How do I improve this sentence? A Quora question

Since Quora likes to collapse my answers in an effort to keep me quiet, I’m copying and pasting some of the Quora Q and A’s in which I’ve participated. Here’s a question from Quora.

Question: How can I improve the following sentence?

 

Addendum: They hence end up preferring better ways of ensuring that these issues never arise again in their counties.

 

Answer: Good question, a question worthy of an editor.

 

We certainly have an ugly, clunky sentence up there. What’s it saying? What will the paragraph explain? These are questions a writer, or an editor, must be able to answer.

 

As I’ve stated ad nauseam: When you’re writing your story, article, post, whatever, just write what you’re thinking, but when you’re done writing, you need to find the best possible way to make a point to a target audience. Write for you. Edit for an audience.

 

Let’s look at the sentence again:

 

They hence end up preferring better ways of ensuring that these issues never arise again in their counties.

 

Okay, it seems to me that they, their issues, and their countries are the points in question.

By focusing on the meaning behind the words, we learn that people have ended up ensuring that some issues never arise in their countries. The simplest expression, I believe, is this:

 

They discovered better ways to prevent the issues from ever again arising within their countries.

 

In order to make it more complex, I need to know how they came up with better ways to prevent issues from arising. If I assume it’s through education, I write a more complex sentence.

 

For instance: Due to an improved educational system, they devised better ways to prevent the issues from ever again arising within their countries.

 

Such a case can, and should, be extended within the paragraph. Obviously, this person from Quora wasn’t writing a single sentence, but an entire article or maybe even a book. In such an event, it may be necessary to simplify such a complex sentence, and write two or three simpler sentences, but that really depends on the target audience; will it be fifth graders or grad students?

 

Editing is not only about finding the most cogent way to present ideas; it is also about presenting the cogent ideas in terms best suited for a specific audience. Many ideas are too complicated for a single sentence. That’s precisely why we write in paragraphs.

 

A paragraph should contain only a single idea, and each of its sentences should only be present to support and expound upon that idea, which is why some sentences are more complex than others, and is why some paragraphs are longer than others.

 

Can your editing software handle all that? Hire an editor. Your readers deserve it.

 

BT dubz, don’t forget that June is my BOOM month. If you don’t know what that is, read about it here….

Thanks for reading. Like, share, and all that jazz.

Earn yuuuuge and Make Reading Great Again

Listen up, you primitive screw heads! June is my BOOM month!

 

Ash with Boom stick
Ash with Boom stick

 

The month of June is jam packed with 50% affiliate commissions if you’re selling my ebooks via Smashwords. Yeah, you read right.

 

Make Reading Great Again
Make Reading Great Again

 

Let me break it down for you:

 

I normally give my sellers 25% commission from the sale of an e-book, but come July, I’ll be greatly lowering my prices. I’ll even be making some of my e-books free for the entire month, which means my sellers will be taking a yuuuuge hit from their affiliate marketing commissions.

 

It’s bad news, I know, but stick with me.

 

Since July is a yuuuuge promo month on Smashwords, I opt in in order to create more exposure and attract new fans, and hopefully new sellers, so to balance the lost affiliate marketing commissions, which will be prevalent in July, I’m rocketing your commissions for the month of June to 50%. I’ll probably do the same throughout August, but we’ll get to that.

 

So, here’s the deal: start selling a ton of my books this month. Sell even more in June, and earn yuuuuge. Then, in July, find yourselves some new Smashwords authors you like, and make sure to sell their books as well.

 

We’re Making Reading Great Again! #MRGA

 

Come August, I’ll pump your affiliate marketing commissions back up, and probably even raise the prices of a few books. Not to mention that I’ll be releasing a new title, War and Glory, Lokians 3; not exactly a new title, but a re-release….

 

If you’re new to all this, and you don’t really know what I’m talking about, you need to read this article.

 

How to read books and earn money!

 

I want us all in this together. We’re all Making Reading Great Again! #MRGA You also need to check out some of these ebook sites because you, too, can be raking in the dough by selling ebooks from Smashwords.

 

Affiliate Market Smashwords Books

Niki Nyan’s Book Blog!

Your Ebook Store Blog

 

It’s the easiest freaking way in the world to begin affiliate marketing, and some of those sites probably look better than others, and there may well be even more people selling my books than I know, but you, too should be selling my ebooks!

 

All I’m going to tell you right here and now is that by spending about 5 minutes per blog post, you can throw up an ebook on your site, and sell it for a commission. This is totally free. No pay per clicks. No third party software. No online courses. No bitcoin or satoshis. No bullshit.

 

Read the article above. Follow the guidelines. It’s super easy. Start selling and earning actual money. I promise you, you’ve never seen affiliate marketing like this. It’s affiliate marketing simplified. I’m creating jobs over here.

 

I’m Making Reading Great Again, and speaking of #MRGA check out this freaking t shirt!!!

 

America Make Reading Great Again MRGA
America Make Reading Great Again MRGA

 

 

It’s from my new #MRGA campaign!

You can’t find work? You need extra dough? A part time job? You smoke a ton of weed and don’t want to drug test? No probs; sell my books online. Earn my money!

 

earn money with affiliate marketing
earn money with affiliate marketing

 

Do this for you!

#MRGA shirts temporarily suspended. They’ll be back after Summer!

Does sentence structure matter?

Since Quora likes to collapse my answers in an effort to keep me quiet, I’m copying and pasting some of the Quora Q and A’s in which I’ve participated. Here’s a question from Quora.

 

Question: Is the following sentence correctly structured?

 

“One has to draw our attention to the cultural differences thay may lead to miscommunication.” How can that sentence be improved?

 

Answer: First, thay is actually that. Second, you might want to replace that with which.

 

One has to draw our attention to the cultural differences, which may lead to miscommunication.

 

However, it’s still a bit confusing.

 

It sounds like the sentence is suggesting that an outside influence is required to point out to us that cultural differences can lead to miscommunication, or it might be saying that we should pay more attention to the miscommunications caused by the cultural differences, but then again, if these differences “may” lead to miscommunication, they also “may not” lead to miscommunication—it’s too open to interpretation. What do you want say?

 

Perhaps, a simpler version is the following:

 

Only an outside force can show us that cultural differences often lead to miscommunication.

 

That’s cut and dry.

 

The differences among cultures can lead to miscommunication. The differences among cultures do lead to miscommunication. Differences of culture are one cause of miscommunication. Differences of culture go unnoticed during miscommunication.

 

Unless someone points it out, no one might notice that differences of culture go unnoticed during miscommunication.

 

Again, what do you want to say to your audience? It is not all the same. Each sentence is very different and can have a huge impact on the overall idea present within a single paragraph.

 

Writing is all about getting the thoughts out of our heads and onto a physical or digital medium, but communication and storytelling are totally different worlds from just written thoughts.

 

Have any of you ever been speaking to friends, family, or a spouse, and someone asks you to repeat what you said, or asked you to clarify, or immediately started to berate you until you had to explain that what you were explaining wasn’t what they thought you were saying?

 

All the time, right? The way you think is the way you write, but your audience is not in your head, and since you can’t clarify to them specifically after having written whatever it is that you’re writing, you must be able to provide cogent arguments, ideas, and events to a broad range of recipients who cannot question you.

 

Writing the first draft of your book, story, blog post, etc is the easy part. After you’ve written it, you have to edit, and I don’t mean adding commas or correcting misspelled words; I mean it’s time to rewrite your thoughts for people who don’t live inside your head, so that no mistakes of interpretation can be made.

 

This is the power of words, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph form, and all facets of editing. A writer provides a sequential account of events. An editor works as an interpreter; they are someone who relates those events to a specific audience, but you can edit your own work if you learn to read your work as a reader.

 

To read your work as a reader, the most important step is to get away from whatever you’ve written for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Then, go back and read it, and you will surely come across instances wherein you won’t even know what you were trying to say. Those will be obvious fixes, but there will more subtle instances of miscommunication, where something makes sense to you, but probably won’t make sense to anyone else, or it may just be open to interpretation.

 

It’s crazy, but no author out there thinks that what they’ve written can possibly be misconstrued, and that anyone who might misconstrue must be a dunce, so, okay, imagine that everyone is a dunce, that way you won’t leave any room for misinterpretation.

 

Everything you write, must be absolutely on point, and should leave no room for interpretation, but that means that you have to read and reread your work dozens of times, and it means that you have to scrutinize each word, each sentence, and each paragraph. Then, you have to make sure that each scene is supported by the paragraphs, and that each chapter begins and ends properly, and that no one in the world can come up with a reason that your story doesn’t work—plot holes; they’re killers!

 

If this sounds like too much work, hire an editor. There’s no shame in it. Every single mainstream writer is paired with editors. It’s how the entire publishing industry works. Do you really think you don’t need an editor? Think again.

 

Learn more here.

Barnaby, a Fantasy Musical

Remember when Lisa Simpson played the protest song?

It was the 17th episode of the 4th season and called something like Last Exit to Springfield.

So, then, this guy, Julian W. made an original song based on the protest song.

Hear it here

For some reason, the embed link is disabled, but you can just click the link to hear it.

What does any of this have to do with my latest work, Barnaby, a fantasy musical tragedy?

Well, I had that song, or the music, stuck in my head, and wrote a fantasy musical tragedy. The italicized portion of the following text are to be sung to the protest song, like a chorus or whatever….

Barnaby, a fantasy musical tragedy by Aaron Dennis

Music…by…. The Simpsons, I guess.

Written February 11th of 2017

Since it’s cool to make your own song based on the protest song, I hope someone makes an actual musical out of my story. Go for it. I don’t care, just credit me, Aaron Dennis, and www.storiesbydennis.com

Barnaby, a fantasy musical tragedy

 

Let me tell you a story, a story of friends. They were both warriors. They were both men.

Brave men can fight. Brave men can love. Some’ll remember. Some have regret.

Twenty years they were brothers. Twenty more they did fret. What caused dissention? What made them hate?

Jore has a wife. Barnus did have one, too. Jore’s son is Jorey, but he don’t have a clue.

 

The farming town of Hemm was an old community. Everyone knew everyone, and everyone knew Jore and Barnus. They had grown up together and even joined the guard in their youth, but around their twentieth year, after Barnus wedded the beautiful Leyla, the friends had a falling out.

 

Time and again, when they met in town, away from the vast fields of wheat, from the sheep farms, they crossed words. Sometimes, they crossed fists, but of late it was young Barnaby, Barnus’s son, who cast wicked glares at Jore.

 

Barnus praised his son’s courage and loyalty and taught him the sword. Still, word in Hemm was that Jore had always been the better fighter, and that was the reason for the friends’ falling out, yet others suspected something far more sinister. Finally, when insults and fisticuffs proved nothing, the two men agreed to duel in the town square at sunset.

 

When winds blew too sweetly, emotions raged on. Two friends had shouted, but none had drawn blood.

Glare of sunlight did bring all men from afar. The time for just words had gone and had come.

With teeth bared and howling, Jore pulled free his blade. Singing and laughing, Barnus stood firm.

 

All had gathered in a sweaty circle under a hot wind to watch the men fight in Hemm’s square. Jore was the first to lunge and strike with rapier, but Barnus easily parried. Back and forth, they went, time and again. One swung. The other dodged or parried. Then, came first blood.

 

Barnus grunted; the pain in his shoulder searing hot. Blood soaked into his tunic, and before long, as Jore pressed the attack, and men cheered and women cried, Barnus was sent to the ground.

 

Young Barnaby—a man as old as his father was when he and Jore had had their split—grew wide-eyed. He and his father met eyes for only a second; Barnus scurried away, got to his feet, parried a blow from behind, spun, and slashed at Jore, who easily disarmed him.

 

When Jore lunged for the death blow, Barnaby ran into the fray and knocked his father to the ground, free from the deadly strike. Quickly, he kicked his father’s sword into his grip and challenged Jore.

 

“Leave it alone, boy,” Jore admonished.

 

“Why? Are you frightened of me?” young Barnaby grinned and slashed.

 

Jore easily parried and stepped back, but Barnaby came again and again.

 

“That’s right, son. Barnaby, show Jore who the best swordsman is!” Barnus praised.

 

Some of those in the crowd cheered for Barnaby. Others scorned Barnus for letting his son fight in his stead. Figuring there was no honor in such a display, Jore demanded Barnus return to the fight, but before anything was settled, Barnaby drew blood.

 

“Let the boy have his fun,” Barnus shouted.

 

“Stop it,” Jore begged. “I don’t want to hurt you. It’s your father whose head I want. Look at him! You call him a man? He cannot fight even his own battle!”

 

Townsfolk did laugh, and townsfolk did jeer. When Jore called for peace, they only did sneer.

Barnaby was as great as his old man was feared. Now, it seemed only Barnus was scorned.

He looked at his son, a man of resolve. Shaking his head, he called it all off.

 

“Alright, Son, you’ve had your fun. Bring back my blade, and I will end it,” Barnus demanded.

 

“No, it is also my honor at stake,” the boy replied through clenched teeth.

 

A smile crept across Jore’s face. Horror washed over Barnus’s. As young Barnaby lunged, Jore dropped his sword, and steel went through his heart.

 

A young man was a killer. An old man was wronged. All those who knew; they said it was love.

Jore had then looked up, he saw Barnaby. The young man, he smiled and reveled in blood.

Barnus knelt down by his old wounded friend, and he asked him oh why? Because I have sinned.

Their life was a lie. They both knew it true. Friendship still mattered. Life was yet cruel.

 

Barnus drew his sword from his friend’s chest. Immediately, he begged the townsfolk to help him carry Jore to the doctor’s home. Barnaby remained confused and pressed his father for an explanation.

 

“I have done that which you could not,” the young man claimed.

 

“Foolish boy, this was my fight, not yours. You’ve no idea what you’ve done.”

 

The young man tried to argue, but his father remained silent on the matter. Once everyone was gathered around the dying Jore, who lied motionless in bed and barely breathing, a woman stumbled in with her young son. The boy was small and frail, but he walked over to Jore and held his hand. The woman gripped her son’s shoulders and cried.

 

“It wasn’t meant to be like this,” Barnus told her.

 

He was shedding tears as well.

 

“Father, you cry for this man, and you scorn me, yet I have upheld our honor,” Barnaby shouted.

 

Years had prevailed, years of deceit. Leyla had two loves, but bore child from one.

One wept regret, and one then swore blood. Leyla professed her child know not Jore.

Yet a man holds his love, his love in his heart. Shame is kept hidden deep down and dark.

A man and his son should parted be not. Jore preached his love. Leyla declined.

‘Twas Barnus who raised another man’s son. Anger and lies. Love, scorn, and hate.

 

During the commotion, as haggard faces revealed disparagement for Barnus, he pulled his son aside. Barnaby was so angry and disillusioned with the entire ordeal, and Barnus so morose, that he felt the imperative need to explain that twenty years prior, his mother had lain with another man. It had been kept a secret from most, but there were some who knew; Jore was Barnaby’s father, and he, himself, had never been able to sire a child.

 

Tears streamed from the young man’s eyes. Everything became so clear. He never truly understood the animosity between Jore and his father; he knew only of their hostility, and since day in and day out Barnus had upheld those feelings, Barnaby thought fighting Jore, the man who turned out to be his real father, a matter of course. Anger, sorrow, hate, love, regret, all the emotions a man harbors washed over his soul.

 

“You knew,” Barnaby suddenly said. “You knew, and you let me fight him? You taught me to hate him, and you have made me a fool, father.”

 

“I have, and I, too, am a fool, but when your mother did pass, I had to keep you blind, for my love of you is pure,” Barnus admitted.

 

Heartbroken, Barnaby turned to back to the room filled with grieving people. The young boy who had held Jore’s hand was staring; his younger brother, a boy who knew nothing of deceit.

 

“You kilt’ my paw’. When I’m big an’ grown, I’m gone kill you, Barnaby.”

 

“Hush up, Jorey,” his mother cried. “You don’t know what you’re sayin’.”

 

Betrayal and heartbreak, secrets and lies; fleeing his home, Barnaby did not cry.

Brave Jore had passed on, yet his spirit remained. Brave Jorey, he searched for a virtuous campaign.

Hemm was plagued by fear, sorrow, lies. Twenty years passed. No truth had prevailed.

People are frightened of veracity. It’s easy to scorn, weep, and deceive.

No one told Jorey: relinquish your hate. The feelings he harbored were an escape.

One day in a field in a town with no name. An old man was killed by love and by hate.

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