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Monday Classroom: Strengthening our Manuscripts. Kat’s Picky Sh*t

30 Jan

Some things bother me that do not bother other people. But I am right. *laughing*

These picky persnickities stick in my craw and I have to dislodge them. I only wish I could go back to my previously published works, before I knew better, and eradicate the picky sh*t I am now picky over. Although, the sneakies do still tiptoe in, because it is so ingrained into our speech. Such as:

She found herself in the bedroom. She did? That sounds like some sci-fi novel/movie. You mean she went into the bedroom and only to see another version of her? A clone? How fascinating that she could actually, literally, find herself in her bedroom. That would freak me out. I don’t want any more Me’s running around. Huhn. One of me is enough–just ask GMR.

And speaking of “literally.” If I say, “I literally typed my fingers to the bones!” Then one would expect to see my wittle hands sprouting nubs. No, I figuratively typed my fingers to bones, perhaps, but never literally—though sometimes I do worry this nub-state shall occur.

He woke with a smile on his face. Well, where else would a smile be? On his butt? The only place we have a smile is on our face, so we can strike out three words by writing/saying: He woke with a smile. We can also wonder what he’s smiling about. If he’s your partner/spouse, then maybe you should worry, hmmm. Just what, or who, was he dreaming of? Hmmmmm.

She thought to herself, why is Steven smiling this morning? Is he thinking of that redhead in the coffee shop? Why, I oughta . . . Who else would she think to? She can only think to herself, unless you are writing about mind-readers. Thinking to oneself is understood. If you strike out the “to herself” then you’d be rid of a couple more words. Booyah!

I like my ellipses to have three spaces . . . like that. Notice as well the space before and after . . . see? If there aren’t spaces…then I feel things are too crowded…stop, I need space . . . thank you. Now, up until recently, very recently, I did not like the extra ‘dot’ at the end of a sentence with ellipses, but I have to admit it is correct when you consider that the ellipses are meant to stand in for a word (or phrase), and at the end of a sentence there is always punctuation. So . . . .

Did you know when we use the word “hopefully” that we are often using it incorrectly? Instead of me explaining this, I will direct you to Grammar Girl’s explanation. Hopefully (haha just kidding) — I hope you will read and learn.

And finally! Long live the Oxford Comma! The serial comma. I love boots, kittens, and cheesecake. Why would I ever write: I love boots, kittens and cheesecake. Unless I do like kitten cheesecake, or there is some other reason to “group” the kittens and cheesecake as one entity or one grouping. Try it by saying it with a pause: I love boots (comma/pause) kittens (comma/pause) and cheesecake. Now the other way: I love boots (comma/pause) kittens and cheesecake. Ungh! Second way bugs me. Ungh!

I see commas as two things: pauses and grouper-togetherers. I believe I will write up a post just on The Comma. It seems this is a passionate debate, but as I wrote above: I am right. *laugh*

That is enough for today. I need to finish my scouring of Family Graces before I send it back to the editor. She didn’t mark much (yay!), but I consider this another opportunity to look over the manuscript to see if any of the sneakity sneakers (as in the examples I place here) have sneaked into my manuscript while I wasn’t looking. They do, you know. No matter how many times I’ve read it, or others have read it, the sneakity sneakers are danged ole sneaky.

One last thing: things never flood my mind. What about you? 

(photos taken by Kat Magendie at Lake Junaluska, Waynesville, North Carolina)

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