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The sentence I’d like to ask about this time concerns the MC reflecting on living in a Communist city the first day of her residence. It’s the third one below, "A mask of statues…" An editor suggested adding ‘that speak’ after ‘names’ to enhance the elegance of the prose, and she made this type of suggestion in a couple of other places. In this instance, I don’t think that the addition of the two words adds elegance or much else, and given the subject, I’d favour as concise a sentence as possible. However, the editor is very respected, and the critique she did for me was full of penetrating insights. So, I wonder if I’m missing something. What do you think ?

She has given little thought to living within the Communist face laid over Prague since her family’s escape. A mask, Jarek called. A mask of statues, plaques and street signs, a public web, thick with names of violence and trumpery: Lenin, Gottwald, Victorious February.

With the addition, the passage would read "…a public web, thick with names that speak of violence and trumpery…"


    • You bet. I like your description style.

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      • Thank you. I see that you published a novel a couple of years ago, and it looks very interesting.

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        • I did indeed. It is my debut, and looking back it could have been tightened up a lot better. I believe it stands as a great representation of my style though and I am proud of it. Sequels are on the way.

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        • Hi Janet - to me, the sentence is staccato enough as it stands. Deliberately roughening the texture further by spurning "that speak" draws attention to the writing and away from the idea. I think this spoils a vivid and meaningful passage.

          One way of adding a little more grit without bringing the machinary to a halt might be to say "thick with the names of violence and trumpery:" It's smoother than your current draft, but less smooth than "that speak". Or so it seems to me.

          Gotta love this level of analysis! If anyone cares to comment on the sentences in my novel, I have around 20,000 that bear scrutiny!

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          • Hi Glyn, Thank you, adding "the" is a good idea. What a difference one ordinary word can make. I do love this kind of analysis, and it's also important. 

            Why don't you post a few of your 20,000? As you see, TH members enjoy commenting.

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            • Hi Janet. This is a lovely extract. I agree with your editor. Names of violence could be read as literal. I.e. Bludgeon Street, or Masacre Road. The extra words add the literary effect for me.

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              • Hi Jimmy, Good point. It's amazing how each comment focuses another angle. Thanks so much. 

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