Allow your day job to inform your prose style

(With thanks to Andrew Trumper)

1. All of a sudden, there was
     (a.) a resounding crash,
     (b.) the sound of breaking glass
     (c.) and then an eerie silence.
2. I glanced nervously at Mary.
3. ‘Did you hear that?’
     (a.) I said.
4. Mary [hereafter referred to as “the love interest”]
     (a.) nodded
     (b.) and whispered
          (i) ‘What was it?
          (ii) It sounded like a window;
          (iii) will you go and check?’
5. I listened to the silence [see 1.c, above] for a moment.
6. ‘I’ll be right back,’
     (a.) I said.


  1. And would I find the answers at the back?


  2. I was called to the incident when a neighbour of the victim alerted us via a 999 call regarding a resounding crash and the sound of breaking glass. On arriving at the scene I found an eerie silence, and made a check of the windows.

  3. Lol. I probably would like to hear a sort of speech/business meeting like that, but to read a book or short story in that format? No thank you.

  4. I think this might be my favourite so far. Very good!

  5. Wearily, I answered the warbling phone, "Thank you for calling WBW tech support, how may I help you this evening?"

    "Yeah, this is Peter, I've got a crashed windows here. Looks like a 999 error."

    I'll tell you what your error is, buddy, I thought, and answered pleasantly, "I'm sorry to hear that sir. Were you running the Aero Glass Interface at the time?"

  6. Worryingly, as an architect, I tend to wander off into the exciting technicalities of building details and have my beta readers bring me down to earth with a giant THUNK when they enquire as to WHY the make-up of the wall is important. Bloody know it alls.

  7. Frankly, that book would seem very well organised.

  8. >5. I listened to the silence [cf. 1.a, above] for a moment.<

    The silence was in 1.c.
    And I don't think you want "cf" (meaning compare, see, you want "see" as I just used it.

    Your blog is totally brilliant BTW; I'm just nit-picky.

  9. "The silence was in 1.c.
    And I don't think you want "cf" (meaning compare, see, you want "see" as I just used it."

    And for all these years, I've thought that cf. was a neutral "see also." Thanks for the tip-off.

  10. Hehehe.

    Sometimes I do write like that unfortunately. I studied for an MBA and then went into management. Bullet points come too


  11. Nit-picker here again. Hope you don't mind, but I re-wrote it (when I should be writing much more important things in this style). :-/

    1. The narrator (hereinafter "I") and the love interest (hereinafter "Mary") heard the following sounds:
    a) a resounding crash, and
    b) breaking glass.
    Other than the dialog specified in the following paragraphs, no further sounds were heard (said lack of sound hereinafter referred to as "silence").
    2. I
    a) glanced nervously at Mary, and
    b) said "Did you hear that?"
    3. Mary
    a) nodded,
    b) whispered,
    i) "What was it?"
    ii) "It sounded like a window."
    iii) "Will you go and check?"
    4. I
    a) listened to the silence (see paragraph 1) for a moment, and
    b) said, "I'll be right back," said statement constituting a warranty and representation.

  12. Ha! Wonderful. I love the last line. All fiction should include qualifiers of the legal status of dialogue.

  13. I can do this.

    There is a room, R, containing two people; call these people P and D. Exactly one of the people in R needs money; without loss of generality, assume that P is this person, and D is the person who does not need money. Person D has money, and P knows that D has money, and P believes that if P asks D for money, D will give P money. Therefore, we can conclude that P asks D for money. We are not concerned about the exact amount of money that P asks D for, so let x refer to this amount. Person D is not willing to give x to P; therefore, D proposes that D give to P an amount of money in the interval [x/3, 2x/3]. We will now assume that P refuses this offer, and we will show that this leads to a contradiction. . . .

  14. Fantastic! Is there an appropriate mathematical way of saying that P breaks D's legs?

  15. For each leg L of D, there exists a bone B within L such that P causes B to become a disconnected set.