Friday, September 4, 2009

It's late, so what the heck, I'll do an edit on the NYT

I called up the New York Times story Nickie flagged in her post below to get started. I read the first sentence, then the first graf, then returned to the first sentence:

"The smell of death was overpowering the moment a relief worker cracked open one of the hospital chapel’s wooden doors. Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets. Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung akimbo. A pallid hand reached across a blue gown."

I thought, couldn't the first sentence have been smoother, active, tighter with an edit such as:

"The smell of death overpowered the relief worker who cracked open one of the hospital chapel's wooden doors."

Agree? Or is there something about the words "the moment" that make that sentence hum, and I'm out of tune here? Let me know what you think. (And I would add ... the rest of the graf is pretty darn good ... )