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Friday, January 30, 2009

I need to get automatic at this

“Here, let me show you around,” said Michelle. Chris followed her as she gave him the tour of the house.

I looked at that pair of sentences about five times, knowing it needed something, before I realized: that second sentence doesn't convey any information whatsoever that isn't already obvious. And it sets up what must invariably be a bunch of passive sentences, because it makes the tour complete, which makes any sentences I write about the tour a recap.

Here's something that sucks less:

“Here, let me show you around,” Michelle said, leading him out of the kitchen and into the living room. As he passed the door Lionel had stormed through, she gestured and said, “that’s the study.”

It sucks less because it's people doing stuff, not a narrator reporting on stuff having been done.

I need to get better at spotting those sentences that don't actually say anything.

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