Saturday, July 23, 2005

Here I am, once again*

The previously aforementioned completed first draft (now if that isn't a mouthful!) has inspired me to go back and edit an older piece, a favorite of mine, and reading through it, it reminds exactly why I don't like re-reading. I just find it amazing how in several years my punctuation, grammar and style can change so drastically; I do think I'm more correct now than I was then and thank GOODNESS, I have discovered the goodness of contractions. So in a nutshell, here are the 'mistakes' I picked out during the editing of this story:

1. Contractions good. Very, very good. There are situations where contractions won't make sense, but in general, not using them stilts the dialogue.

2. Someone is speaking, the comma only comes after the 'said' or the 'saidism', and not after something like: He laughed, "You know what I mean." There should be no comma after laughed.

3. And speaking of 'saidisms', get rid of them. Eviscrete them. 'Said' is a perfectly good word to use and should be used many, many times.

4. Sometimes less dialogue is more, especially when chunks of dialogue are whiny. Whiny gets old after a while. Characters ought to be flawed, but there's a fine line there.

5. I'm the queen of redundancy and while I've gotten better at it, going through this story leaves me feeling tired, as if I were writing memos for Very Big Insurance Company, where the style was very often: This is what we're going to tell you, now we're telling you, this is what we've told you.

* Pop culture quiz! What's the reference?

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