Friday, May 20, 2011

Little Things

Just for the record, the folks at Google have new and improved Blogger past my comfort zone. I'm just a blogger, no big deal -- but I shouldn't have to go into and edit HTML every fucking time I save a blog draft.

At this time, I cannot make the photo appear at the upper left corner of the blog. That's just ridiculous, because I've done so for just about every picture that has ever appeared in this blog.

Ah, there, I did it, but only by adding a space after I'd typed a few paragraphs. It shouldn't have to be that difficult.

The picture is of a weed called "speedwell." Its blue and white flowers are no more than 3/8 of an inch across. Prolific and widespread, it can make a lovely little free-hanging plant in a planter, or it can take over your garden in a matter of days. I love it, and I also mercilessly remove it from the vegetable plantings.

Commas are little things, too. But unlike speedwell, it seems that some modern writers have forgotten that commas need to separate clauses in compound sentences; they have forgotten that the eye as well as the ear needs to take a break while assimilating information in a story. Most of what I edit in the Piker Press is addition of commas.

I just finished editing a manuscript for an aspiring writer. Almost on every page, I marked up where commas were needed in compound sentences. Bottom line: if you don't want to use commas, break up your long sentences into shorter ones. Think about what you want to say in a paragraph before you write it ... or go back and re-think it after you do. Use the damn comma key, it's not that hard to find with your fingers. Mutter your sentences aloud as you write, and wherever you need to stop and take a breath, or pause to see if your audience hears you, add punctuation.

Yes, some writers can get away with run-on sentences and lack of punctuation, I do agree to that. But most can't.

Here's another little thing: Lillian was at a party this afternoon. At some point, she went to the hostess and asked if she could help in setting out noshes and napkins and things for the guests. The hostess was stunned, and called the congregation of party-ers to note Lil's little offer to help.

Add your commas to your sentences, and teach your kids how to be polite.

Little things mean a lot.


Bernie said...

I, personally, as a writer, could not agree, heartily I might add, with you more, and for that matter, with all those who use commas correctly, not that there are that many, users that is, not commas.

Aser said...

Consider yourself pantsed for your impertinence.