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Killing your 'Darlings'

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

In another thread the subject of killing off your Darlings in your writing came up, and was discussed a bit. In a third thread I mentioned how I often make a smoother flowing sentence during the revisions. Well, I started to revise a story I had touchedn't in decade, and then put it aside as too hard to do right now, so I moved onto revising one I've not touched for four years. While working on it I realised the main reason the new version flowed smoothly was because I was killing my darlings. The main darlings being the words and, that, nod, as which I was killing by either replacing them or, in the case of nod, often expanding on the action mentioned.

The last time I mentioned this I didn't have a good example on hand, but I just had a stand out example of replacing and in a sentence. Below are the original then the new sentences as examples.

Standing up I step around her while I reach out and gently run my hands over her body. When behind her I stop and undo the clip on the bikini top before slipping my hands inside the ultra-thin straps to run both hands around and fondle her breasts.

Standing up I step around her while I reach out to gently run my hands over her body. When behind her I stop to undo the clip on the bikini top before slipping my hands inside the ultra-thin straps to run both hands around to fondle her breasts.

Both of them are proper English, but I feel the second version reads easier and smoother. With the issues around the last time when I wrote an example off the top of my head, I felt I should provide a better on.

typo edits

sejintenej

I also prefer the second section which I think has better logic to it:

First line; I step around her while I reach out AND gently run my hands.... To me this suggests that he ran his hands because he found he had the opportunity. In the second option I reach out to run.... suggests that the stepping around ... was with the specific purpose of running his hands ...

In the second option four words from the end and and to suggest the same as in my submission above - intent rather than seizing an opportunity.

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

intent rather than seizing an opportunity.


also the pace is more even.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I also prefer the second section which I think has better logic to it:


I agree on the difference in meaning, but I don't agree that you can categorically say that one is more logical than the other without more context.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Both of them are proper English, but I feel the second version reads easier and smoother.


To me on the basis of easy of reading and smoothness, yes, there is a slight difference, but it's negligible.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Standing up I reach out and gently run my hands over her body. When behind her, I stop and undo the clip on the bikini top before slipping my hands inside the ultra-thin straps to run both hands around and fondle her breasts.


"Standing up" is redundant (how else are you going to stand? I'd change "while I" to "to" and I drop the "to gently"

Try:

Standing, I step around to reach out and gently cup my hands over her body. Once behind her, I stop to undo her bikini top clip before slipping my hands inside the ultra-thin (does anyone care how thin they are?) straps and run both hands around to fondle her breasts

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

To me on the basis of easy of reading and smoothness, yes, there is a slight difference, but it's negligible.


True it's small, but it is an improvement, and when you make one such improvement per 50 to 100 words over a story of over 270,000 words the small improvement in reading and style adds up to the reader liking the story a lot more, which is what I'm after.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

also the pace is more even.


I would say the pace is faster in the second, but not more even and the faster pace is not necessarily an improvement.

The larger context matters. Is this a couple with an established intimate relationship, or is it supposed to be a seduction.

If it's supposed to be a seduction, I would say both versions are too fast, but since the second is faster than the first, it's not an improvement.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

"Standing up" is redundant (how else are you going to stand?


You can stand at an angle or a crouch, and going from a squat you can surge up. Standing up means you go to a fully straight upright position, but says it in less words than saying - I stood fully upright.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I would say the pace is faster in the second, but not more even and the faster pace is not necessarily an improvement.

The larger context matters. Is this a couple with an established intimate relationship, or is it supposed to be a seduction.


In response to the first comment - I find the word and often imposes a small pause in the flow of the text, thus the second version removes that pause for a smoother flow. It's the sort of mild difference between the fractional halt in mid-stride in a funeral march and a normal slow march where the pace pace is a smooth movement all the way through.

In the wider context for the second comment - they've had a number of previous encounters and this is part of a minor orgy scene - the main intent of their sexual encounters is to get her pregnant because her husband can't - yes, he's at the orgy too.

BTW the story this is from is on SoL.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

You can stand at an angle or a crouch, and going from a squat you can surge up. Standing up means you go to a fully straight upright position, but says it in less words than saying - I stood fully upright.


I'm not sure that the difference between standing and standing up is that significant. However, as I've said before, the larger context makes a difference.

If it's an established relationship, I'd probably go with CW's version with just standing. On the other hand, if it's supposed to be a seduction, I prefer standing up, because it slows the pace a little.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

I agree on the difference in meaning


Compare:

I shoot and kill Donald Trump.

with

I shoot to kill Donald Trump.

In the first, Donald Trump dies. In the second, the reader doesn't know.

Replacing 'and' with 'to' changes the meaning and leaves the reader uncertain whether the event actually happens.

AJ

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I find the word and often imposes a small pause in the flow of the text, thus the second version removes that pause for a smoother flow. It's the sort of mild difference between the fractional halt in mid-stride in a funeral march and a normal slow march where the pace pace is a smooth movement all the way through.


Smoother isn't necessarily an absolute good. Depending on the larger context, smoother could be a detriment rather than an improvement.

Going back to my comment regarding an established relationship vs a seduction, a seduction shouldn't flow too smoothly.

But given the larger context you have provided, I withdraw the objection.

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking


Replacing 'and' with 'to' changes the meaning and leaves the reader uncertain whether the event actually happens.


That depends on what the event is supposed to be. Is the event firing the gun, or Donald Trump dying?

Which is better depends on the larger context and point of view.

You've put the statements in 1st person, so the shooter is the narrator. Perhaps the shooter was interrupted as he fired, and isn't immediately aware of the outcome of the shot.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I shoot to kill Donald Trump.


The next sentence will say it all, anyway.

I shoot to kill Donald Trump. However, I only succeed in blowing his balls off.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Both of them are proper English, but I feel the second version reads easier and smoother.

I agree the revised version is better, but I think it is because it is more precise.
I see examples of authors overusing to and -ing verbs too.
I don't think that the "solution" is looking for forms you use too often, then looking for examples to correct. I think the long-term solution is being careful about the specific meaning when the first choice is made.
I prefer the change you made in the above example, replacing and with to, because the actions described were never really one followed by another, but one made with the intention of doing the second. That's when to should be used (without claiming it's use should be limited to that).
Similarly, the -ing form of verbs should be preferred when the two actions are in reality done concurrently.

richardshagrin

The Secret Service is not going to be thrilled by these postings.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

The Secret Service is not going to be thrilled by these postings.


Good, as long as they don't put Chuck Johnson on the case.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

The Secret Service is not going to be thrilled by these postings.


Don't be silly, the Secret Service will love them. They wouldn't have a job otherwise.

Of course it won't look so good for me when I'm dragged out of a nice warm bed at zero dark thirty because a Secret Service drone doesn't have a sense of humour. And the one-sided extradition treaty negotiated by Tony 'Bush's Poodle' Blair means I'll be on my way to the US wearing an orange jump suit before dawn :(

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

You can stand at an angle or a crouch, and going from a squat you can surge up. Standing up means you go to a fully straight upright position, but says it in less words than saying - I stood fully upright.

I've never once said "I stood up in a squat." If I stand, I stand upright. If I squat, I'd say "I squatted."

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Compare:

I shoot and kill Donald Trump.

with

I shoot to kill Donald Trump.

In the first, Donald Trump dies. In the second, the reader doesn't know.

The first shows cause and effect, while the second only shows intent, though you're right. I wasn't sure whether the "and" was strictly necessary, figuring I'd offer it as an option. Like most edits, if it doesn't fit the context, he's free to reject it.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I've never once said "I stood up in a squat." If I stand, I stand upright. If I squat, I'd say "I squatted."


going upwards you can stand from sitting on the floor, but stop in squat position, or go higher to stop in a crouch position, or you can stand almost upright position with the knees bent, or you can stand fully upright with legs and back straight. There are many ways you can talk about moving from the lower position to a high one.

However, this is moving afield from what the topic is about.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


"Standing up" is redundant (how else are you going to stand?


Not according to thefreedictionary.com


Stand is sometimes used to say that someone raises their body to a standing position when they have been sitting.

Everyone stood and applauded.

However, you normally say that someone stands up.

The children are supposed to stand up when the teacher comes into the room.
I put down my glass and stood up.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@richardshagrin

The Secret Service is not going to be thrilled by these postings.


especially under the heading "Killing your darlings".

More seriously Lazeez is going to be gettting all 5(?) million members of the SS subscribing as premium members (your taxes paying the subs!)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

And that's a bad thing? ;)

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

going upwards you can stand from sitting on the floor, but stop in squat position, or go higher to stop in a crouch position, or you can stand almost upright position with the knees bent, or you can stand fully upright with legs and back straight. There are many ways you can talk about moving from the lower position to a high one.

Yes, all the different ways you can stand is fascinating (Yawn!), but why does a particular story need to dwell on: "I sat up, rocked to my knees, got one knee up, stood part way up before standing all the way"?

In most cases, you're better off just saying "he stood", rather than giving unnecessary distracting details--unless you're trying to convey something in particular (like an old war wound, or someone's questionable health).

When I say "it's more efficient", I means "it generally doesn't pay to toss out unnecessary text which doesn't advance the story a wit".

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Not according to thefreedictionary.com

The fact of the matter, however it's 'generally used', you can say the same thing, in a more straightforward manner, simply by saying "stood". If you want to say, "he faltered" or "he hesitated", fine. But again, "stood" is cleaner than tossing in an unnecessary "up". How often does anyone "stand down" (other than in the military, where it means something completely different).

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

When I say "it's more efficient", I means "it generally doesn't pay to toss out unnecessary text which doesn't advance the story a wit".

I think you made a typo there, and meant ...
"it generally does pay to toss out unnecessary text which doesn't advance the story a wit".

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

I think you made a typo there, and meant ...


That depends on what he meant by tossing it out.

He could have meant throwing it a way, but it could also mean tossing the text out onto the page. Like tossing dice.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

But again, "stood" is cleaner than tossing in an unnecessary "up".


I don't know who came up with this fad, but they obviously weren't experienced writers or they would have known that 'clean' has an established meaning.

And in any case they're wrong. 'Standing up' implies action, 'standing' implies continuity. So discarding the word 'up' changes the meaning and introduces unnecessary ambiguity, a common failing of 'minimalism' :(

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

And in any case they're wrong. 'Standing up' implies action, 'standing' implies continuity. So discarding the word 'up' changes the meaning and introduces unnecessary ambiguity, a common failing of 'minimalism' :(

Really? "I stood and embraced her" implies he continues doing what he's been doing all along, and leaves you guessing who's doing what? Sorry, but you're full of bullcrap, creating fictitious potential situations to defend your position, rather than dealing with specifics.

I can't remember reading many instances of "standing up" which wouldn't be equally as obviously without the "up".

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

"I stood and embraced her"


That can mean he stood stile to embrace her as much as anything else. If stood never needs anything else to clarify it;'s usage then the same can be said for stand as well as sit - sat and many other words and you need never need to include words like up, down, still etc to indicate the full position or possible actions.

You can stand up, stand still, stand ready - if stand says it all you never need the still / up / ready to indicate the full situation. The same would be true of sat - be it if you sat down or sat still the word sat is supposedly all you need, according to you. Nor would you need to mention the corner for the naughty person to stand in it.

richardshagrin

And then there is "stand by me" and other uses for "Stand By". As in "wait for it".

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@richardshagrin

And then there is "stand by me" and other uses for "Stand By". As in "wait for it".


And "Stand Aside" as in "Get the hell out of my way before I knock you on your rear." :p

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

CW to AJ: ... you're full of bullcrap

I don't see how either of you can be adamant that 'up' after the verb 'stand' is correct or incorrect.
My default position would be to leave it out - but I'd be willing to accept almost any reason that including it added to readers' understanding given the context in which it was being used.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I don't see how either of you can be adamant that 'up' after the verb 'stand' is correct or incorrect.
My default position would be to leave it out - but I'd be willing to accept almost any reason that including it added to readers' understanding given the context in which it was being used.

That was my position, that "stand" typically means "stand up", and should be used that way unless you're going for something else (another usage) in which case you'd elucidate the distinction (i.e. "stand aside").

By leaving it out when it's unnecessary, you're making it more obvious when you alter the standard usage. My fairly rude retort wasn't over AJ's usage, but over his insistence that readers couldn't tell the difference in usage.

richardshagrin

@Capt. Zapp

And "Stand Aside" as in "Get the hell out of my way before I knock you on your rear." :p

Then will I be lying down or laying down? If I tell an untruth when horizontal then will I be lying down? Now I lay me down to sleep... Or is that lie down? I don't think anyone lies up.

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

Then will I be lying down or laying down? If I tell an untruth when horizontal then will I be lying down? Now I lay me down to sleep... Or is that lie down? I don't think anyone lies up.

Not that I have heard but you can lay up (a rope)

Ernest Bywater

This thread did start about dealing with favorite phrases and how changing them can often make a story flow better. However, it seems to have seriously drifted off into th correct usage of the word stand and how it should be used. I know it can be used with many other words to change the meaning quite a bit, and by itself it can be sued in some case but won't always have the same meaning. Some of the uses I've seen are:

stand by
stand still
stand down
stand up
stand aside
stand mute
stand over
stand out
stand in
make a stand
take a stand

These are just the few I thought of off the top of my head, just using the word stand by itself won't have the same meaning in most cases, and will often be misleading. Thus, the use of the clarifying word is up to the author to choose to use or not use to ensure the reader has a full understanding of what they want them to picture happening in the scene.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

'Standing outside the bank, the James gang couldn't have been more conspicuous if they tried.' Standing means exactly that - any information as to previous states and actions has to come from context. It doesn't imply that the James gang arose from a sitting/lying position as 'standing up' would.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

any information as to previous states and actions has to come from context.


Exactly - in the original post I started a sentence - Standing up I step ... - and someone said the word up was superfluous and should be deleted, the thread then took on a life of it's own about how you do or don't use the word stand or stood and it's various derivatives.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I don't think anyone lies up.

Many politicians (I won't name names) lie their way to higher office, or down in infamy.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

I don't think anyone lies up.


Don't know about elsewhere, but I've heard people say they'll lay up something to me4an they're storing it for later, often in the context of collecting it for later.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
REP
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


any information as to previous states and actions has to come from context.


I agree with EB on this one AJ.

By saying "Stand up", EB is defining a motion with the intent being that the person rose to an upright position.

If he were to delete "up", then for clarity, he would have to define the person's prior position which would take an even larger number of words. If the person's specific prior position (e.g., sitting or lying down) is not important to the scene, then that would be a waste of words that would add nothing to the story.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

I don't think anyone lies up.


It's occasionally used as a synonymy of 'hole up'.

AJ

StarFleet Carl

@Ernest Bywater

lay up


If you're familiar with the religion of certain states in the U.S. - basketball - you'll also recognize that term.

Typically I've heard lay aside something, with the same context as you said, for doing it later. (I'll lay that aside for now, and get to it when I'm done with this more important task.)

Ernest Bywater

@StarFleet Carl

Typically I've heard lay aside something, with the same context as you said, for doing it later.


Where I've heard people say "I'll lay that aside." They mean for now in the short term and will deal with it later today or in the next few days, while when they say something like, "I'll lay up wheat." It means they're storing or stockpiling wheat for several months later, often next eyar or some indeterminate time well in the future. Kind of like 'laying up' supplies in the bunker or storm shelter.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

One of the online dictionaries claims the relationship between 'lie up' and 'lay up' is the same as between 'lie' and 'lay'. That sort of makes sense to me, although I'm having difficulty seeing 'lay up' as the past tense of 'lie up'.

AJ

Replies:   REP  Switch Blayde
REP

@awnlee jawking

I'm having difficulty seeing 'lay up' as the past tense of 'lie up'.


I usually view lay as signifying action, while lie indicates more of a static state. Although, both have similar meaning and in certain cases they can be used interchangeably. I doubt there is a definite difference between when it is proper to use one word over the other; probably more of a personal choice.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I'm having difficulty seeing 'lay up' as the past tense of 'lie up'.


It's not. It's more an idiom, like "My trip to Florida took forever because of a 4 hour lay up in Dallas." Or how about, "I got laid yesterday"? The present tense wouldn't be, "I am getting lie now." It would be, "I am getting laid now."

Switch Blayde

@REP

I usually view lay as signifying action, while lie indicates more of a static state. Although, both have similar meaning and in certain cases they can be used interchangeably. I doubt there is a definite difference between when it is proper to use one word over the other; probably more of a personal choice.


No. I spent forever trying to figure lay/lie out.

lie - to recline
lay - to put something down

The problem is caused by the past tense of "lie" being "lay."

"He laid down on the bed" means he took the down out of a down jacket and put it on the bed.

So they don't have similar meanings and cannot be used interchangeably.

However, "lay" is used wrong so many times it's becoming acceptable. People say all the time, "Go lay down" when they mean "Go lie down."

Replies:   Ross at Play  REP
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I spent forever trying to figure lay/lie out.

Thanks for your clear and simple explanation.
Without that, I expect it would've taken me longer than forever to figure that one out. :-)
* * *
To clarify the forms of the three verbs with some spelling in common ...
* lay (to place something) has laid as both the past tense and past participle
* lie (to recline) has a past tense of lay, and a past participle of lain
* lie (to tell an untruth) is a regular verb, both the past tense and past participle are lied

REP

@Switch Blayde

However, "lay" is used wrong so many times it's becoming acceptable.


I agree and feel the same way about insure and ensure.

Unfortunately, dictionaries evolve to document how words are used. The people who decide what goes into a dictionary don't care if the word is being used properly or improperly - if it is a common usage the meaning gets added. We turn to dictionaries to prove the proper meanings and use of words, and we lose for the erroneous usage has become an accepted meaning. :(

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

'I'm going to lie up and hope it all blows over.'
but
'I lay up and hoped it would all blow over.'
just sounds wrong. I might say the former but never the latter.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@REP

I agree and feel the same way about insure and ensure.
We turn to dictionaries to prove the proper meanings and use of words

That is an American only thing - according to my dictionaries, Oxford and dictionary.com.
If American authors do not want about 30% of their readers to think they have made a mistake, they will learn and use the traditional distinction between those two words.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Ross at Play

I don't view using the wrong word there as making a mistake as it is so prevalent. Because the meanings are completely different I tend to end up with a lower opinion of the author's literacy and it does impact my enjoyment of the story.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

'I'm going to lie up and hope it all blows over.'
but
'I lay up and hoped it would all blow over.'
just sounds wrong. I might say the former but never the latter.

They BOTH sound ghastly to me.
My dictionaries suggest lie up is an American usage, and most British speakers would prefer lie in instead, extending its usual meaning of staying in bed later than usual of a morning.
WATCH OUT, AJ. Slowly, but surely, they're infecting us all and turning us all into zombies!
* * *
Regarding why the second sounds wrong to you. I am confident that all tenses may be used with any base verb, but I'm not sure that automatically extends to phrasal verbs, especially not for recently evolved idiomatic uses. They have succeeded in corrupting the language to the extent that a present tense of 'lie up' now sounds acceptable to most, but not to the extent that a past tense of 'lay up' sounds acceptable. Just wait.
* * *
I am expecting some infuriated poster to to jump up any moment and pronounce that 'lay up' is an entirely acceptable form. I will just roll my eyes and think, "Whatever, I won't whinge about how you damn Septics speak, but you cannot seriously expect me to like it."

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

My dictionaries suggest lie up is an American usage, and most British speakers would prefer lie in instead, extending its usual meaning of staying in bed later than usual of a morning.


I'm used to it being a synonym of 'hole up', which is very different to 'lie in'. 'Lay up' should be the transitive form. I would use 'lay up' when talking about putting something in safe storage for future use, as per EB's example, which supports that theory. SB's four hour 'lay up' also sounds okay but is not being used as a verb.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

It's not. It's more an idiom, like "My trip to Florida took forever because of a 4 hour lay up in Dallas."


we call that a 'lay over' when you have to hang around to wait for your next flight

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I'm used to it being a synonym of 'hole up'

I'm sure I've heard that used, but it's not a meaning any dictionaries I use have caught up with yet.

The Oxford makes no mention of 'lie up' among a very large number of examples.
dictionary.com gives this definition:
21. lie up,
a. to lie at rest; stay in bed.
b. (of a ship) to dock or remain in dock.

It would be a particularly pig-headed writer, in my view, who did not prefer 'hole up', which is defined to mean 'hide' in both of those dictionaries

sejintenej

@StarFleet Carl

lay up

If you're familiar with the religion of certain states in the U.S. - basketball - you'll also recognize that term

and it is also the practice of twisting the strands in rope making

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I'm used to it being a synonym of 'hole up'


Whenever I've come across the term 'hole up' it's been used in the context of going to ground and hiding - eg: "We need to hole up, John. Lets find a hole and pull it in after ourselves."

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

At the request of another author I'm editing and reviewing a story for them. The story is damn good, except it really needs a good edit to clean up some syntax issues and make it more free flowing. The syntax issues are simple, so are the many cases where the words can be contracted to make a more flowing read. However, the biggest issue is they have six Darlings and in any ten paragraphs each one of those Darlings will appear at least once. It's a long story, and I'm half way through it, and mightily sick of the Darlings because they keep tripping up the story flow.

This task has made be a lot more aware of, and have a greater appreciation for, the advice of Kill off your Darlings.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

This task has made be a lot more aware of, and have a greater appreciation for, the advice of Kill off your Darlings.


The origin of the sentiment has been attributed to several authorities, but the earliest appears to be Arthur Quiller-Couch, who wrote:

'Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.'


http://www.bartleby.com/190/12.html

None of the authorities use your interpretation, although the definitions presented by one or two bloggers could be stretched that far.

It may be the meaning you were taught at school, but it's a bit confusing to those of us who use the standard interpretation.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
EzzyB
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Standing up I step around her while I reach out and gently run my hands over her body. When behind her I stop and undo the clip on the bikini top before slipping my hands inside the ultra-thin straps to run both hands around and fondle her breasts.


Standing up I step around her, reaching out and gently running my hands over her body. Behind her now, I stop to undo the clip on the bikini top. Sipping my hands inside the ultra-thin straps, I run both hands around her to fondle her breasts.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Thanks, AJ, for providing a reference to (apparently) the first time the expression was used in 1914.
This is the context of the entire paragraph which ended with those words. (I have used bold where the author originally used italics)

To begin with, let me plead that you have been told of one or two things which Style is not; which have little or nothing to do with Style, though sometimes vulgarly mistaken for it. Style, for example, is not—can never be—extraneous Ornament. You remember, may be, the Persian lover whom I quoted to you out of Newman: how to convey his passion he sought a professional letter-writer and purchased a vocabulary charged with ornament, wherewith to attract the fair one as with a basket of jewels. Well, in this extraneous, professional, purchased ornamentation, you have something which Style is not: and if you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: 'Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.'

My interpretation was the writer's objection was to "extraneous Ornament" and insisted upon the point that it must not be mistaken for "style".

I do not know what the writer's view was on whether a consistent level of ornament could be legitimately described as an 'author's style'.
In my view that should be considered an author's style.
A few sentences in Nabokov's writing style in For Whom the Bell Tolls would be horrible, but a few paragraphs in Hemingway'a style in Lolita just as bad.
I have no objections to a level of ornamentation, per se, in writing - provided the author can maintain consistency in the style they choose.

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