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  1. #1
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    John arrived home, exhausted.

    Is this correct and natural?

    John arrived home, exhausted. He felt like he'd been in state of constant daze. He took a bottle of wine from the cabinet and took a long swig. He felt empty inside and decided to fill the hole with the entire bottle of Burgundy. A few hours later, he crumpled on the couch, murmuring to the empty room. He was roused with the incessant sound of the door bell. Opening the door, he saw a medium-height silhouette under the halo of the hallway lamp. The figure stepped inside the house and said, "May I come in?"

    "I'm drunk as hell but I think you are already inside my house," answered John. Even through his wine-induced haze, he could see how beautiful this woman was.

  2. #2
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    Is this correct and natural?

    John arrived home, exhausted. He felt like he'd been in a state of constant daze. He took a bottle of wine from the cabinet and took a long swig. He felt empty inside and decided to fill the hole with the entire bottle of Burgundy. A few hours later, he crumpled on the couch, murmuring to the empty room. He was roused with the incessant sound of the door bell. Opening the door, he saw a medium-height silhouette under the halo of the hallway lamp. The figure stepped inside the house and said, "May I come in?"

    "I'm drunk as hell, but I think you are already inside my house," answered John. Even through his wine-induced haze, he could see how beautiful she was.
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  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    It sounds a bit much for one bottle of wine.

  4. #4
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It sounds a bit much for one bottle of wine.
    You mean a person wouldn't be in a haze?

  5. #5
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    You mean a person wouldn't be in a haze?
    It depends on the person. Some would be perfectly functional, others would be hammered. Most wine enthusiasts would be tipsy but not smashed.

    Your characters seem to find themselves in altered states quite often.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 22-Apr-2021 at 19:11. Reason: Added missing word
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Most people who are fairly used to drinking alcohol would easily be able to drink a bottle of wine over the course of an evening without becoming absolutely hammered (blotto/smashed/p*ssed/paralytic/sh*tfaced).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    I am a learner and non-native speaker, but I feel I have to tell you my thoughts about your writing.
    I don't want to discourage you from writing, but I have read a few of your texts, and I think your writing is terrible. You seem to lack basic knowledge of writing fiction. For example, you used "took" twice in the same sentence, which is a sign of amateurish writing. A professional writer wouldn't use "felt" either, and instead would describe how John felt. Likewise, it could be said for "exhausted." You have to describe how John was exhausted. You should avoid using the passive "was roused." Nothing special happens in this scene. It is bland, and leaves a reader unaffected. Readers want to experience something interesting, otherwise they don't want to waste their time on a boring text.

    There is "Open Library" where you can register for free and borrow 10 books at time. A few books are indispensable for everyone who writes fiction .

    Renni Browne: Self-editing for fiction writers
    Don McNai: Editor-proof your writing
    Raymon Obstfeld: Crafting scenes

    There are hundreds of others useful books which you can find on this site.
    You can borrow "The Collected Stories" by William Trevor and learn how he creates different scenes and characters. If you don't have a strong character, your story will always appear bland.

    I would rewrite the above text in this way.

    John came back home, exhausted as if he had marched the whole day. Every bone in his body hurt, and he smelt his stale sweat. His brain was dizzy and confused. He grabbed a bottle of vodka from the cabinet, poured it into the glass and drained it. Then he poured another one, and the third, but anxiety and void inside him only grew. He dragged himself to the sofa, muttering as he lay. A doorbell jerked him out of his dream. Bleary-eyed and drowsy, he shuffled to the door and, as he opened it, he believed he was still dreaming because in front of him stood the most beautiful woman. Her almond-shaped, dark eyes stared at him with fear. "Please, may I come in?" her voice shook with emotion. "Secret police are after me."

    John watched her as if he were spellbound. One part of him wanted to hug her and pull her inside, but another part warned him not to take any risk. Secret police was no joke, and John had no desire to mess with them. But the girl's eyes was burning into him, and on impulse, he pulled her inside and closed to door. She was shaking. John held her fragile body and said, "Relax, you're safe here."
    Last edited by Bassim; 22-Apr-2021 at 21:40.

  8. #8
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I am a learner and non-native speaker, but I feel I have to tell you my thoughts about your writing.
    I don't want to discourage you from writing, but I have read a few of your texts, and I think your writing is terrible. You seem to lack basic knowledge of writing fiction. For example, you used "took" twice in the same sentence, which is a sign of amateurish writing. A professional writer wouldn't use "felt" either, and instead would describe how John felt. Likewise, it could be said for "exhausted." You have to describe how John was exhausted. You should avoid using the passive "was roused." Nothing special happens in this scene. It is bland, and leaves a reader unaffected. Readers want to experience something interesting, otherwise they don't want to waste their time on a boring text.

    There is "Open Library" where you can register for free and borrow 10 books at time. A few books are indispensable for everyone who writes fiction .

    Renni Browne: Self-editing for fiction writers
    Don McNai: Editor-proof your writing
    Raymon Obstfeld: Crafting scenes

    There are hundreds of others useful books which you can find on this site.
    You can borrow "The Collected Stories" by William Trevor and learn how he creates different scenes and characters. If you don't have a strong character, your story will always appear bland.

    I would rewrite the above text in this way.

    John came back home, exhausted as if he had marched the whole day. Every bone in his body hurt, and he smelt his stale sweat. His brain was dizzy and confused. He grabbed a bottle of vodka from the cabinet, poured it into the glass and drained it. Then he poured another one, and the third, but anxiety and void inside him only grew. He dragged himself to the sofa, muttering as he lay. A doorbell jerked him out of his dream. Bleary-eyed and drowsy, he shuffled to the door and, as he opened it, he believed he was still dreaming because in front of him stood the most beautiful woman. Her almond-shaped, dark eyes stared at him with fear. "Please, may I come in?" her voice shook with emotion. "Secret police are after me."

    John watched her as if he were spellbound. One part of him wanted to hug her and pull her inside, but another part warned him not to take any risk. Secret police was no joke, and John had no desire to mess with them. But the girl's eyes was burning into him, and on impulse, he pulled her inside and closed to door. She was shaking. John held her fragile body and said, "Relax, you're safe here."
    I appreciate your comments. Bear in mind that I write these passages very quickly for the sake of practice and my focus is usually on specific parts and collocations within the passage and not the entire thing.

    Your passage is actually not too bad but generally, you try too hard and it's a bit over the top. "Every bone hurt"? "he was dreaming"? "Spellbound"? Not stuff I would like to see in any book.

    And you tend to repeat the same words.

    In any case, you are always welcome to offer your opinion in my threads and I would love to read more of your stuff.

  9. #9
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Welcome back, Bassim!

    I couldn't help notice that you guys are critical of each other. Please do your best to keep it civil.

    While "Every bone in his body hurt" isn't meant literally, it is a bit cliche. Having said that, it does make the point.

    Alpa, Bassim does have some stories in this subforum (most of them with my responses).

    That's all for now.
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  10. #10
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
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    Re: John arrived home, exhausted.

    Tarheel,

    I just wanted to illustrate for alpacinoutd how to use "show don't tell" rule, but of course, this is his text, and he can write as he want. My intention was not to lecture him, but to show him how to polish his writing so that it becomes more interesting.

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