by editor Beverly Horne
One of the writer's main goals is to keep the reader's eyes
on the page, engrossed in the story. If the reader has to stop and parse what
you’ve just written to figure out what’s going on, they’ve just been sucked out
of the scene. A common error is to show an effect before the cause. For
“What are you doing?” She ran out of his path. Looking up,
she saw the silver blade of his shovel swinging forward.
Here, the heroine is engaging in an action, but the timing
is out of order. Our brains have to figure out what happened, go back, and
piece the events together. That’s bad. The correct order should be:
Looking up, she saw the silver blade of his shovel swinging
forward. She ran out of his path. “What are you doing?”
(Or have her talk while running. Only the TSTL heroine would ask the question first before getting out of the way of that deadly shovel aimed at her head.)
This makes sense. We see the action. The character reacts.
Then she has the chance to make a retort.