4.20.2006

I don't write no stinkin' run-on sentences.

My instructor for this writer's "workshop" wrote that I had a run-on in the paragraph I turned in to show description. I did not have a run-on in the whole thing--it may be long. It may be awkward, but it is no run-on.

Don stared at his wife when she flowed into the room, and he almost poured the milk on the countertop rather than over his cereal. He fought the urge to physically soak her in to his own skin--from her red-painted toes, up her slim muscular legs to her flat stomach and across her lips that he thought tasted like cherries. He sighed and shook his head, grabbed his spoon and dunked it into his full bowl. A splash of milk landed on the back of his spoon hand. Don turned away, instead, imagining her as she grabbed her keys from the entry table where she left them last night, how she let her long fingers spread wide, letting those wonderful scratching nails barely brush the entryway table. He dragged his fingers through his hair, pausing at the crown of his head as if to hold himself down. The door clicked closed and a hum of the garage door filled their tiny house, then the gentle purr of her Mercedes Cabriolet. Don closed his eyes, bringing his milk-splattered hand to his mouth and drinking it before he jaunted up the stairs for a shower.

10 comments:

Mama Judy said...

Correct me if I'm wrong isn't a run-on sentence where you put two sentences together without any punctuation in between to separate them you can't tell where one starts and the other ends if you do add your punctuation then it no longer remains a run-on sentence it is now written correctly?

Tracy said...

It is written correctly. I wrote out what I turned in to her. You're right: a run-on is two sentences shoved together without punctuation, but I don't have that. The subject (Don) is written and then a series of verb phrases separated by commas. There's no law against that! For clarity, I would need to take out "instead" and just reword the whole thing:

Don turned away, instead. He imagined her as she grabbed her keys from the entry table where she last left them last night, letting her long fingers spread wide with those wonderful scratching nails barely brushing the entryway table.

Mama Judy said...

You had all kinds of punctuation! There is nothing that looks like two sentences shoved together. I mean, if you put a period after instead and started the next sentence with imagining, it wouldn't have been right. Therefore, it did not have two complete sentences shoved together.
Ok, now what else can we gripe about? How about men? They're always good for a laugh!

Tracy said...

Oh, MEN. They ARE funny, aren't they? Can't complain today, though. He fixed breakfast, and he's starting to help fix dinner all the time. Perhaps this is because he's afraid I'll start throwing things again.

Gotta put that fear in them, y'know.

Tommy said...

I will send this to the great guru goddess of general grammar. No not gramma...Hannah. I already know that if you say it has no run on, then it has no run on. But when Hannah says it has no run on, it will be scribed in stone and set in to a monument in some important building in Washington somewhere. I know, I know you think I'm just kidding. It was the "important building in Washington" bit wasn't it? Wasn't it?

Tracy said...

Well, I'd appreciate Hannah's comment on the grammar issue. I didn't think it was a run-on, MSWord didn't think it was a run-on and Mama Judy didn't think it was a run-on. So...the lady who is doing this lecture-only "workshop" is a romance writer who doesn't like to read much student material. I understand that she is busy; I understand that she has to read fast; I understand that her life needn't be second to what we write. But. <--------note extreme fragment. She could take a little time with what she is grading. Plus, the guy in my descriptive paragraph, Don, was simply thinking about his wife and how many of us think in complete sentences?

Tracy said...

Well, I'd appreciate Hannah's comment on the grammar issue. I didn't think it was a run-on, MSWord didn't think it was a run-on and Mama Judy didn't think it was a run-on. So...the lady who is doing this lecture-only "workshop" is a romance writer who doesn't like to read much student material. I understand that she is busy; I understand that she has to read fast; I understand that her life needn't be second to what we write. But. <--------note extreme fragment. She could take a little time with what she is grading. Plus, the guy in my descriptive paragraph, Don, was simply thinking about his wife and how many of us think in complete sentences?

Tracy said...

Okay--don't know how I double-posted the last comment. Also, don't know how to delete it, yet.

Hannah Hornung said...

Hi! I'm the Hannah of Tommy's mention. I'm not sure about the "guru" part, but I really like the "goddess" part. Thanks, Tommy!!
The sentence in question is not a run-on; however, the use of "instead" in that particular place would be considered a modifier error: one doesn't know if the writer is modifing the first or the second part of the sentence.
I would also make one other clarification in that sentence. When using "a series of verb phrases," one needs to have parallelism; each phrase needs to use the same verb tense. If two of the three phrases use --ing verbs, then the third one needs to do so as well. The re-write is MUCH clearer!!

Now, at the risk of sounding teacher-ish, there is a bona-fide run-on sentence:
"The door clicked closed and a hum of the garage door filled their tiny house, then the gentle purr of her Mercedes Cabriolet."
The writer needs a comma after "closed."

All that said, I like what you've written, Tracy. What else have you done?

Tommy said...

That's a good point. I've been messing with fiction lately, and that was one of the first things I encountered. No longer does the proper essay style of near perfect grammar (don't laugh, Hannah) apply when it comes to monologue and dialogue.