How to Tick Off an Author . . . by Claire O’Sullivan

I love throwing caution to the wind, finding new ways to tick off a writer. For fun. My views are skewed, I admit. Have fun. Needle anyone (authors, editors, agents, publishers -well not too much. OK some). Pardon my blog. Or don’t.

This is the month of NaNoWriMo, so pardon if the tips of my fiery fingers scorch a tad. I have been busy planning this year. Pantsing—entertaining as it is to watch my characters run amuck—tends to take more time in that heinous process of editing. Hemingway said ‘write drunk, edit sober.’ How many days after editing sober, do I just want to get plastered?

OK, so I don’t drink, but that’s not the point. I’ve learned on Scribophile, with much encouragement, that sometimes, story trumps structure. ‘The use of verbs is illegal.’ Not! Fragments, disallowed pretty much in non-fiction, are there to give the character in fiction a break and allow the reader to see. If every sentence is a fragment, however . . . you might want to reconsider your structure. Yes, I said structure.

‘Please clarify your sentences with passive voice, and even glue words at times.’ Do take care. That one I agree with. But that chases me back to one of those books. The life of a writer. Craft. I am still and always be (Star Trek – your friend) working to improve my writing.

Somewhere along the line, someone has appointed a famous author as our grammar guru. He’s a fantastic writer. Every word counts. I look to his works to improve mine. However madly.

There is no such thing as writing the tense that editors and publishing houses will only accept. Wait. There are, I’ve run across them. Some of them are willing to bend, while others tend to cling to the 1920’s Strunk and White (Stink and Poo) that we’ve all come to despise. The Chicago Manual (of Serfdom and Labor Abuse) runs right along that category, in my eyes.


Who said exclamation points should be banned? Really, I ask, I plead. That’s not in the Chicago Manual of Style, why therefore, should exclamation marks be banned?

“Watch out,” Greg said. (BLAH)

“Watch out!” (if you have an action, that works, but if a dialogue tag is not necessary, the ! is fine! Just not too many! Or the agent will fine you! With a slush pile! Get it?) Here’s one we need to agree on: after an ! or a ? don’t do this: ?! or !! or ???. Please. And don’t do this: I. Must. Stop. Now.

Last—please someone make the stupid comma rules one way or the other. As our British friends say, ‘that’s just mental.’

So, forgive me my blog of insanity, my authortorial (can’t say editorial, I’m not an editor . . . ) incorrectness, and my refusal to check grammar at this moment. I have to run off to NanoWrimo—I’m already behind!

About the author

Christian romantic comedy action drama thrills and chills mystery and or suspense. Thems be da tings I like to write about, Christians who love the Lord, part of His band of misfits, we keep falling down, and He keeps raising us up again. His gift, not our works. Most important, He will never snuff out a barely glowing light (but He’ll chase you down, well, all of us. And that heat keeps getting turned up until we are liquid, and He skims the dross. Yay. That’s fun)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s