What You Learned and What You Should Know



 
In the ninth grade, you learned that subjects were doers and actions were verbs

Now you have to learn that subjects might be characters, but not necessarily; that verbs might be actions, but not necessarily.

Readers prefer that subjects be characters and actions be verbs, but writers can displace actions from verbs by turning them into nouns, and they can displace characters from subjects by moving them elsewhere or deleting them altogether.

When your prose departs from the expected correlation between the story elements and the sentence elements,
* readers will judge your prose to be indirect, abstract, complex, dense, and unclear
* readers will have to work harder to translate from your words to a story that they can remember
* readers will have to fill in any missing story elements from their own knowledge
* readers are more likely to interpret your sentence in a way you did not expect or want.