Re: Is this paragraph awkward?

#1
Given no context, I'm curious if this paragraph makes enough sense.


Quote:      Fed upon misery and desperation, some people gave up. Others struggled against circumstance. Randy did what he was told. He was miserable for it. When the angel appeared in front of him, it stopped time for the two of them. Such magics were mundanely unknowable; and Randy’s old misery was awash with new surprise. After all there was no precedent for it. To compose magic, one must draw upon their own will and memory to forcefully recreate an experience. Yet, no matter how real it seemed, magic was illusory. When in conflict, the more powerful will or memory overwrites the lesser. Such was the prevalent Theory of Anti-Magic Compositions and explained why powerful magic items, politicians and the like shrugged off any petty attempt at harming them.




I've got some ideas for things that might be awkward, e.g. "Theory of Anti-Magic Compositions," but I'm not sure.

I'd really appreciate fresh eyes, if anybody would lend them.

Re: Is this paragraph awkward?

#2
I think the general sentence structure and flow is fine but the overall ideas seem to bounce around. Everything doesn't quite mesh with each other"


  The first four sentences don't seem to go together, the first two and then the next two. It feels like you are trying to list three different things but the part about people being miserable and giving up seems and an awful lot like Randy being miserable and doing what he's told.

  Then those first four sentences have nothing to do with the rest of the paragraph. Establishing these themes and ideas have nothing to do with an angel appearing and magic.

  And then you have some odd juxtaposition of words that don't sound right. "mundanely unknowable"  and the bit about the politician. The inclusion of the politician is odd on its own but could based on what else has been established. But then the concept of "harming them [the illusions]" seems odd. Like. Why would that even be a thing. Why would you want to harm something that doesn't exist. 

Re: Is this paragraph awkward?

#3

The Wrote: I think the general sentence structure and flow is fine but the overall ideas seem to bounce around. Everything doesn't quite mesh with each other"


  The first four sentences don't seem to go together, the first two and then the next two. It feels like you are trying to list three different things but the part about people being miserable and giving up seems and an awful lot like Randy being miserable and doing what he's told.

  Then those first four sentences have nothing to do with the rest of the paragraph. Establishing these themes and ideas have nothing to do with an angel appearing and magic.

  And then you have some odd juxtaposition of words that don't sound right. "mundanely unknowable"  and the bit about the politician. The inclusion of the politician is odd on its own but could based on what else has been established. But then the concept of "harming them [the illusions]" seems odd. Like. Why would that even be a thing. Why would you want to harm something that doesn't exist.



It's a useful post insofar as the critique is unique. I've not received criticism on most of the aspects you've mentioned, the exception being that there are several ideas present in the paragraph which could be split up.

I definitely agree with that part. By the suggestion of a user on another site, these would be good break points:

Fed upon misery and desperation, some people gave up. Others struggled against circumstance. Randy did what he was told. He was miserable for it. 

When the angel appeared in front of him, it stopped time for the two of them. Such magics were mundanely unknowable; and Randy’s old misery was awash with new surprise. After all there was no precedent for it. 

To compose magic, one must draw upon their own will and memory to forcefully recreate an experience. Yet, no matter how real it seemed, magic was illusory. 

When in conflict, the more powerful will or memory overwrites the lesser. Such was the prevalent Theory of Anti-Magic Compositions and explained why powerful magic items, politicians and the like shrugged off any petty attempt at harming them.

I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from on the remaining criticisms, so I wonder if you'd be willing to expand on them.

To me, "mundanely unknowable" should be taken to mean "can't be known by non-divinity.

The first four sentences are in reference to the paragraphs immediately prior and are intended to qualify Randy's misery.

The idea is that everybody in South Kreya is miserable. Some take misery from despair; others by self-sacrifice. And although Randy is also miserable, it is not for the same reason as the others; Randy is miserable because he is a soldier.

Does this not come across well? I'll need to revisit this with fresh eyes, if to you it doesn't.

The bit about the politician is a bit of foreshadowing which may be out of place. I've been told that, in addition to the formatting breaks mentioned above, I should also give attention to filling out some of these thoughts. I wonder if the politician is one such thought.

My intention with the politician's mention is to liken them to magical tools and foreshadow that politicians often accompany the magic of powerful wills and memories.

Re: Is this paragraph awkward?

#4
Mundanely Unknowable: I think that phrase on its own is clever. But in context, there seems to be an event going on. An angel and magic doesn't seem like a normal kind of unknowable. Are angels and magic common place. If someone saw an angel in there world, would their reaction be: "eh, seen it before"? 

The explanation for MC's misery explained everything and I didn't get that context. I would rephrase it honestly. "Feeding upon misery and desperation, most people gave up, but Randy gave up for a different reason. Randy had to follow orders, and that alone made him miserable."

One of Benjamin Franklin's tips for becoming a better writer was to rewrite and reorder sentences. I honestly didn't see the issue with your first four sentences until trying this exercise myself. There is a complete lack of commonality to what you originally wrote. I'll try to break that down:

"Fed upon misery and desperation, some people gave up." -> Fine start.

"Others struggled against circumstance." -> Great


"Randy did what he was told." -> What does this sentence have to do with the first two? It's a complete nonsequitor.

"He was miserable for it." This makes sense in regards to the previous sentence, but makes no sense in regards to the first two. You start by giving us two categories of people (those who are miserable and those who struggle against it). But then this statement on Randy doesn't fit either one. That would like "Feeding upon misery and desperation, some people gave up. Others struggled against circumstance. But Randy didn't struggle. Randy followed orders, and he was miserable for it. Each sentence should lead into the next

Your explanation of the politicians makes more sense in how you used it. In the context of your story it may make perfect sense.

Finally I would say that your divisions are a bit extreme. The first four sentences are a drastically different idea than the rest of the paragraph. But the other sentences seem to have a connecting thread that seem logical together. 

Hope this helps. Let me know if I can explain anything better.

Re: Is this paragraph awkward?

#5

Suzumiya Wrote: Fed upon misery and desperation, some people gave up. Others struggled against circumstance. Randy did what he was told. He was miserable for it. When the angel appeared in front of him, it stopped time for the two of them. Such magics were mundanely unknowable; and Randy’s old misery was awash with new surprise. After all there was no precedent for it. To compose magic, one must draw upon their own will and memory to forcefully recreate an experience. Yet, no matter how real it seemed, magic was illusory. When in conflict, the more powerful will or memory overwrites the lesser. Such was the prevalent Theory of Anti-Magic Compositions and explained why powerful magic items, politicians and the like shrugged off any petty attempt at harming them.

Ooh!  Grammar Time!  Yay! 😁

Besides a few words here and there, the problem you're having with this paragraph is it's written in Yoda-speak.
Have you ever heard of this?
"Backwards are the sentences, until confused becomes the mind."
What this means is you are writing your sentences in reverse.

Let's see if we can fix this. 
Fed upon misery and desperation, some people gave up. Others struggled against circumstance.
To straighten out this reverse passage, we shoud instead write. 
Some people struggled against circumstance, while others gave up, fed upon by misery.
 
Saying MISERY AND DESPERATION is redundant and bad grammar, because the definition of DEPERATION is 'a state of MISERY,' so what you are saying here is FED UPON BY MISERY AND A STATE OF MISERY. You could say MISERY AND DESPAIR if you want, to emphasize the hopelessness, but that is up to you. You also then say MISERABLE, which again, by definition, is 'a state of MISERY,' so you really ought to drop the sentence it is in. Then you say MISERY again a short time later on, so that's four times now you've mentioned it, and that's just real redundant. So let's drop that fourth one, too. 

Next we have When the angel appeared in front of him, it stopped time for the two of them. 
This sentence is pure Yoda-speak. It's completely backwards. How about this instead? 
The angel stopped time for the two of them when it appeared before him.


Next we have an oxymoron -- an adjective that doesn't describe its noun. MUNDANE is a negative way of saying COMMON or ORDINARY, yet something that is UNKNOWABLE is UNIQUE -- no one knows it exists. So the MAGIC is either COMMON (mundane), or it is UNIQUE (unknowable). Since I assume you don't mean to refer to the magic in a negative way -- which the word MUNDANELY would suggest, and since we need to drop this fourth use of the word MISERY, let's change the next sentence to this: 
Such magics were unknowable, and Randy was awash with new surprise.

Now, let's un-Yoda the next two sentences.
After all there was no precedent for it. To compose magic, one must draw upon their own will and memory to forcefully recreate an experience. 
One must draw upon their own will and memory to compose magic, and forcefully recreate an experience. Yet there was no precedent. 

And another backwards sentence.  Yet, no matter how real it seemed, magic was illusory should be: 
Magic was illusory, no matter how real it seemed. 

Next, to straighten out this sentence: When in conflict, the more powerful will or memory overwrites the lesser -- we could write: 
The more powerful will or memory overwrites the lesser when in conflict. 

Unfortunately, your last sentence is unreadable -- the grammar is just too bad.  Also, if magic is unknowable, and also not real (illusory), and also there is a prevelant Theory of Anti-Magic, how can MAGIC ITEMS even exist at all? I suggest simply dropping that passage, and then your final sentence will make sense. 

Such was the prevalent Theory of Anti-Magic Compositions, explaining why powerful politicians and their like shrugged off petty attempts at harming them.

😁