Category: Pet Peeves

Dec 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Point of View Issues

Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. A writer may choose to tell a story in first person (I was born) or in third person (he/she was born). I suppose second person (you were born) is possible, but is more appropriate for personal letters than works of fiction. Whatever the perspective, the narrator can only comment (or think about) things he or she can see, feel, touch, taste, or hear themselves. If Bill is the narrator, he can’t say “Mark knew what Bill meant,” unless, of course, Bill is psychic and can read Mark’s mind. Unless Bill’s looking in a mirror, he can’t say his face turned red, either. Instead, he’d probably say his face …

Oct 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

New Edits for an Old Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the arrival of first round edits for Whippersnapper foiling my plans to spend Labor Day weekend working on my next novel. Two days later, first round edits for the re-release of No Good Deed (formerly After Christmas Eve) appeared in my inbox. Two sets of edits to work on in addition to my duties for the day job freaked me out a bit. Some authors have no problem moving back and forth between several different stories. Not me. Immersing myself in a story takes time. Since I was already up to my eyeballs in Whippersnapper, I decided to ignore No Good Deed until I finished those edits. Going from my fourth novel (Whippersnapper) to my second …

Jan 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Extra Verbs

The monthly “Pet Writing Peeves” I’d hoped to post all year ended last June. I ran out of things to bitch about. Who knew? I’d welcome guest posts on the topic. Previous posts in the category have largely revolved around things other writers do that annoy me. My goal was to share things nobody told  me (or more likely, I just missed along the way). I’m grateful to the writers who comprise the Athens Writers Workshop for finally telling (or reminding) me. I will always <3 them. The focus of this post changed half a dozen times. The connection between several similar issues wasn’t immediately apparent to me (#SlowLearner). I’m not sure my command of grammar is sufficient to explain the what …

Jun 30, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Comma Confusion

The presence of rules suggests one correct way to punctuate a given sentence. At least, that’s how I was taught. Pity the fool who disagreed with my high school grammar teacher about the correct placement of a comma, semicolon, or colon. Rather than memorizing the complicated rules she tried to teach us, I learned to trust my gut. If in doubt, I go with the pause rule and add a comma when a pause is desired. By graduate school, aside from the occasional missing or extra comma in the reference section, I’d more or less mastered comma usage. Editors for dozens of academic publications of one kind or another agreed, rarely adding or removing commas to anything I’ve written in the last 25 years. Faith in my punctuation instincts …

May 12, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: That

Coming up with ideas for Pet Writing Peeves isn’t a problem. Finding topics that I know enough about to explain, however, is a bit more challenging. “Just because” is hardly sufficient, but that is too often the only explanation that I can offer. Such is the case with my admittedly mild aversion to the word “that.” I took grammar as an elective my senior year in high school. Ms. Stiles — a retired Army sergeant and a truly great teacher — must have schooled us on the rules. My inability to use the appropriate terminology today suggests that maybe I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve come to see “that” in my own writing as a word that is worth scrutinizing. How does …

Mar 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Pop Culture References

A good writer makes the reader feel like he or she is a witness to events in the story as they unfold. Keeping the reader’s attention focused on the action and dialogue is the goal. Errors and mistakes, when noticed, take the reader out of the story. Ignorance is bliss. Before getting published, as long as the story kept me interested, I could enjoy the most poorly written of novels. Not anymore. Now all kinds of things I never noticed — my personal pet peeves — take me out of the story. If this happens often enough, I quit reading and never finish the book.  I’m in the middle of a book by a favorite author who has had a …

Feb 24, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My New Fireplace

Fireplaces have never impressed me much. I can’t even recall my first indoor encounter with burning logs. Until I was older, none of my relatives had working fireplaces. My first childhood home didn’t have a fireplace. The second — the house my father died in — didn’t have a fireplace when we moved in. A few years later, Dad knocked out a wall in the dead of winter to add one to the basement he’d just finished. The fireplace Dad built is constructed of street bricks, manufactured in the 19th century and salvaged by Dad over many years as roads in downtown Lexington KY were repaved. The massive bricks, about ten or twelve inches wide, five or six inches deep …

Feb 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Adverbs

Adverbs top the list of my Pet Writing Peeves. These little words modify actions and usually end in -ly. They’re perfectly acceptable in lots of different situations, but should be used sparingly in novels. Paragraphs riddled with -ly words — like the one above — are fine in blog posts, status updates, conversations, tweets, news stories, and lots of other places. The occasional use in novels — especially in dialogue — isn’t a big issue with me either. But lots of adverbs in the narration are an indicator of lazy writing. A novel is supposed to show the story, not tell. Adverbs are tell words. They’re fine in conversation and in dialogue because talking is all about telling another person …

Jan 06, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: It

The members of my writers group will tell you that overuse of the word “it” is one of my pet peeves. Don’t get me wrong. “It” is a perfectly acceptable word. But most of the time, there are better options. Sometimes, “it” is used to refer to another word or phrase that comes later in the sentence. Let’s take a simple sentence like “It was a beautiful day.”  In this instance, “it” refers to the day. I’d say instead, “The day was beautiful.” That’s not much of an improvement, so I’d take a look at the sentences on either side of “the day was beautiful” to see about combining the two. Let’s say we have: Cathy walked along the shore. …