just doesn't "work".

    Let us know what you come up with.

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    #3

    Re: balancing himself from

    I like dangling himself from better than your proposal.

    This sentence doesn't make sense: Aye, that's how's up there north.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: balancing himself from

    Thank you so much for such thorough answer I immensely appreciate your help and writing tips! To be quite honest, I'm always eager to scratch out entire pages and rewrite them when I feel things just aren't working, you know. That's perfectly fine. I don't like to do so much, however, when I feel I'm using it as a means to avoid something I feel I cannot properly express due to a lack of knowledge about how words collocate or plainly because I outright ignore what word I should use. Therefore my asking here!

    I came up with: The air was cold, his clothes were damp, the wrought iron fence felt like ice piercing into his palm as hebounced himself on and off from it, testing the strength of his hold as he swiftly invaded Joe's personal space in flashes of moments all too brief to be labelled inappropriate.

    (I'm aware I've probably made it worse, I'm still working on it all!)

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    #5

    Re: balancing himself from

    You bounce on and off of something.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: balancing himself from

    Oh, it doesn't? There goes my attempt at writing Sheffield slang! It was meant to be a bit of an ironic sentence since the other character is complaining about being cold but supposing it's not a problem for Joe, since he's lived in northern England for most of his life. I'm guessing I should just leave it as: Aye, that's how's up there! right? Also, thank you for that alternative! I'll bear it in mind!
    Last edited by lolipop90; 22-Sep-2016 at 17:16.

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    #7

    Re: balancing himself from

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    You bounce on and off of something.
    Most BE speakers consider 'of' to be redundant after 'off'.

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    #8

    Re: balancing himself from

    Quote Originally Posted by lolipop90 View Post
    . I'm guessing I should just leave it as: Aye, that's how's up there! right? Also, thank you for that alternative! I'll bear it in mind!
    That doesn't make sense, as GS told you. Perhaps you mean 'That's how it is up there'.

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