Blog #37 The Wrong Destiny
Hello everybody, Today we have a piece from Roesavlon on DeviantArt with a piece titled The Wrong Destiny. I imagine it’s the untold history of how the whole of Delphi got drunk and went on a crazy bender through Greece.
If you’re reading this now, that means my plan has worked. In that case, I’m so so sorry. For it may be that your world has changed forever. But how did this come to be? That question is what brought you here. In that case, my dear reader, I must warn you that what you are about to read. It is not a happy tale. It is a story filled with grief and pain, With love torn asunder and your very morals put to the test.
This paragraph has me in two minds: one is appreciation for the stylization and emotion the author imbues into their prose, these are enjoyable elements and (if competently implemented) can be incredibly enrichening. (Think something like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which oozes style.) But the author also spends an exorbitant amount of time talking to the readers, almost every sentence starts with a set-up phrase or address of some kind: ‘If you’re reading this’, ‘In that case’ x2 and other softer examples. This paragraph is almost as much set-up for its story elements as it is story elements, and I don’t like that even if it reads well (which is does.) The reason I don’t like them is that all these words don’t say much, they’re just there filling space. Even if they don’t overtly detract from the story, they don’t add much and I prefer for every word to say something.
Now for the more technical aspects. For the first sentence, I would delete ‘that means’ which is unnecessary for comprehension and rhythm. This will cause the removal of ‘has’ as well, rendering the sentence more active. We can also delete the ‘now’ both because it’s unnecessary and ambiguous since ‘now’ is never specified, clarified or even given a qualifier so that the persona writing/saying this would know when ‘now’ was.
Continuing to the second sentence, I would replace ‘in that case’ with ‘and’ and combine the sentences. I like this for two reasons, not just because it removes one of the empty phrases I mentioned above, but it also emphasizes the emotion displayed here, connecting it to the root cause and allowing them to build on one another. This results in something like —If you’re reading this, my plan worked and I am so, so sorry.— This structure combines his/her misery more immediately with their actions/plan, which improves their impact both because they’re linked and it cuts the interruptive phrase ‘in that case’.
For the third sentence, we enter slightly more conflicted terrain. I dislike the ambiguity of ‘may have changed’ both because it teases the readers without reason and because the narrator should know whether the world changed or not, they’re distraught with the consequences of their actions. There’s also the fact that the rest of the paragraph treats this event as a certainty, which makes this ambiguity inconsistent.
That comment aside, the sentence is just unnecessarily wordy. —Your world may have changed forever. — Most of the fluff comes from the Author’s style for this piece, which makes it hard to delete. (This is often the case with style, it can necessitate a significant increase in words; the challenge is implementing a style with as little additional burden as possible.) I’m still inclined toward deleting the excess because it doesn’t say anything and doesn’t sing with the same personality as the first sentence.
For the next sentence, we have a simple synonym swap. (But how did this come to be?) ‘come to be’ can be reduced to ‘occur’.
Thus we begin the fourth sentence, (That question is what brought you here.) and I dislike separating this from its predecessor. I think this is one thought broken into two sentences, and I think it can be written as one without sacrificing the author’s tone. (It’s also a slightly awkward transition.)
—The pursuit of how this occurred must have brought you.—
—You must be seeking an answer as to how this occurred.—
(I added the ambiguity of ‘must be/have’ because I felt it read more appropriate, as opposed to them omnipotently saying ‘…occurred brought you’ or ‘you are…’. Both work however.)
I like both of these options; the story doesn’t stop and start and or go round-about as much. I prefer the second one of these two, though it does necessitate a slight change in the previous sentence, because I prefer its assertive version to the first sentence’s assertive version.
This leaves us with…
— If you’re reading this, my plan worked and I am so, so sorry. The world has changed forever. You are seeking an answer as to how this occurred.— (You’ll notice how in its current iteration the last sentence feels incomplete. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it indicates that this sentence wants to continue, which in turn means it will flow into the next sentence, thus providing the paragraph with rhythm and momentum, if we can find the correct continuation.
Next sentence(s)! (Combined because of grammar reasons.)
(In that case, my dear reader, I must warn you that what you are about to read. It is not a happy tale.)
This first sentence is incomplete. The phrase ‘that what’ indicates something is to follow, but nothing follows. I assume they were meant to be one sentence and their separation is just a typo. That aside, this sentence is clunky, particularly the ‘I must warn you that what you are about to read’, which is mostly a string of glue words. It, and most of the sentence, is also unnecessary. It exists only to set up ‘happy tale’, with their narrator saying ‘I am warning’ when he could just warn them. Thus I present my nuclear adjustment…
— You are seeking an answer as to how this occurred, but that is not a happy tale. My dear reader, it is filled with grief and pain, with love torn asunder and your very morals tested.— (Combined to show where ‘my dear readers’ went.)
That entire sentence was just the narrator saying ‘I’m going to warn you’, which serves no purpose in the story. It’s his warning that matters. This structure also has a second benefit, with ‘my dear reader’ serving to separate the slight inefficiency of ‘it is not a happy tale’ and ‘it is filled with grief and pain’. By addressing his readers here, it sounds like he’s emphasizing the pain and grief instead of just reiterating it. I also deleted/changed the ‘it is a story’ since we just called it a ‘tale’ in the previous sentence and those are synonymous. Finally, I reduced ‘morals put to the test’ to ‘morals tested’.
All together this becomes..
— If you’re reading this, my plan worked and I am so, so sorry. The world has changed forever. You are seeking answers as to how this occurred, but that is not a happy tale. My dear reader, it is filled with grief and pain, with love torn asunder and your very morals tested.—
There are a couple of elements here still to consider: I’m not entirely sure of the transition from second to third sentence, there’s probably a better word for ‘filled’ (something more energetic or distinctive) and I believe the phrase ‘morals tested’ is grammatically incorrect. (The original was as well.)
After reading through it a couple times, I think the rhythm for second-to-third sentence is fine, but it’s ultimately the author’s choice.
Concerning the ‘fiddle’, it’s dealer’s choice: rife, riddled, replete. I liked ‘choked’ because it is a little unusual but entirely comprehensible and has a slightly tragic connotation (choked with grief) so it fits the tone nicely.
As for tested, the flaw is that it’s treated as an item in the litany, but it’s not. The litany is of items in the story, but their ‘morals being tested’ is not in the story. (Unless it’s a story about the person reading.) I think the easiest solution, because I don’t know quite what the author intended, is to convert the ‘morals being tested’ into an action.
All of my edits.
—If you’re reading this, my plan worked and I am so, so sorry. The world has changed forever. You are seeking answers as to how this occurred, but that is not a happy tale. My dear reader, it is choked with grief and pain, with love torn asunder and will test your very morals.—
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