Thursday: Help me to see

I’m going to give you an unedited sentence from my novel.  Please, don’t judge.

“It was so dark under the trees that we could barely see the moon.”

The first problem with this sentence is that it doesn’t make logical sense.  The reason that we could barely see the moon wasn’t because it was so dark under the trees.  It’s almost like saying, “We could barely see the moon because we could barely see the moon.”

The second problem with this sentence is that it requires that my readers trust my main character’s perception of the outside world, and experience its landscape through her eyes.  Of course, that’s kind of the unspoken agreement readers have with novels, but still, it seems like as the writer, I should make an effort to create a more visible setting.

Here, my main character sees (1) that it’s dark under the trees, and (2) that the moon is barely visible.  But, instead of actually describing something tangible (the trees, the moon), she’s explaining the overall effect of the setting, which in turn removes readers not only once, but twice from actual experience.

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~ by Clickity Clack on February 11, 2011.

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