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I am new at writing and it frustrates me to no end that I cannot describe a scene properly or that I cannot convey my thoughts efficiently to my fingers.

I have been goven advice that its just better to write a shitty sentence first and just come back to it later to improve it - and so i did just that. But for some reason, I am still sitting here for over 20 minutes knowing my sentence is shit but not knowing how to iprove it. Can anyone give me some help?

The sentence:

“I leaned back slightly, my emotions clouded in surprise, relief and guilt. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to compose myself.”

What I want to convey here is the character feeling those 3 emotions all at once then trying to compose himself. “My emotions clouded in...” just feels so wrong. I dont know how to replace it.

  • Welcome to the site! Unfortunately requests for revisions are off topic here. You might check this similar question, both for help with your specific problem, and for a guide on how to ask a question like this in a more general way. writing.stackexchange.com/questions/36038/… – Chris Sunami supports Monica May 10 '18 at 16:20
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    Welcome to Writing.SE! I'm very sorry, but writing critiques are off-topic here. You may be able to ask for advice in the chatroom, once you've acquired a little rep, but for now I'm voting to put this question on hold. – F1Krazy May 10 '18 at 16:20
  • Welcome! As expected, your question has been closed. But I'll try to help with comments that are more about HOW to write this rather than WHAT to write. I think you have a couple of problems here: Firstly, you are telling the reader rather than showing them what your character is feeling. If you really want to improve your writing, read some how-to books on showing versus telling. I particularly liked SHOWING AND TELLING IN FICTION by Marcy Kennedy. – GGx May 10 '18 at 17:00
  • Without the rest of the scene it’s impossible to tell you how to rework it, and as above, this isn’t the place for ‘what’ to write, it’s a place for ‘how’ to write. But I would say, secondly, you’re trying to do too much with two brief sentences: He’s leaning back (but only slightly), he’s closing his eyes, taking a deep breath and trying to compose himself. He’s full of emotion, feeling guilty, surprised, and yet relieved. And all those emotions are clouded for some reason. I think you’re struggling because you’re trying to make two sentences do too much work. Take your time. – GGx May 10 '18 at 17:00
  • What a character is experiencing doesn’t have to come out all at once. Tease it out over the scene if you can, but for the love of all that is well-written, show it, don’t tell it. Whatever has just happened to him, give both your character and your reader time to process it. For example, you could: Give some thought to what his primary emotion/initial response would be and show only that gut reaction, physically, with a description of movement (action). Then give him a moment to process that surprise with a few thoughts spinning in his head (exposition) that move him towards relief. – GGx May 10 '18 at 17:01

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