And then, on page 166:We have purposely refrained until now from invoking the subjunctive, because the word is almost meaningless to Englishmen**, the thing having so nearly perished.
The use of true subjunctive forms (if he be, though it happen) in conditional sentences is for various reasons not recommended. These forms, with the single exception of were, are perishing so rapidly that an experienced word-actuary*** puts their expectation of life at one generation. As a matter of style, they should be avoided, being certain to give a pretentious air when handled by anyone except the skilful and practiced writers who need no advice from us. And as a matter of grammar, the instinct for using subjunctives rightly is dying with the subjunctive, so that even the still surviving were is often used where it is completely wrong.
2) Use a conjunction preceded by a comma .... "It was a balmy summer's night, and the clouds dreamily crawled across the sky."
Re. dialogue punctuation, if you're continuing to a descriptor of the speech, it's a comma so:
"It's my turn," she said. Or
She said, "It's my turn."
If you're going on to an action, it's a full stop:
"It's my turn." She stood up. or
She stood up. "It's my turn."
Hope there's something in there that might be of help!The guards overpowered [I don't know how important this scene is, obviously, but this appears a little perfunctory if in fact something vital is happening here. If it's a brief scene going nowhere, then fine, otherwise a bit more action might help]
Barns and dragged him downstairs. [unless they are at the top of the stairwell at this point, don't they have to drag him out of a room first?]
Muffled [why "muffled"? Is something over his mouth? Have they hooded him? If not, he might be out of breath from his exertions, or gasping in pain from the thumps in his stomach -- those things will give more of a feel of what's happening than "muffled" does]
threats [since we hear what he says, we shouldn't need telling that they're threats]
came: [from him] [we will assume he's the one threatening if you keep the "threats" line]
as he was led to the cells]. [do we need to be told the cells are downstairs? Shouldn't we know that? If we don't then I'd add it after the "downstairs". And if he's being "dragged", he isn't being "led" which is a different process, and in any event is too weak a verb if he's still struggling as I imagine he is and they're manhandling him]
‘You’ll get what’s coming [to you] [the rhyme with "I do" at the end of the line is very jarring so I'd change one or the other]
if it’s the last thing [that] [unless you have already portrayed him as rather cultured, this "that" is out of place]
I do. [It's not a particularly inventive or interesting threat. Can't he come up with something a little more modern and frightening?]
You hear me, boy?’ [he screamed.] [three problems with this -- (a) it's best to add the dialogue tag at the end of the first spoken sentence, if not earlier, so here after "I do" would be better; (b) how is it "screamed" if his voice was "muffled"?; (c) in your version you've said the threats come "from him" so no dialogue tag is necessary anyway]
NOTE: Barns is Jamaican [erm... there's nothing here to suggest that in the slightest -- to me he sounds like an East End villain out of The Sweeney. I don't expect you to go all Jar Jar Binks on us, but if you're wanting him to come across as Jamaican I think you need to get his speech patterns/inflections reflected in his dialogue]