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The Elite 02-18-2010 12:26 PM

The Diary
 
I had to write this for a history assignment. What do you think?
Hidden information:
June 13 2093
Diary of Dr David Soulus
First contact was made today. I was sitting; reading about the new colonies the Americans had built on Mars, drinking tea. The television was on in the background. Something caught my attention; instead of the regular program, the news was on. It was showing something that made my heart race; giant space shuttles. That was not to much of an event, but they didn’t look right. The design was nothing I had even seen before. It was an alien fleet. The news presenter was saying they were here, and no one knew why.
Not the best birthday I could have wanted.

June 13 2103
Diary of Dr David Soulus
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the invasion. We are made to celebrate. Today also marks my 112th birthday. I can feel it, my time is coming to an end. Not even the modern medicine miracles could save me. The aliens, Grinar; as we are forced to call them, have moved many humans to a new world. It is pleasant enough; the strongest of us are forced into slavery and the smartest into biological warfare. The rest are left to fend for them selves. It is better here then on Earth though, apparently we have a very rare metal inside our planet. Most of earth is being mined in search of that metal. It is not all bad though; as of last week I have a grandson. A beautiful boy named Jacob Soulus. If only we we’re still on Earth. I would give him chocolate. I didn’t even give my son chocolate.

June 5th 2193
Diary of Luke Soulus
We celebrated Human Rights Day today. I cannot express how proud I am with my father. Jacob Soulus: The pioneer of human rights on the Grinar world. They put it on his birthday, as recognition of his sacrifices for the good of humanity. There still is racisms though. I can’t walk down the street without being stared at. But at least we have rights now. My wife and I went to the ceremony. She is 5 months pregnant now. I just cannot wait. If it is a boy I shall call him David.

Ignitedstar 03-29-2010 06:54 PM

Sorry, The_Elite. I've been away for a long time. Let me see here...

I am curious as to why a history teacher would want you to write pieces of fiction? Regardless, I want to correct your mistakes first.
Hidden information:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
First contact was made today. I was sitting; reading about the new colonies the Americans had built on Mars, drinking tea. The television was on in the background. Something caught my attention; instead of the regular program, the news was on. It was showing something that made my heart race; giant space shuttles. That was not to much of an event, but they didn’t look right. The design was nothing I had even seen before. It was an alien fleet. The news presenter was saying they were here, and no one knew why.
Not the best birthday I could have wanted.


Your usage of the semicolon looks right, but you make a mistake that a lot of people- including myself- do. A semicolon is used to conjoin two sentences (or clauses if we want to use proper language) into one super sentence. However, a semicolon can only be used to join two complete sentences. A good example of a semicolon is, "My name is Bob; I was born in Japan." If not, you commit comma splicing. Many instructors of writing that I've met prefer that writing students do not use a semicolon because many, many people do not use it correctly. It isn't hard to use; semicolons have very easy rules compared to commas. Just remember two things:

Rule #1: A semicolon can be used to join two complete sentences together; You can use a semicolon just like this.
Rule #2: A semicolon can also be used as a "super comma", a different comma among commas. Like for when you create a themed list: I like ribbons, bowties; daisies, roses, carnations; strawberry jelly, and peanut butter.

I think it's a little strange that rule #1 says nothing about the relevance of one sentence to the other. In any case, however, if the sentences between a semicolon aren't relevant to each other, there's no point in having a semicolon and you're better off not complicating things by using a period.

Let's use your current incorrect examples and fix them:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"I was sitting; reading about the new colonies the Americans had built on Mars, drinking tea."

There are two sentence fragments. In the former, while it is clear that the character is sitting, it lacks sufficient information. Sitting? Sitting on what? A couch? Sofa? The ground? Mid air? We would never know. In the latter, there is no noun that the verb "reading" acts on. There are several ways to fix this, but how you want to fix it depends on what you prefer (and if you want to go even further, how you want to convey the mood of the story). For a simple fix, we could do something like this:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"I was sitting on the [object]; I was reading about the new colonies the Americans had built on Mars, drinking tea."

We want to keep tenses similar to keep the reference of time, so since you used "was" for sitting, I decided to use "was" for reading. After doing a lot of editing, I also have begun to realize that semicolons should not be used. While it is nice to see when people use it right, you don't need to use it. Creative writing has no rules, but you did this as an assignment.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"I was reading about the new colonies the Americans had build on Mars, drinking tea."

The actions of the character were already explained, unless you're referring to time placement. There is not enough information about what kind of tea he's drinking. The comma looks like it was added for an inexplicable reason when the moment of drinking tea can be better off described in its own sentence. I feel like the comma makes "drinking tea" just hang there.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"It was showing something that made my heart race; giant space shuttles."

You can guess what's happening here: there are more sentence fragments. That example (the sentence right before this one) is the way you want this sentence to appear. Sentences like this want to show an immediate effect due to the cause. Writing rules still apply, though: you must use complete sentences!
Hidden information:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the invasion. We are made to celebrate. Today also marks my 112th birthday. I can feel it, my time is coming to an end. Not even the modern medicine miracles could save me. The aliens, Grinar; as we are forced to call them, have moved many humans to a new world. It is pleasant enough; the strongest of us are forced into slavery and the smartest into biological warfare. The rest are left to fend for them selves. It is better here then on Earth though, apparently we have a very rare metal inside our planet. Most of earth is being mined in search of that metal. It is not all bad though; as of last week I have a grandson. A beautiful boy named Jacob Soulus. If only we we’re still on Earth. I would give him chocolate. I didn’t even give my son chocolate.


Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"Not even the modern medicine miracles could save me."

COULD, or CAN? If you use 'could', the character is already dead and the sentence doesn't make any sense in comparison to what the paragraph the sentence is in is about.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"It is pleasant enough; the strongest of us are forced into slavery and the smartest into biological warfare."

Much better, but the first sentence is fragmented.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"It is better here then on Earth though, apparently we have a very rare metal inside our planet."

Comma splice. Two separate ideas are being put in the same sentence. This sentence is better off losing the comma, being replaced by a period, and making two sentences.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
"It is better here then on Earth though, apparently we have a very rare metal inside our planet. Most of earth is being mined in search of that metal. It is not all bad though; as of last week I have a grandson."

I don't like how close these two sentences are together when they both have similar entrances. It's a repetitive statement, because the entrance of the opening sentence is repeated for no reason. By 'no reason', I mean that the paragraph the two sentences belong to do not follow a themed structure. It would be okay, then. Change one or the other, but personally I would change the latter sentence, because it's more of an afterthought than the first sentence.
Hidden information:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Elite
We celebrated Human Rights Day today. I cannot express how proud I am with my father. Jacob Soulus: The pioneer of human rights on the Grinar world. They put it on his birthday, as recognition of his sacrifices for the good of humanity. There still is racisms though. I can’t walk down the street without being stared at. But at least we have rights now. My wife and I went to the ceremony. She is 5 months pregnant now. I just cannot wait. If it is a boy I shall call him David.


Reflecting on what you've written, more descriptions should be appropriate. Alien spaceships will always look different than what we're accustomed to seeing, but I want to know if they look like anything the character has seen before. Colors? Schemes? Figureheads? Something?

I'm impressed that we gained human rights in ten years when it took African Americans (and African Europeans) about two hundred years to get basic freedoms. As much as some people might think that Africans were liked around the whole world except the 13 colonies, slave trading was initially bigger in Europe than it was in the U.S. (we can even include the eastern countries, like China, too) The only place that I can think of that was more or less favorable of Africans was the country of France, but they too had their share of problems when many African countries tried to declare independence from France after the 13 colonies won independence from Britain. My memory's a little hazy (mainly concerning dates), but I believe most of that is correct.

Jacob Soulus is using "I cannot", so we can assume that he's very educated. Even though he's a slave? Or is he? It's never explored in depth.

Instead of 'racism', the word 'prejudice' is more appropriate. Racism and prejudice are not the same thing, but a growing group of people use them interchangeably (which worries me a LOT). Racism is believing in superiority and inferiority. A racist person believes that a person's qualities (mostly dealing with skin color, family history, and ethnic background) permanently disable a person from reaching certain goals. It even works the other way around, that a person's qualities enable them to reach certain goals.

Prejudice can be the lingering hesitance after racism. Prejudice is bad opinions or feelings of people or a certain kind of people just because. There is absolutely no reason why people feel the way they do... they just do. There is absolutely no thinking beyond the 'why'. It is a severe driving power in itself. Let's use a real world example: During World War II, even though Japanese Americans did not commit any crime against their home country when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, people actively prejudiced them because of "unfavorable opinions formed beforehand that weren't given much thought." The U.S. Government even put them in internment camps. Funny thing is, it really wasn't given much thought. Out of the few smuggled Japanese immigrants that came to the United States, the ones who actually waited for their foreign documents and green cards became actual residents of the States. Also, any child born in the United States automatically acquires U.S. citizenship. You don't know how incredibly sad it is to know that a government I live in can't protect their own people from other stupid people (makes me also think that government is a reflection of people).

That's an entirely different conversation, though. What does make them the same is that people who are prejudice and those who are racist are equally stupid. I can summon all kinds of Hell if you wanna talk about what 'stupid' really means, too. Haha.

The Elite 04-22-2010 08:33 AM

Wow, thanks for the in depth review.

Quote:

I am curious as to why a history teacher would want you to write pieces of fiction? Regardless, I want to correct your mistakes first.

He was discussing civil rights (more specifically woman's rights at that time)

Quote:

Rule #1: A semicolon can be used to join two complete sentences together; You can use a semicolon just like this.
Rule #2: A semicolon can also be used as a "super comma", a different comma among commas. Like for when you create a themed list: I like ribbons, bowties; daisies, roses, carnations; strawberry jelly, and peanut butter.
Wow, i was unaware of this. Thanks

Quote:

There are two sentence fragments. In the former, while it is clear that the character is sitting, it lacks sufficient information. Sitting? Sitting on what? A couch? Sofa? The ground? Mid air? We would never know. In the latter, there is no noun that the verb "reading" acts on.
Noted, this is a diary entry though so he probably wouldn't describe his chair to much, just his basic actions. But i make the same mistakes when I write other things anyway.

Quote:

We want to keep tenses similar to keep the reference of time, so since you used "was" for sitting, I decided to use "was" for reading. After doing a lot of editing, I also have begun to realize that semicolons should not be used. While it is nice to see when people use it right, you don't need to use it. Creative writing has no rules, but you did this as an assignment.
Noted, but the example you gave sounded a bit repetitive. I was; I was? Is there another way to do it?

Quote:

The actions of the character were already explained, unless you're referring to time placement. There is not enough information about what kind of tea he's drinking. The comma looks like it was added for an inexplicable reason when the moment of drinking tea can be better off described in its own sentence. I feel like the comma makes "drinking tea" just hang there.
What about if I was to do something along the lines of:
"I was reading about the new colonies the Americans had build on Mars. A mug of earl grey tea in front of me."?

Quote:

You can guess what's happening here: there are more sentence fragments. That example (the sentence right before this one) is the way you want this sentence to appear. Sentences like this want to show an immediate effect due to the cause. Writing rules still apply, though: you must use complete sentences!
Hidden information:
Will do.

Quote:

COULD, or CAN? If you use 'could', the character is already dead and the sentence doesn't make any sense in comparison to what the paragraph the sentence is in is about
Noted.

Quote:

I don't like how close these two sentences are together when they both have similar entrances. It's a repetitive statement, because the entrance of the opening sentence is repeated for no reason. By 'no reason', I mean that the paragraph the two sentences belong to do not follow a themed structure. It would be okay, then. Change one or the other, but personally I would change the latter sentence, because it's more of an afterthought than the first sentence.
What if i was to place the sentences next to each other instead of separated?

Quote:

Reflecting on what you've written, more descriptions should be appropriate. Alien spaceships will always look different than what we're accustomed to seeing, but I want to know if they look like anything the character has seen before. Colors? Schemes? Figureheads? Something?

I would have explored them in depth; I chose not to due to a word limit.
(was that correct use of a semi-colon :emote_wink: )

Quote:

I'm impressed that we gained human rights in ten years when it took African Americans (and African Europeans) about two hundred years to get basic freedoms.
The final entry is meant to be 95 years after the second entry (100 years after the first). It is supposed to say June 5th 2193, I made a typo. So it took them almost 100 years. Which is still twice as fast as Negros, but humans still had a scientific community; Negros did not (as far as I know).

Quote:

As much as some people might think that Africans were liked around the whole world except the 13 colonies, slave trading was initially bigger in Europe than it was in the U.S. (we can even include the eastern countries, like China, too) The only place that I can think of that was more or less favorable of Africans was the country of France, but they too had their share of problems when many African countries tried to declare independence from France after the 13 colonies won independence from Britain. My memory's a little hazy (mainly concerning dates), but I believe most of that is correct.
Here's another thing about slavery. It wasn't only blacks that were traded as slaves; in the Middle East white Christians were used as slaves.

Quote:

Instead of 'racism', the word 'prejudice' is more appropriate. Racism and prejudice are not the same thing, but a growing group of people use them interchangeably (which worries me a LOT). Racism is believing in superiority and inferiority. A racist person believes that a person's qualities (mostly dealing with skin color, family history, and ethnic background) permanently disable a person from reaching certain goals. It even works the other way around, that a person's qualities enable them to reach certain goals.
I was unaware of this. Thanks.

Quote:

That's an entirely different conversation, though. What does make them the same is that people who are prejudice and those who are racist are equally stupid. I can summon all kinds of Hell if you wanna talk about what 'stupid' really means, too. Haha.
Haha, let's leave that for another time.


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