Tag Archives: Arts

Recommended Sites 1

Allow me to recommend a couple of great blogs.  The first is Paul McVeigh’s, which has almost every writing competition, interview, event of interest for writers in the UK.  I think of it as the IMDB of UK writing sites, and is a huge relief for those of us who used to look jealously over the shoulders of those reading the latest copy of Mslexia for the adverts.  http://paulmcveigh.blogspot.co.uk/

The second seems to have started out at about the same time as mine did.  It’s an attempt by the writer to read 100 classic novels and to record the results.  Lovely graphics, humorous asides.  The great thing is, she’s just started (Northanger Abbey) so you’re in at the start.  http://classicbookreader.wordpress.com

Finally, my sister sent me a link to this, which is an explanation of literary terms with reference to Disney films.  Great fun.  http://www.buzzfeed.com/moerder/fancy-literary-techniques-explained-by-disney

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Punctuation: Ellipsis

The first in an occasional series in which Dr Gapper examines a punctuation mark in the vain hope that he will stop sticking them everywhere in his writing.  Plus, if ‘Punctuation: Ellipsis’ doesn’t get people flocking to this blog, what will?

For clarity, the ellipsis is this little fella…

When I did a recent proof check of my last novel I found 197 ellipses.  How does anyone get 197 x three dots into such a small space?  It was mainly in dialogue.  People trailing off…  There’s a lot of that.  So I stopped them doing so.

The second thing was that I was using them where a character did something while speaking, eg ‘I was going to put another ellipsis in this paragraph…’ Jim wafted an artistic hand into the air ‘…but then I decided not to.’  I was so shocked by the number of them in my novel that I looked ellipsis up online and found that this could be handled with a comma.  For example, ‘I wonder sometimes if I should use such flamboyant gestures,’ Jim raised the other hand up to meet the first, ‘people might think I looked foolish.’

The third change was to stop using them when people were being interrupted.  Eg:

‘You look like an idiot, Jim.  Could I su…’

‘Don’t tell me what to do!’  Unable to gesture with his arms, Jim nodded furiously at his friend. 

Apparently, interruptions are indicated with a dash.

‘I’m not, Jim.  I just thou–‘

‘Did you?  I’m going out!’ Jim stormed out through open doorway, knocking his wrists against the top of the frame. 

I realise I lost a lot of people in the first paragraph.  But if you have stuck with me, all of this editing meant that I got the ellipsis count down from 197 to 40.  Which is still a lot, but not as many as there were.

In the next episode, Dr Gapper tackles the comma.  Like, what’s it doing following ‘episode’ in that last sentence, or after ‘Like’ in this one?  I also take requests.

Tight lines.