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Hi Everybody,

Following a development edit, I am posting two sentences, each in two versions, which I’d appreciate comments on. I had a great developmental editor, but sometimes she suggested changes which seemed too literary for the scene in question and/or wordy. NB: My language is American English, but the novel in question is in British English (it’s more of a European than an American novel), and that was my editor’s language. While I am familiar with a number of differences in vocabulary, idiom and syntax, I certainly don’t master all, so, it’s possible that the revisions in these cases were simply more in line with British English.

In both the examples below, I prefer my shorter and less formal phrase (in italics) to the revision. Could you please tell me whether or not you agree, and why. Thank you so much.

1) original version: Kristina indulged her little sister as a messenger, and led in Katherine’s best friend Carrie, whose bowl haircut perfectly suited her to play Libuše’s commoner husband Přemysl, complete with ploughman’s pouch and woven shoes. 

2) edited version: Kristina indulged her little sister as a messenger, and led in Katherine’s best friend Carrie, whose bowl haircut made her perfectly suited to play Libuše’s commoner husband Přemysl, complete with ploughman’s pouch and woven shoes. 

1) original version: Katherine spent half her weekly allowance to keep Carrie in liquorice sticks for this reluctant act of friendship…

2) edited version: Katherine spent half her weekly allowance to reward Carrie with liquorice sticks for this reluctant act

Comments
    • Yep, without the beautifully put reasoning of others my instinct is for the same versions. 

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      • Thanks, Catherine! ;-)

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      • Yep, agree with Jon. 

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        • Thanks, Graham. I was thinking of you this evening, actually, wondering how your work is going. Well, I hope. I am halfway through the heat map that you suggested. It's very useful and is raising some interesting questions about narrative distance -- for me anyway.  I will probably put a post on here eventually.

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        • Thanks, Rick. There's a new remark posted above, under Jon's comment, because I've realized that I'm not satisfied with either sentence really. (Nothing like drafting on-line.) The edit has two verbs, and that makes it seem overly complicated. I'm tempted to say "whose bowl haircut made her perfect for the role of..." It's one word longer, but to me it's more direct. What do you think?

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          • Indeed. I was looking only at the options available rather than digging for refined answers.

            But in the name of adding words for precision: "whose bowl haircut made her perfect to play the role of…" is clearer still.

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            • Thanks, Rick. I wasn't digging initially either. The alternative came when I realised there was a deeper reason that I didn't like the edit.

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            • For what it’s worth, I like version 1 in both cases.
              it feels more like ‘showing’ not ‘ telling’ 

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              • Thank you Gabrielle. I realised that a problem with the edit of the first one is two verbs: "made her perfectly..." and "to play".... It makes the sentence seem unnecessarily complicated. I rewrote it in the comment to Rick above.

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              • I agree with Jon et al above, BUT (just to confuse matters) if you're looking more for informality, I definitely wouldn't use 'indulged' in the first sentence. It sounds extremely formal to me (a Brit). I would also split the sentence up into two - shorter, simpler sentences often read better.

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                • Thank you Sarita. Not confusing. It's always good to be thorough. I agree, "indulged" is more formal. I've used it because Kristina is 3 years older than Katherine and sometimes has a slightly "adult" attitude towards her sister. She is already a bit beyond playing 'dress-up', and I think the word works in the context. It's 4th level of narrative distance, I suppose you could say, where a character's attitude colours the narration.

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