Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/UnNews:Massacre at Brookfield Zoo
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I just want to be sure about it.
Sockpuppet of an unregistered user 22:39, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
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Sayeth Gerry: shotgun!!
edit Endnotes by OEJ
In my opinion, the writing could use tuning up. It is grammatically correct for the most part but given the dramatic subject matter I feel it needs to be stronger.
For instance, "increasingly angrier" should be either "increasingly angry" or "angrier and angrier". But those are pretty weak for a HOMICIDAL TIGER! Rowr! Maybe "damned cheesed off" or "madder than the time an antelope shat in my face from pure fear" would be appropriate.
Short sentences and plain Anglo-Saxon words are strong. "Ruffles had a plan, and he acted fast" is stronger than "Ruffles acted quickly, enacting the plan he had devised the last two days". The rest of that sentence ("tree after tree were slammed into position against the wall" is a disconnected clause, a run-on addition to the core thought. And the verb, "were", is not an "action" verb. It would be better to write "He slammed tree after tree against the wall."
In the classic book The Elements of Style Strunk and White write, in Rule 14:
- Use the active voice. The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive:
- I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.
- This is much better than
- My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.
- The latter sentence is less direct, less bold, and less concise....The habitual use of the active voice...makes for forcible writing. This is true not only in narrative concerned principally with action but in writing of any kind.
In the case of this article, you should evaluate every use of "is", "was", "were", and "are" and replace them wherever possible with strong, definite action words.
"Ruffles was confronted with zookeepers" becomes "Zookeepers confronted Ruffles".
"Penguins quickly consumed human meat as if they were vultures" might be "Penguins gobbled human flesh like vultures". This is shorter and stronger; "latinate" words like "consumed" are usually not as powerful as common words like "gobbled" or perhaps "tore" or even simply "ate".
Don't repeat words unless it is for specific effect. "As chaos ensued, most humans were quickly killed: Penguins quickly consumed human meat..." As above, you can eliminate the second "quickly" by using "gobbled", which could be defined as "consume quickly". That way you avoid the jarring repetition.
Now then! I do not mean to say you are a crap writer and should never again touch finger to keyboard with creative intent. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Every writer who ever worked uses the passive voice, makes run-on sentences, and uses foppish long words when plain short ones would be better. That's why every writer who ever gets published revises his work, usually until his brain bleeds. And then his fooking editor revises it AGAIN!
I think many young writers do not know at first what they should aim for in revision. Strunk and White's little book on style is probably the most straightforward guide around, but nearly all books on writing emphasize similar goals. Be concise. Use powerful, active verbs, and definite nouns. Short sentences carry more punch than long ones. BUT: Vary sentence length to give variety to prose. (This implies that you might use longer sentences for descriptive or thoughtful passages, and shorter ones for action and for strong statements.) Put the most important word or phrase at the end of the sentence. Again, Strunk and White:
- Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
These, then, are some of the goals of revision. Good luck!
----OEJ 02:30, 5 September 2008 (UTC)