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Cliches

Crumbly Writer

I'm curious. How much does everyone strive to avoid cliches in their writing? Phrases like "stand a chance", "hope for the best", "in the middle of the street" or "sooner or later".

I tend to use them less in the narrative, allowing my characters to express themselves in common terms and expressions, but I'll occasionally use common expression to describe a scene--especially in a stories early opening chapters when I'm first setting up conflicts.

Does that make your scenes and dialogue seem more real, or less original. If the latter, then how do you typically resolve the use of common terms?

I get a list of cliches I use in each chapter, but for the most part, I simply ignore most of it, while eliminating many of the redundancies, which make more sense removing.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  REP
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I try not to use cliches in the narrative, but I don't consider your examples as cliches.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

If looking for cliches to reconsider, you might try using both autocrit and prowritingaid, because their cliche lists are VERY different. No reason to even consider paying for prowritingaid for that, as their 3,000 word limit for free analysis is nowhere near as tedious to cope with as the 400 for autocrit.
I've yet to find any cliche I'd suggest an author changes. With dialogue CW and SB are correct, it's the characters using cliches, not the writer.
I've basically consigned both the cliches and vague language reports by both programs to the dustbin.
I think those reports are essential for technical writing, but for fiction I make a human judgement about when those usages are appropriate.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

In my stories, I normally have my central character as the narrator. As I develop the character, I use clichés in the narrative, if they are appropriate to the personality of the central character.

For me, the same rule applies to dialog. Although in dialog, I try to make my characters diverse, so they are far more likely to speak using clichés and the vernacular of their peer group.

People's thoughts and speech patterns tend to use similar terms and phrases. If your character speaks using clichés, he probably thinks using those same clichés. By emulating what appears to be real conversation patterns in my characters' dialog and describing my central character's thought patterns in the narrative, I believe it adds to the realism of the story.

For example, a few years back the term Valley Girl was used to define young women who spoke using terms and phrases that in my opinion butchered the English language. Can you envision writing a story with a Valley Girl character who spoke flawless English. It just wouldn't be realistic.

In one of my stories, my central character, Doug Smith, is learning how to speak English. His first friend, Slim, speaks using numerous clichés, one liners, sayings, etc. Doug needs someone to explain sayings like, 'greasing the skids', 'whipping a dead horse', 'getting off on the wrong foot', and other comments that a native English speaker understands.

A writer can have a lot of fun with a phrase like 'greasing the skids'. In my story, Doug tries to figure out what the phrase means. He knows grease is the slimy stuff you get from cooking bacon and a skid is what a car does when the brakes are applied. But he doesn't understand why you would spread grease on the road so the car will slide better, when the purpose of applying the brakes is to stop the car.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

If looking for cliches to reconsider, you might try using both autocrit and prowritingaid, because their cliche lists are VERY different. No reason to even consider paying for prowritingaid for that, as their 3,000 word limit for free analysis is nowhere near as tedious to cope with as the 400 for autocrit.

I've yet to find any cliche I'd suggest an author changes. With dialogue CW and SB are correct, it's the characters using cliches, not the writer.

Yeah, I've basically done the same, essentially completely ignoring the highlighted reports as worthless, but after a while, you start to say "What am I missing here?" But you're right. Autocrit and the other 'editing software' is more designed for editing business and technical reports than it is fiction. It's virtually a mortal sin in these programs to use any past tense terms or verb forms, which is often hard in a variety of fictional.

But as long as I'm not missing anything obvious, I'll return to ignoring those reports.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@REP


In my stories, I normally have my central character as the narrator. As I develop the character, I use clichés in the narrative, if they are appropriate to the personality of the central character.


Although that's technically narrative, it's really dialogue. It's the first-person narrator talking (dialogue) to the reader. Look at Huck Finn.

Replies:   samuelmichaels  REP
Wheezer

Cliches don't bother me. I just wish more authors knew the difference between floor & ground. :P

sejintenej
Updated:

@Wheezer

I just wish more authors knew the difference between floor & ground.


You mean the difference between being floored by a bully and grounded by dad for being floored?

Alternatively are you one of those who never enters a building on the ground floor but prefers to go into the first floor?

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

I just wish more authors knew the difference between floor & ground. :P


In which context.

In many old style packed earth huts the floor is the ground. However, in different English speaking countries there is a difference in how the words a re used, because the building level on ground level is called the ground floor in some place and the first floor or first floor in others. In some countries the floor for the ground level is always called ground, even when it's made out of cement or wood. Idiomatic usage can be an issue as bad as going to a MickyDs or a dance at the IHOP.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

a dance at the IHOP

Who the hell dances at the International House of Pancakes (except the many drunks who congregate there to sober up after all the bars close)?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

In many old style packed earth huts the floor is the ground.


But it's called a floor, as in, dirt floor. And the ocean floor is also dirt.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

And the ocean floor is also dirt.

More often it's either sand or rock. Dirt often comes from the decay of organic matter, which behaves slightly differently in sea water (i.e. it floats away and gets filtered through a variety of sources), whereas on the surface dust accumulates over the millennia producing miles of nothing but raw 'dirt', which is how ancient cities get buried.

The same happens in the ocean, but it's a slightly different process, with the accumulation of dead cells, scales, crush coral or calcium (i.e. "sand").

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Wheezer

Yes, there are floors, ground floors, forest floors and dirt floors. (and probably more) That does not change the fact that I've read repeated instances where an author describes an action where the word floor is used when the author should have used ground - as in outside under the sky and not in a forest. BTW: A forest floor is almost always described as that - the forest floor, and never as just a floor. (I say almost as I'm sure someone can come up with a contrary example to prove not always.) Ditto for a hut or cabin with a dirt floor. For some reason, I've never seen the reverse used where the floor of a building or house is described as ground - ground floor notwithstanding.

Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

For some reason, I've never seen the reverse used where the floor of a building or house is described as ground - ground floor notwithstanding.

What is they ground the tile floors in an industrial shredder? Would that count as "ground dirt floors"?

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

More often it's either sand or rock.


I meant it's a floor rather than ground even though it's not tile or carpet or wood, etc.

Switch Blayde

In Spanish, suelo means both ground and floor

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

and in French the ground floor is called street level (rez de chaussée) which I think may be used in some English speaking places - ? New York?

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Who the hell dances at the International House of Pancakes (except the many drunks who congregate there to sober up after all the bars close)?


When I first saw it in a story my first thought was it was the name of a dance club using electronic stored music only getting on the back or Apple 'i' name, because that's what it looks like - until someone tells you the full name. Sadly, few US writers bother with the full details, just the short forms they use as their slang.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

I've never seen the reverse used where the floor of a building or house is described as ground


Here, in Australia, buildings have their entry on the Ground Floor, because it's at Ground Level, you walk in, go up the stairs and arrive at the First Floor, because it's the first floor above ground level, or you can go down the stairs to the basement. Unless, that is, the building is on the side of a slope and has another external exit at ground level which is then known as the Lower Ground Floor or Lower Ground Level. In conversation you tend to drop the word level or floor, thus the entry is on Ground with fashions on First, etc.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

French the ground floor is called street level


In Australia that term is often where a building (often a business building) opens up directly onto the sidewalk, i.e. the street. If the building is set well back from the street, then it's simply the ground floor.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

because the building level on ground level is called the ground floor in some place and the first floor or first floor in others.


I go to a medical building that is built on a hillside. On one side the Lobby level is at ground level. Go up one floor to the 1st floor and exit the building on the far side, and you are exiting the building at ground level. Which floor is the ground floor? :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

and in French the ground floor is called street level (rez de chaussée) which I think may be used in some English speaking places - ? New York?


I've seen street level used in Chicago.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

Ok, answer me this: You are walking barefoot outside in your yard, feeling the grass between your toes, when you trip and hit the floor face first. In what version of reality does that come out correct? no trying to fudge things by saying maybe you landed on the floor of the porch. When the hell is an outdoor patch of grass in a yard ever described as a floor? Another example I read had a person falling off a bike on a paved road and hitting the floor. Similar example on a sidewalk described as a floor. If you are one of those writers who cannot tell the ground from the floor or the floor from the street, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to pick on you.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I've seen street level used in Chicago.

Except in Chicago, "street level" used to be the 2nd floor, and the basement used to be the first floor in many cases (after the city raised the street level to build the underground roads running through the loop (downtown).

@Wheezer

When the hell is an outdoor patch of grass in a yard ever described as a floor? Another example I read had a person falling off a bike on a paved road and hitting the floor. Similar example on a sidewalk described as a floor. If you are one of those writers who cannot tell the ground from the floor or the floor from the street, I'm sorry.

I agree. That's just lazy writing, not bothering to look up a thesaurus when you can't remember what the "ground" is called! However, I can see them referring to the "floor of the tent" when it's nothing more than a thin layer of material. It's not a clear cut as we're arguing, but that doesn't excuse using the improper words.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Not_a_ID
samuelmichaels

@Switch Blayde

Although that's technically narrative, it's really dialogue. It's the first-person narrator talking (dialogue) to the reader. Look at Huck Finn.

Perhaps monologue, but not dialogue -- unless the reader answers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@REP

I go to a medical building that is built on a hillside. On one side the Lobby level is at ground level. Go up one floor to the 1st floor and exit the building on the far side, and you are exiting the building at ground level. Which floor is the ground floor? :)


I've been in many buildings built on slopes like this. They either name one Lower Ground with the other as Ground, or they name them Ground and Upper Ground, and I've seen one labelled Upper Ground and Lower Ground. In the few residential buildings I've seen like this the one on the street address side is labelled Front Door and the other, be it upper or lower is called the Back door.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

Here, in Australia, buildings have their entry on the Ground Floor, because it's at Ground Level, you walk in, go up the stairs and arrive at the First Floor, because it's the first floor above ground level, or you can go down the stairs to the basement. Unless, that is, the building is on the side of a slope and has another external exit at ground level which is then known as the Lower Ground Floor or Lower Ground Level. In conversation you tend to drop the word level or floor, thus the entry is on Ground with fashions on First, etc.

Same in UK but Brits would not use "level". I've heard the odd US company offices in the UK use "level" but it is rare.

Replies:   Lugh
Lugh

@sejintenej

While I've seen it only in Paris, I rather liked an elevator that showed the underground parking level with negative numbers.

Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

Perhaps monologue, but not dialogue -- unless the reader answers.

It's still treated as dialogue, since it's considered someone speaking in colloquial terms rather than impartial and more formal language.

@REP

I go to a medical building that is built on a hillside. On one side the Lobby level is at ground level. Go up one floor to the 1st floor and exit the building on the far side, and you are exiting the building at ground level. Which floor is the ground floor? :)

That's why America went with "First floor", for the very first floor (Floor 0 would technically be a basement, typically numbered in letters in an elevator). That avoids the obvious dilemma when the "ground floor" isn't necessary at ground level.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Switch Blayde
Updated:

I grew up in NYC and we used "street level."

Don't forget that in many hotels the ground floor is called Lobby with an "L" button in the elevator. In those cases there are no rooms on the lobby floor so the 1st floor is one up from the lobby (hence rooms 101, 102 etc).

I went to a programming school in the Empire State Building which was several levels below ground. For the life of me I don't remember if they were negative numbers in the elevator.

Replies:   sejintenej  REP
Not_a_ID

@Wheezer

Ok, answer me this: You are walking barefoot outside in your yard, feeling the grass between your toes, when you trip and hit the floor face first. In what version of reality does that come out correct? no trying to fudge things by saying maybe you landed on the floor of the porch. When the hell is an outdoor patch of grass in a yard ever described as a floor? Another example I read had a person falling off a bike on a paved road and hitting the floor. Similar example on a sidewalk described as a floor. If you are one of those writers who cannot tell the ground from the floor or the floor from the street, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to pick on you.


One of the (fan-fic) mega-stories I'm currently chewing through on my kindle via send-to-kindle has an author who is repeatedly guilty of that. It breaks immersion every time it happens, I laugh at the author for a bit, and continue listening to the kindle continue on its merry way.

But yeah, it gets confusing when a character walks outside of the house they were in, gets attacked, and finds themselves on the floor. "Wait, when did he go back inside?"

Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

That's why America went with "First floor", for the very first floor (Floor 0 would technically be a basement, typically numbered in letters in an elevator). That avoids the obvious dilemma when the "ground floor" isn't necessary at ground level.


You're forgetting "Lobby" "mezzanine" and a few other "special" floor/level designators that have been used in tall buildings. It isn't even uniform within many cities, as they rarely specify that in local building codes. Which means the labeling of floors/levels within a building is largely up to the architect/owner of the building.

So when you start throwing in multi-national companies and international architects working on projects, it can get confusing quick.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Except in Chicago, "street level" used to be the 2nd floor, and the basement used to be the first floor in many cases (after the city raised the street level to build the underground roads running through the loop (downtown)


Parts of Seattle near its waterfront have comparable things going on, what once was the ground level is now a basement level in many buildings.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@Not_a_ID

Sometimes it is the elevator manufacturer/installer who decides. A grocery store I sometimes visit has an elevator with P1 (parking), C1 (grocery store), C2 (other shops, and L (lobby, also with shops). When I chose C1 I am reminded of the poem (bit of doggerel) "I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to C1, but I can tell you this right now, I'd rather C1 than P1."

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I agree. That's just lazy writing, not bothering to look up a thesaurus when you can't remember what the "ground" is called! However, I can see them referring to the "floor of the tent" when it's nothing more than a thin layer of material. It's not a clear cut as we're arguing, but that doesn't excuse using the improper words.


Some of this is preference, and I'm sure there is some regionalism in play too.

I'd tend to consider "ground" to be any natural or "base level material" (for lack of a better term for things like pavement and sidewalks) that is not part of an artificial structure. (At least, to the lay person's knowledge; Japan has a flood control system where they basically have a giant cistern system sitting directly underneath a bunch of soccer fields which makes those fields a grey area. So the above mentioned soccer fields could be called "ground" while someone with a lawn on the roof of a 10 story building could justify calling the lawn a "floor." Likewise, someone on the Holodeck of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701D or later could call it a "floor" or "deck" to be more technically(nautically) correct) I'd also be inclined to allow someone to call a hardpack(dirt) floor in a structure "ground" as it quite literally still is. A concrete slab gets to be more complicated, and is somewhat grey.

Floor is an easier one to parse, as I'd tend to consider that to be an artificial surface used to approximate ground, normally indoors, but can also be encountered in an exterior environment as part of elevated structure. Although for most exterior structures "deck" would be a more correct term depending on a small number of factors. (mostly about what is underneath it)

Of course, that can lead to things like patio/porch/deck and what their respective differences are.

sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

Don't forget that in many hotels the ground floor is called Lobby with an "L" button in the elevator. In those cases there are no rooms on the lobby floor so the 1st floor is one up from the lobby (hence rooms 101, 102 etc).

There's a UK hotel I have stayed at a few times where, at the front, there are about 5 steps up to the reception area but at the back the reception area is at carpark level. Rooms at the same floor as reception are numbered 101, 102 etc.
Whet that means I don't know (and don't really care)

Switch Blayde

In Venice, is "street level" "water level"?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

I have seen ...... 1st floor, ground floor, basement 1, basement 2, basement 2 descending in that order

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

I'd tend to consider "ground" to be any natural or "base level material" (for lack of a better term for things like pavement and sidewalks) that is not part of an artificial structure.


Sidewalks, roads and parking lots, may be flat and flush with the natural ground level, but they are still artificial structures.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

In Venice, is "street level" "water level"?


which century?

There are houses in venice that have a number of levels now underwater that used to above water, but the buildings have sunk of the years, so they just build another level on top of the current one, and move the entrance up a level.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Of course, that can lead to things like patio/porch/deck and what their respective differences are.

Of course, it gets even more complicated when you consider one national (U.S.) TV commercial which features a group living on a whale. Is that considered "ground", "floor", "blubber" or "flesh"?

REP

@Switch Blayde

I went to a programming school in the Empire State Building which was several levels below ground. For the life of me I don't remember if they were negative numbers in the elevator.


One common practice here in the US is to label the lower levels(LL)as LL1, LL2,LL3, etc.

REP

@Switch Blayde

Although that's technically narrative, it's really dialogue.


Sounds good to me, and I agree. My only problem with that is if I have the character, as the narrator, explaining things to the reader, should I as the writer differentiate between this type of dialog and other forms of narrative? Personally, I just treat the narrator's 'dialog' as narrative.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Sounds good to me, and I agree. My only problem with that is if I have the character, as the narrator, explaining things to the reader, should I as the writer differentiate between this type of dialog and other forms of narrative? Personally, I just treat the narrator's 'dialog' as narrative.

Again, you should treat the narration in those cases more like regular dialogue, regardless of the single speaker. You want it to sound like a specific person: less formal, more unique, more eccentric and casual, so the readers get a feel for who it is, as well as being forewarned he's more likely to have a limited perspective on events.

You can have fun with those narrators, but they generally take more time as you have to consider what to reveal when.

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@REP


if I have the character, as the narrator, explaining things to the reader, should I as the writer differentiate between this type of dialog and other forms of narrative?


There wouldn't be any other forms of narrative. We're talking about a 1st-person POV where the POV character is telling a story. His telling the story is the narrative. Now how close it is to the actual dialogue from that person is something to consider.

How about a 1st-person past tense story told by an adult about her experience as a 5-yo (To Kill a Mockingbird is like that). The narrative would still be like her telling the story (more like dialogue than formal narrative), but when she tells what she said when she was 5 it would sound different.

My current novel is 1st-person, but the dialogue for that character is less formal than the narrative (which is him telling the story). I use "gonna" in his dialogue but not his narrative. I simply didn't want it told that informally, like Huck Finn is.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

There wouldn't be any other forms of narrative. We're talking about a 1st-person POV where the POV character is telling a story. His telling the story is the narrative. Now how close it is to the actual dialogue from that person is something to consider.

You need to define exactly who the narrator is as they're relating the story, the 5-year-old, or the older woman remembering her experiences as a naive young child, and pull what you need of that character out in their voice. If the readers don't know their age, or even who they are, you've got to be more circumspect in what you reveal--which is why you'd want to relate the information over time, so readers can slowly figure out exactly who it might be. (Not your specific problem, though.) Thus the narrator character is often a mix between the two.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

You need to define exactly who the narrator is as they're relating the story, the 5-year-old, or the older woman remembering her experiences as a naive young child


I believe it's just natural. Let's look at the beginning of "To Kill a Mockingbird." You know right away the narrator is older than the characters in the story. How old? It doesn't matter. Only that she's remembering her childhood.

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

I'd tend to consider "ground" to be any natural or "base level material" (for lack of a better term for things like pavement and sidewalks) that is not part of an artificial structure.



Sidewalks, roads and parking lots, may be flat and flush with the natural ground level, but they are still artificial structures.


That was why I referenced "base level material" (which I then only vaguely defined) as I know flagstone walkways, gravel paths, concrete sidewalks, and public roadways are all artificial in nature. So it was my provision for artificial constructs to qualify as "ground."

Big difference is nearly all floors are either indoors, or suspended "above ground level," if not both. Even if "above ground level" is 2,000 feet below the surrounding terrain.

I guess we could actually reference a dictionary but I think it's going to end up being somewhat self-referential.

Floors are floors, unless they're decks. A floor can be on the ground, and the ground can be a floor, but the ground is usually just ground. English can be confusing sometimes.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Floors are floors, unless they're decks. A floor can be on the ground, and the ground can be a floor, but the ground is usually just ground. English can be confusing sometimes.


We drive on parkways and park on driveways. We send cargo by ship and ship packages by car.

What do you mean by sometimes. :)

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

What do you mean by sometimes. :)

Sometimes they're on spaceships, in which case they're called ... sorry, I can't print it because my computer doesn't have the appropriate font. :(

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

We drive on parkways and park on driveways. We send cargo by ship and ship packages by car.


Some of those oddities are due to marketing, but most are due to the way people change the usage over time.

Driveways, originally they were the way you drove a cart (later a car) from the property line at the street to the place to drop people or or to park you cart / wagon / car. As life changed and the properties got smaller, lazy people started parking their cars in their driveway instead of in the garage.

parkways started out as that, special highways and roadways combined with large areas of cared for green parkland instead of just a normal road with buildings beside it.

Originally cargo went by wagon and horse, then later by ship and car.

Back to floors, I was once in a large house built on the side of hill, and it had four levels with exits out onto the grounds around it, on one each side. The main entrance was on the front street and was the public entertainment area, the bottom level had a yard that backed onto a smaller street lower down with a vehicular entrance and was the garage and workshop level. The other two levels opened onto landscaped yards on each side of the house, one off the kitchen and family room, and one off the level with the bedrooms. Each entrance was labelled by the general direction it faced, north, south, east, west, but the levels were named for their main use - Entrance, Kitchen, Living, and Garage. No one in the large family there seemed to have any issues knowing where the what was going on.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

you have to consider what to reveal when.


True. I can also have the character talking to himself about different options or scenarios to build readers' suspense, especially if the action to be taken will not happen in that chapter.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

lazy people started parking their cars in their driveway instead of in the garage.


If they were like me, there was no room in their garage for a car. :)

REP

@Switch Blayde

We're talking about a 1st-person POV where the POV character is telling a story.


To digress slightly, if a 1st-person POV character is telling the story then they are looking back and narrating what happened up to the end of the story.

I just finished a story in which the POV character dies at the end of the story. The character's final moments and actions are described even though there is no one around to document what happened. How is it possible in a 1st-person POV story to get the characters last thoughts and actions in the story??

Dominions Son

@REP

How is it possible in a 1st-person POV story to get the characters last thoughts and actions in the story??


The main POV character is telling the story on his death bed. Switch to 3rd omnipotent for the final death scene.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

@REP

How is it possible in a 1st-person POV story to get the characters last thoughts and actions in the story??


@DS

The main POV character is telling the story on his death bed. Switch to 3rd omnipotent for the final death scene.

Personally, I'd recount the entire story in 1-st person POV, then switch to a 3rd omnipotent epilogue for the final conclusion. It makes for an easier break, and I prefer epilogues.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Personally, I'd recount the entire story in 1-st person POV, then switch to a 3rd omnipotent epilogue for the final conclusion. It makes for an easier break, and I prefer epilogues.


Personally, I would consider an epilogue part of "the entire story". and the choice to use an epilogue is just details on how to handle the transition from one POV to another.

Switch Blayde

@REP

if a 1st-person POV character is telling the story then they are looking back and narrating what happened up to the end of the story.


You can write a 1st-person story in present tense. But then, if the character is 5 years old, it better be written like a 5-yo would talk.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@REP

I just finished a story in which the POV character dies at the end of the story.


"Lovely Bones" is written in 1st-person by a narrator that is dead. It starts off by telling the reader her name and the day she was murdered.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

Switch to 3rd omnipotent for the final death scene.


True. No offense intended to the writer, but in this case, and others, the writers remain in the 1st-person POV. Although in this particular case, the writer did switch to 3rd omnipotent for the final scene.

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


"Lovely Bones"


Sounds like an interesting read, but it isn't on this website.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@REP


How is it possible in a 1st-person POV story to get the characters last thoughts and actions in the story??


Poor phrasing on my part. The point I was trying to make is that the writer reaches a point in their story were they must change the POV to get in the final scenes for the character will not be around to tell their experiences. However, many writers remain in the 1'st person POV as if the character survives their death and continues to tell the story.

What do you think? Is this a mistake on the part of the writer, or just something we should overlook as an expedient means of finalizing the story with a dramatic ending.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Sounds like an interesting read, but it isn't on this website.

Classic dead tree literature, from about a dozen years or so back. Lousy movie, so don't look there. A phenomenal success at the time, largely for the unexpected POV.

@REP

What do you think? Is this (switching from 1st POV to 3rd on the death of the narrator) a mistake on the part of the writer, or just something we should overlook as an expedient means of finalizing the story with a dramatic ending.

As always, it depends on the story/author. In "Lovely Bones", it works because it was the entire premise of the book, the dead character making comments on the progress of the investigation as it unfolds, and then eventually coming to live, briefly, via another character towards the end of the story. But she invested the time to make that perspective work, whereas many author simply won't do that, and then find themselves unable to switch perspectives at the last minute.

In my case, I prefer switching to 3rd person in an epilogue, as I consider it an addendum, post script to the story told by someone else, after they've died. A sort of news story, "by the way, this is how this story from years ago played out since we reported it". In that way, the final chapter not only has a different perspective, but it's got a distinct not of finality to it. A 'he's never coming back in a sequel' moment (though in my current book, I'm still getting readers asking when the dead character will reappear in a new story, though that's largely because I left an opening when I described what others were planning to do after he passed away).

Dominions Son

@REP

Although in this particular case, the writer did switch to 3rd omnipotent for the final scene.


Why do you see that as problematic?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Why do you see that as problematic?

He wasn't saying it was problematic, he was clarifying my suggestion that the author should switch to 3rd person POV when the narrator of the story dies.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

You can write a 1st-person story in present tense


Examples of this on SoL are many:

Shiloh
http://storiesonline.net/s/46696/shiloh

Finding Home
http://storiesonline.net/s/66183/finding-home

Chaos Calls -
http://storiesonline.net/s/66230/chaos-calls-01-the-learning-visit

all of which I'm in the process of revising

Replies:   REP
sejintenej
Updated:

@Dominions Son


We drive on parkways and park on driveways. We send cargo by ship and ship packages by car.


and you have to pay to drive on a freeway.

As for your examples we often ship goods which means they go an a floating vessel unless we specify (or the context indicates) otherwise, normally by air. I have seldom heard of shipping goods by car (or truck, lorry, pantechnicon etc. - we would send them by car,... That said the foreign Carters Patterson that we now see on the roads do refer to shipping (which implies trans-shipment including vessel)

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

and you have to pay to drive on a freeway


actually, we call them tollways. Freeways were originally, and mostly still are, free of traffic controls to stop the flow of traffic - thus they compacted the term free flowing through way to freeway. Ain't it grand how da English changes over da years, yah.

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I have seldom heard of shipping goods by car (or truck, lorry, pantechnicon etc. - we would send them by car,..


Shipping is standard terminology used by UPS and FedEx even for packages sent by ground transport.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Shipping is standard terminology used by UPS and FedEx even for packages sent by ground transport.


Heck, many companies use them term, even when they're walking them down the street.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Heck, many companies use them term, even when they're walking them down the street.

Hell, we all "ship" our kids to school, whether it's down the street or across the country.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

we all "ship" our kids to school


I used to walk mine, so speak for yourself. Also, wasn't it expensive having to wrap them up and put the postage on each day.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I used to walk mine, so speak for yourself.


I walked to school on my own and/or rode the city bus on my own from around 4th grade.

Not_a_ID

@sejintenej

and you have to pay to drive on a freeway.


As already mentioned, if it's tolled, it is a Tollway, not a Freeway. However, tollways and freeways alike can be "'Interstate' Highways" which are commonly used as synonyms for both Tollway and Freeway depending on where you are, which can add to the confusion. (That and not all Tollways are Interstate Highways)

REP

@Dominions Son

Why do you see that as problematic?


Switching was not problematic. The timing was the problem. The writer should have switched the POV earlier. Just prior to the characters death, he is all alone. What he sees and experiences, makes it into the story using 1-st person, and then he dies. A day later the POV changes with people finding the remains.

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@Ernest Bywater

You can write a 1st-person story in present tense


I agree. I've read many stories presented in the present tense and that is what I normally do in my stories.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

free of traffic controls to stop the flow of traffic


I was under the impression that freeways got the name because there was no toll. In the past, people using the well maintained roads were charged a toll for their use of the road. In some areas, we still have toll roads in the US and there are tolls for using some bridges, such as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges in San Francisco.

Dominions Son

@REP

What he sees and experiences, makes it into the story using 1-st person, and then he dies.


He could have been telling his story the whole time to an electronic recording device. Of course, the device should have been found with the body.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@REP


I was under the impression that freeways got the name because there was no toll.


My understanding, from the historical research I've done on the USA, the toll roads in the US were, until mid 20th century, privately made, maintained, and owned roads.

Anyway, on parkways and freeways

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkway

A parkway is a broad, landscaped highway thoroughfare. The term is particularly used for a roadway in a park or connecting to a park from which trucks and other heavy vehicles are excluded. Many parkways originally intended for scenic, recreational driving have evolved into major urban and commuter routes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled-access_highway

A controlled-access highway is a type of highway which has been designed for high-speed vehicular traffic, with all traffic flow and ingress/egress regulated. Common English terms are freeway (in Australia & parts of the US), motorway (in the UK and Ireland) and expressway (in Canada, parts of the US, and many Asian countries).

A controlled-access highway provides an unhindered flow of traffic, with no traffic signals, intersections or property access. They are free of any at-grade crossings with other roads, railways, or pedestrian paths, which are instead carried by overpasses and underpasses across the highway. Entrances and exits to the highway are provided at interchanges by slip roads (ramps), which allow for speed changes between the highway and arterial roads and collector roads. On the controlled-access highway, opposing directions of travel are generally separated by a median strip or central reservation containing a traffic barrier or grass. Elimination of the sources of potential conflicts with other directions of travelers dramatically improves safety,[1] and capacity.

In the United States, a freeway is defined by the federal government's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as a divided highway with full control of access.[61] This means two things. First, adjoining property owners do not have a legal right of access,[62] meaning that they cannot connect their lands to the highway by constructing driveways, although frontage roads provide access to properties adjacent to a freeway in many places. When an existing road is converted into a freeway, all existing driveways must be removed and access to adjacent private lands must be blocked with fences or walls.

Second, traffic on a freeway is "free-flowing". All cross-traffic (and left-turning traffic) is relegated to overpasses or underpasses, so that there are no traffic conflicts on the main line of the highway which must be regulated by traffic lights, stop signs, or other traffic control devices. Achieving such free flow requires the construction of many overpasses, underpasses, and ramp systems. The advantage of grade-separated interchanges is that freeway drivers can almost always maintain their speed at junctions since they do not need to yield to vehicles crossing perpendicular to mainline traffic.

edit to add:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll_road

A toll road, also known as a turnpike or tollway, is a public or private roadway for which a fee (or toll) is assessed for passage. It is a form of road pricing typically implemented to help recoup the cost of road construction and maintenance, which (on public roads) amounts to a form of taxation.

Replies:   REP
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@REP


I was under the impression that freeways got the name because there was no toll. In the past, people using the well maintained roads were charged a toll for their use of the road. In some areas, we still have toll roads in the US and there are tolls for using some bridges, such as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges in San Francisco.


It's both. They're freeways because of their being free to use. But primarily they're "freeways" because they allow for the "free flow" of traffic to the degree that you should be able to move from point A to point B along the system with needing to ever stop your vehicle.

It should be pointed out that prior to electronic/automated tolling, it would be impossible to do this along tollways as there would be tolling stations periodically along the route for the purpose of collecting tolls. Which would naturally require people to stop long enough to pay the toll. Although as noted by EB, they're not stopping for cross traffic so some people will still call tollways(or turnpikes) "free(flowing traffic)ways."

Replies:   REP
sejintenej

@REP

I was under the impression that freeways got the name because there was no toll. In the past, people using the well maintained roads were charged a toll for their use of the road. In some areas, we still have toll roads in the US and there are tolls for using some bridges, such as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges in San Francisco.

I can think of only four, possibly five places in the UK where you are charged for using a road. The Dartford River Crossing in East London, The Forth Road Bridge, the Humber Road bridge and a short private road parallel to the M1 north of Birmingham. There is a relatively new bridge to Skye which is probably charged for

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

The last time I went over the Severn Bridge, you had to pay to enter Wales but it was free to leave.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

The last time I went over the Severn Bridge, you had to pay to enter Wales but it was free to leave.


NYC bridges and tunnels are like that. You pay one way (which is the cost of both ways). It speeds things up.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

to pay to enter Wales but it was free to leave.

I think their marketing people might have got that wrong. Surely people would be willing to pay more to get out of Wales.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

Surely people would be willing to pay more to get out of Wales.


The tourists drive in and leave by ferry or plane, so they charge on the direction with the highest traffic flow.

sejintenej

@Ross at Play

I think their marketing people might have got that wrong. Surely people would be willing to pay more to get out of Wales.

I had occasion to ask a Welsh speaking (but English educated) and resident woman why one roadside welcome sign referred to Cymru and another to Cymri. Her answer implied that Welsh speakers do get things mixed up.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

In the United States, a freeway is defined by the federal government's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as a divided highway with full control of access.[


All of that is undoubtedly true. However, we also have Toll highways that are identical to freeways, except you have to pay a toll to use the highway.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@REP


However, we also have Toll highways that are identical to freeways, except you have to pay a toll to use the highway.


And we usually call those tollways, not freeways. But tollways are a sub-type of freeway, not a distinct thing.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Not_a_ID

But primarily they're "freeways" because they allow for the "free flow" of traffic to the degree that you should be able to move from point A to point B along the system with needing to ever stop your vehicle.


Here in southern California traffic on the highways is at a dead stop or slow creep during commute hours. By your description, we should call them parkways or creepways. :)

Dominions Son

@REP

Here in southern California traffic on the highways is at a dead stop or slow creep during commute hours. By your description, we should call them parkways or creepways. :)


No, no that would make them driveways. :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
docholladay

@REP

Here in southern California traffic on the highways is at a dead stop or slow creep during commute hours. By your description, we should call them parkways or creepways. :)


Been there, seen it.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

No, no that would make them driveways.


I thought it made them parking lots!

Replies:   REP
Not_a_ID

@REP

Here in southern California traffic on the highways is at a dead stop or slow creep during commute hours. By your description, we should call them parkways or creepways. :)


As already alluded to, those are glorified parking lots. Otherwise, there is a bit of difference between theory and reality.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

As already alluded to, those are glorified parking lots. Otherwise, there is a bit of difference between theory and reality.

I suggest we replace the phrase "highway" (short for "highway robbery) with "texting lanes". 'D I've been on many commutes where I could finish the entire NY York Times while waiting for traffic to move!

sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

As already alluded to, those are glorified parking lots. Otherwise, there is a bit of difference between theory and reality.

We have the M25 motorway around London aka the biggest carpark

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

tollways are a sub-type of freeway


I'm not sure what you mean by a sub-type of freeway. About 30 years ago, I was on the East Coast for business trips. The tollways I drove on in Pennsylvania, or perhaps it was New Jersey, looked the same to me as the freeways I drove on here in California. Granted every fifteen miles or so you had to toss some money in a basket.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Ernest Bywater

I thought it made them parking lots!


It is sometimes hard to tell the difference.

REP
Updated:

@sejintenej


the biggest carpark


You have obviously not tried to drive through downtown LA during peak commute traffic. More than 1 mile per hour will get you a speeding ticket. :)

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I'm not sure what you mean by a sub-type of freeway.

That's easy. I was living in Chicago when the elevated expressway (freeway?) collapsed, dumping moving vehicles into the active roadway, moving in the other direction) under them.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

when the elevated expressway (freeway?) collapsed


Sounds as if you mean substandard rather than sub-type.

To me, a subtype would be a group of freeways that share a characteristic that is not common to all freeways. I can't think of any such category.

Highway 1 (freeway?) from Florida through Key Largo to Key West is one elevated highway. There are also other elevated stretches of road, typically a much shorter segment, that are built to avoid terrain or other obstacles. However, I never considered them to be a sub-type.

Dominions Son

@REP

To me, a subtype would be a group of freeways that share a characteristic that is not common to all freeways. I can't think of any such category.


Tollways. There are sections of interstate highway that meet the US DOT definition of "freeway" but have the additional characteristic not shared by all "freeways" of having toll booths at which you must pay for using the tollway.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

Tollways.


I agree. At the time I posted, I was thinking of the roadways physical characteristics, such as: width, separation of traffic going in opposing directions, elevated verses ground level versus long tunnels through mountains or under the ocean, type of material used to create the surface, etc.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

However, I never considered them to be a sub-type.

If they're build over physical obstructions, wouldn't they be super, or superior, types?

In my example (of the roadway in downtown Chicago collapsing, the subtype of highway would be "those build over sinkholes!" 'D

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Would you include the Golden Gate Bridge and the Royal Gorge Bridge in the same sub-type as the bridge in your example? They are/were built for high speed traffic over a feature that will not support a surface level roadway.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Would you include the Golden Gate Bridge and the Royal Gorge Bridge in the same sub-type as the bridge in your example?

It was a pun for wordsmiths, delving into the roots of the words. I figured I had the right audience for that type of joke.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

You have the right audience. When I get into a discussion on differing views, I tend to take things seriously. It is easy for me to miss the shift to a humorous remark.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@REP


that type of joke


You DID use D where others use :)

I sometimes miss, or only just notice those. Apparently, I'm not the only one.
There's a whole bunch of us here who sometimes attempt to interpret humour literally, and there are differences in styles of humour between countries too.

Yesterday, you missed something I thought was so ridiculous, nobody could possibly take it seriously.

I'm going to increase my use of :) after that.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

You DID use D where others use :)


There is a :D as a standard big grin/laughing emoticon. I almost missed it myself because he used ' instead of ; for a winky emoticon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emoticons

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

Interesting. I had noted CW placing 'D at the end of a few posts. I thought it was a couple of stray characters he hadn't deleted. I was not aware of the wide variety of emoticons used to convey different meanings. Now that I know, I can interpret it accordingly.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Interesting. I had noted CW placing 'D at the end of a few posts. I thought it was a couple of stray characters he hadn't deleted. I was not aware of the wide variety of emoticons used to convey different meanings. Now that I know, I can interpret it accordingly

I use my own emoticon (minus the nose) because every time I use a standard one, my iPad substitutes an iOS emoticon, which not everyone can see. My bad, I'd assumed people could figure out what it represented (I suspect I've got to send a bunch of apologies to my editors for confusing them all).

Replies:   REP  Ross at Play  Ross at Play
REP

@Crumbly Writer

When you said you were being funny, it dawned on me that your stray characters might be a symbol meaning you weren't being serious.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

my iPad substitutes an iOS emoticon

Try a space between the colon and the bracket, that might confuse your software enough.
Alternatively, we are more likely to notice :>

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

my iPad substitutes an iOS emoticon

Try a space between the colon and the bracket, that might confuse your software enough.
Alternatively, we are more likely to notice :>

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