I have been writing short stories for the last few months, and have a bad habit of overusing certain sentence structures. Now I think I overuse a particular remedy to the original problem. Oh dear. When I started thinking about it, I was suddenly unsure if it is even a valid structure.
To take a simple example:
He stomped off, muttering to himself.
The intention is that both actions happen at the same time. Alternatives include:
- He stomped off while muttering to himself.
- He muttered to himself as he stomped off.
I dislike the second version, as stomping off is clearly the more important action; stomping off without muttering is closer to my meaning than muttering without stomping off.
My intuition is that it is valid, but I have struggled to find out what this type of sentence structure is called. I think it is a compound sentence, but the second part seems to be dependent on the first because of the time correspondence.
If it is valid - and I know this may be purely subjective - is it a good style? Do you think it is better or worse than the alternatives I gave? Is there a good variation I missed?