Nested Clauses – And And And And

I took advantage of a great free critique offer on the first 700 words of my novel from Flourish Editing. I’d like to thank them for some great tips to help me with rewrites, especially learning that I ‘have a tendency to use long sentences peppered with nested clauses’ – I don’t know what they mean 😉 They were absolutely right of course. I do recommend you look them up if you are working on a first novel too.

And so another writing day is begun. And what have I done? That’s right; two sentences starting with ‘and.’ If John Lennon can do it and sell squillions of Christmas singles then so can I. Except the selling Christmas singles bit…

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Sure, I write funny. See. ‘Funny.’ That was easy.

I thought it was time I wrote a blog post of my own. Don’t be alarmed. (Unless you’re one of those Nissan GTR’s my husband has been lusting over. If so, as you were). I’ll try to be brief.

Work on the Mrs David Dando rewrites are still going strong, particularly between midnight and 3am! But I’m mindful of the need to give my brain a change of scenery and work on other things. Because watching Professor Brian Cox isolating his DNA in The Wonders of Life this week with my tongue hanging out just wasn’t cutting it. So, I’ve been looking with interest at this year’s Sitcom Trials. Can I invent a laugh out loud outline and four shiny new characters in just twenty days? Meh, why not? The result may not be as tidy as it could be, but I can’t let an opportunity to get creative in a new direction for a time slide. It’s just ten minutes of script, right? And some important people will read my stuff. And maybe one of them will laugh. And maybe I should remember that I’m not John Lennon before writing another of these ‘and’ sentences…

If you are a follower of my blog, or even having a nosy five minutes and are still here to read this bit, (you are still here aren’t you? You are? Good!) then you’re possibly an aspiring comedy writer yourself. So, leave your sitcom ideas in the comments box below, I’ll steal the one I like best and get the job done in ten days instead of twenty. But, more seriously, let’s all have a shot at the Sitcom Trials. Then the winner can come up here to Scotland to meet me, most likely sat in the audience crying into my Irn Bru. And good luck to each and every one of you that does as you’re told.

Here’s a snippet from a sitcom script I wrote last year, that won’t be in the running but might make you get scribbling one yourself:

FORTY YEAR OLD SINGLE MUM CILLA IS AT THE FRONT OF THE QUEUE FOR THE CHANGING ROOMS IN A LADIES CLOTHES SHOP, WAITING TO TRY ON A DRESS.  HER TEENAGE SON ROBBIE IS NEARBY, LEANING ON A RACK FULL OF LACEY WOMEN’S LINGERIE.

Cilla: (TO THE SHOP ASSISTANT): Excuse me, has anyone about my age and size ever gone in there to try this on and come out crying?

THE SHOP ASSISTANT SHRUGS.  CILLA’S MOBILE RINGS AND SHE STEPS BACK OUT OF THE QUEUE TO ANSWER IT, SWIPING ROBBIE OVER THE HEAD WITH THE DRESS AS SHE SPIES HIM FIDDLING WITH A PAIR OF KNICKERS ON THE RACK.

Robbie:  Wha….?

Cilla: (INTO THE PHONE) Hello, I’m trying on various fashions for Vogue at the moment and my time is limited.  Is that Milan?

(THE CALLER IS HER SISTER, JEAN. SHES DISCUSSING THEIR MOTHER). 

Jean: She won’t go.  I’ve done my best; arranged everything.  I even gave her sugar to coax her.

Cilla: Really?  Maybe Dr McLaren will subscribe mild laxatives or something?

Jean: I’m not talking about her bowels, you pillock! Oh God, tell me I don’t have to start talking about her bowels.  Are they next to go?  What if I have to remind her to go to the toilet?  Or worse – take her!

Cilla: Yes, you will totally have to take her to the toilet.  How are your wiping skills?

Robbie: Eww, that’s gross!

Cilla: Robbie, you mustn’t think of your Gran that way.

Robbie: I wasn’t!  Aww, I am now!  (SEE’S A PRETTY GIRL LOOKING AT HIM): I’m not, I’m not.

The end.  No, I mean of the snippet – not the episode. And there I went and nested a clause again 😉

Happy writing!

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4 thoughts on “Nested Clauses – And And And And”

  1. I think a nesting clause sounds kind of cute – as long as it doesn’t start making that annoying soft palette, clicky snoring noise. Thanks for making me giggle. Now, I really have to get on with some work today…

    1. Thanks Gabriela. Funnily enough, after I’d posted this I spoke to Flo (@blueprinteditor), the lady who is doing the full proof read & edit for me and told her what was said. She has read a good bit of Mrs David Dando by now and said “I hope you are not changing your style too much. I felt you were writing in a very attractive, funny and readable ‘stream of conciousness’ style, which worked very well with both the character and story.” She told me not to take too many of them out. I do tend to write from my head – almost like an internal conversation spilled out. It is, as Flo says, ‘part of my writing style.’ Good to get lots of different perspectives though for the rewrites 🙂 And thank you for following!

      1. This goes to show that it’s important to trust the person who is editing your book. Flo’s advice sounds like it’s coming from a good angle – she understands what the book is trying to do and that the voice is important. I think stream of conscious writing can be really engaging, because it’s like the person is right there talking to you. Good luck!

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