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Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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The comma splice in the first sentence doesn't work for me, Gary. I think either it's a full stop before "he resisted" or "and he resisted". However, neither of those entirely works for me the full stop makes it very staccato, the and adds his actions onto someone else's, so I'd restructure to something like:

The guards overpowered Barns, and he resisted as they tried to force him down the stairs to the corridors below.
"You'll get what's coming to you if it's the last thing I do," he screamed. (I think I'd prefer a yell, a scream is something different, and words aren't normally well formed through it.) "You hear me, boy?"


I would also take a new paragraph for the dialogue as the earlier action isn't all Barns, it's the guards as well, so it's not really an action tag.
 

Gary Compton

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Is this any better?:)


The guards overpowered Barns and dragged him towards the stairs. He grabbed the steel handrail.

‘You’ll get what’s coming to you if it’s the last thing I do,’ he shouted. ‘You hear me, boy?’

Two more officers joined in, broke his grip and forced him down the stairs into the corridors below.
 

Phyrebrat

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Is this any better?:)


The guards overpowered Barns and dragged him towards the stairs. He grabbed the steel handrail.

‘You’ll get what’s coming to you if it’s the last thing I do,’ he shouted. ‘You hear me, boy?’

Two more officers joined in, broke his grip and forced him down the stairs into the corridors below.
If the Caribbean thing is really relevant to your story - and avoiding the Jar Jar Factor (which made me chuckle, TJ :D) - it may help you to look into street patois, and Jamaican patois. Both are pretty ubiquitous in N, E and S London although I don't know where your piece is set.

On one end of the spectrum, he could be incendiary; 'Mi gi yuh licks dem, bwoy! Kiss me neck back to rahtid!'

via

'Rass! Mi box your clart back, bwoy!'

to

‘You’ll get what’s coming to you if it’s the last thing I do,’ he shouted. ‘You hear me, bwoy?’

It all depends on how you see him. From what I witness daily people of Jamaican heritage generally tend to go into patois when they're angry (which happens often in my line of work :eek:) and that depends itself on which generation they're from. Plenty of the people I know never dip into patois or slang.

Also, if you set it up like that, it means you have to keep him talking that way throughout which is tough if you're not familiar with the chat. It could also pull a reader out of the story, especially if they've never heard it or have no frame of reference other than clichéd stereotyping. I'd go for the one you have but change boy to bwoy

Personally I think the creolisation of English language is a wonderful thing and am using pidgin in my WIP. But... it's hard to get right so that you don't alienate or confuse the reader, or offend the demographic with a 'Moy Moy! Yousa guys bombad! Meesa gonna bashen yousen okey day!' :D (sorry, couldn't resist.)

pH
 

Bowler1

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Phyrebrat, after seeing you get those voices going I find myself lost for words, a rare event for me! A nice demo in how to write what you hear.
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
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I hope this is the right section to ask this, I havn't readall 16 pages as it's late so sorry if it is covered already.

Titles and capitalization -

I have read that you only capitalize a title if it is used as part of a name ie

The party was pretty bad so Captain Baker left early.
OR
The party was pretty bad so the captain left early.

However, in reading, some writers capitalize the title anyway, so would write:

The party was pretty bad so the Captain left early.

Which is right? Also should it apply to sir, mister and so on?
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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I don't think it's in the Toolbox (read the 16 pages, you won't regret it) but my understanding is you capitalise where it forms the function of a name. So,

Yes, Major! (Where Major would be Jim otherwise)

But not here:

The major sent me (because you wouldn't say The Jim sent me)

But don't worry too much - house styles vary and if you were published they'd tell you what to do!
 

Kerrybuchanan

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I have been working my way through the toolbox trying to improve my grasp of grammar and punctuation, but the one thing I am finding really hard is the correct use of the semi colon.

Please can someone either link to a post in here, because I've obviously overlooked anything there is, or give me an idiot's guide to the dratted things? I used to think I knew how to use them, but now I doubt myself all the time and consequently just avoid the little beggars. Seems a shame not to make the effort to get to grips once and for all.
 

HareBrain

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That's a good guide, but its "don't use it with conjunctions" is a bit simplistic.

From this guide:

Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction if the clauses are already punctuated with commas or if the clauses are lengthy.
It gives the example:

Some people write with a word processor, typewriter, or a computer; but others, for different reasons, choose to write with a pen or pencil.
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
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I wouldn't use a semi-colon with a conjuction, at least not in that example, since that's its job. I'd delete the "but" so it's
Some people write with a word processor, typewriter, or a computer; others, for different reasons, choose to write with a pen or pencil.
 

Ursa major

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If one is allowed to start a sentence with a conjunction, I can see no reason why the conjunction is wrong when the full stop of the previous sentence is replaced with a semicolon.
 

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