Rika nodded to the person, and closing her eyes, she blew out the candles, making the room return to its original darkness. Applause filled the room once again. After that people raised from their seats to congratulate Rika.

Just then, the camera started to shake.

At first Eri though the girl was the one moving it. But then she realized what was in motion was the place. A roaring sound suddenly came. Plates and wine glasses began dancing on the tables. A woman screamed.

“What the hell did you wished for?” shouted the guy sitting next to Rika. “The end of the world?”

“No!” Rika said, glancing nervously around. “Just that all of you live a long and prosperous life!”

“It's an earthquake, stupid!” the girl filming said to the guy. “An earthquake!”

Everyone started panicking. Some crawled rapidly under the tables while others rushed towards the entrance. It got blocked in no time. Paintings tumbled to the floor. The crystals of the chandeliers started falling like frozen rain. A lamp dropped from the ceiling, exploding into thousands of glass pieces.

Did I use too many started and began in the passage above? Is that the case, how can I rewrite the sentences without them?

  • 3
    Just take them out: "the camera shook", "glasses were dancing on the tables", "Everyone panicked", "crystals were falling like frozen rain". Do the rewrites sound better? Take them. If not, leave them. Sep 24, 2013 at 13:41
  • “What the hell did you wished for?” -> “What the hell did you wish for?”
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:46
  • @John Smithers Well, that's the point. I think they sound strange without them. Or is just my imagination? Sep 24, 2013 at 13:46
  • 1
    @AlexandroChen, if you think they sound strange without them, leave them in. That's the point. Sep 24, 2013 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


Short answer: they are not overused.

Long answer: consider that to the reader, the things you are describing will sound like that have only just started happening as they read.

In other words, at first only the camera is shaking. Eri thinks some. There is a noise. Then the plates and glasses shake. Then someone screams. There is conversation. Then everyone panics. Then people run. Then the chandelier begins dropping its crystals.

In other words, the shaking slowly works its way up to being more dramatic. More and more things start shaking.

This seems wrong to me. Eri might have time to think and there might be a pause while the audience is stunned, but everything ought to be shaking by the time someone is screaming "earthquake!" (which indicates that people are already panicking) and stuff should already be falling. It doesn't seem like there ought to be time to talk about what was wished for, etc. before people start running.

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