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I'm struggling with a sentence which some helpful critiques flagged in my WIP - great sentiments, clumsy phrasing. In that typical way, it reads totally clear to me :-D

The context: the protag has recently changed school, this is about her fifth day, and she's in the playground at breaktime trying to find someone to click with.

Class is easier when you’re new: you hate the work, but at least you feel safe.

It might be the word 'class' that's confusing? I wondered if 'class time' makes it clear enough, though it still doesn't run right.

Any suggestions? I'd like to keep it succinct.

  • Hi Sarita,

    Do you want to keep the sentence as a 'universal truth'? Or could you make it personal? If so, you could drop the "when you're new part" since we probably know that she's the new girl...something like this? 

    Classroom lessons are easier than this. I hate the work, but at least it's safe there.

    I'm still thinking for a universal truth sentence :)

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    • I like this idea. Thanks, Julie.

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    • I read that sentence and immediately understood it, had no problem relating to the character and what they meant by it and no problem with the structure of the sentence itself. succinct and to the point. Are other people just confused by "class is easier when you're new" because they read it as "as opposed to when you're not new" rather than "as opposed to playtime"? I think the preceding context of feeling overwhelmed in the playground should make this clear enough. Just my thoughts.

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      • Yes, that's exactly what had confused me.

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      • I agree with Kate. I liked this sentence and immediately understood it.

        What sort of ratio of people not understanding to people understanding do you have?

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        • One not sure, one liking but wanting it stronger, two no specific comments so presumably OK.

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        • I like the sentence - I like the voice and rhythm. It's hard to tell, though, out of context. I suppose I might add 'Being in class' at the beginning. That wouldn't damage the rhythm. Or - if you don't really want to change this sentence - maybe alter the sentence before it to make this one clearer.

          Personally - depending on context - I'd change the last bit to 'but at least you're safe.' I think that has more power.

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          • Hi Sarita, I really like Julie's idea. It's succinct and immediately understandable. 

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