I've got one for ya! Setup for the sentence: The heroine is in the saddle, sitting in front of the hero. He has just reached into his saddlebags for a bottle and...
His arms coming around her, he uncorked a small bottle, took a swig and replaced the cork.
I'm told that he can't have his arms come around her AND uncork the bottle AND take a swig AND replace the cork all at the same time. I'm told that the way the sentence is written above, that's what I'm describing. Obviously, my original intent was to have these actions happening sequentially, but I loathe writing, "After his arms came around her, he uncorked a small bottle, then took a swig before replacing the cork." BLAH! It's wordy and sloppy. Help! Thanks! Arial
Hey, commenters! How would you revise the sentence?
I have to ask Arial a question. Where is the bottle? In the saddlebags? Where are they in relation to the heroine?
Now let's have some suggested revisions!
Actually, this gives me the opportunity to mention a new guideline, but I haven't really formulated it yet. I'm just thinking that the complexity of the action sequence (and the time it takes) might dictate whether it's more than one sentence. I see too often that action is rendered too quickly, so the experience of the sequence is lessened. All the action pieces are made minor, and of equal importance.
So in the above, if this is a romance, it's a lot more important that his arms go around her than that he uncorks the bottle, but putting this all in one sentence makes it seem like they're of equal importance.
(Also it's hard to tell whose POV this is-- either way, though, the arms going around her should be FELT -- perception, emotion, not just movement, should be narrated here, I think.)
So I guess I'm saying, first, I wouldn't do it all in one sentence. And then, I would go into the POV of the POV character and narrate a bit of how it feels, what it means.
Okay, suggestions! What would you all do? Arial, what do you think would help? Which of the suggestions would you think would work best?