2

I smiled and gave her a nod. I was beginning to like her more, plus I realized we had some things in common. Like our attempts of suicide. The difference was striking, of course. Kate’s problem had been physical, whereas mine had been psychological. Kate had been motivated by an excess of sensations, whereas for me had been a lack of them.

Or should I write instead:

I smiled and gave her a nod. I was beginning to like her more, plus I realized we had some things in common. Like our attempts of suicide. The difference was striking, of course. Whereas Kate’s problem had been physical, mine had been psychological. Whereas Kate had been motivated by an excess of sensations, for me had been a lack of them.

There's something awkward about the wording, but I can't pinpoint what it is.

  • Just a side note, I would change the 2nd/3rd sentence to be: "I was beginning to like her more. I also realized we had some things in common, like our attempts of suicide." "Like" should be part of the previous sentence. – Nick Bedford Oct 15 '14 at 23:45
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It's "whereas." It's a formal and slightly clunky word. Plus you're using the exact same sentence structure twice in a row, but only twice. Once is fine, and three times is an effect, but two looks like a mistake.

Kate’s problem had been physical, but mine had been psychological. She had been motivated by an excess of sensations. My problem was a lack of them.

ETA Off Paul's excellent comment, here's a better version:

Kate’s problem had been physical, but mine had been psychological. She suffered from an excess of sensations. I lacked them altogether.

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  • 1
    @PaulA.Clayton I think your second comment ruins the melody of the phrasing in an attempt to change up the parallels. You are absolutely correct about not using "problem" twice. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Oct 14 '14 at 14:57
  • Oh my. And I thought I was struggling with this because I wasn't a native English speaker. – Alexandro Chen Oct 14 '14 at 15:09
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Just as a side note, I would alter the second/third sentence to this.

I was beginning to like her more. I also realized we had some things in common, like our attempts of suicide.

"Like" should be part of the previous sentence. With that in mind, the two examples in Lauren Ipsum's answer are great. Here's another:

I smiled and gave her a nod. I was beginning to like her more. I also realized we had some things in common, like our attempts of suicide. That's where the similarities ended, however. Kate was motivated by an excess of physical sensations. Mine was psychological. I lacked them altogether.

Your paragraph is intriguing though. I felt like riffing on this, if that's okay.

...

I've always wished I could feel more; to feel excited, angry, surprised or to love. It never came, though. Somehow I could never react the way normal people do. In thinking about Kate, it was as if she wanted what I had, and yet we both wanted out.

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