Monday, March 18, 2013

I Forgot How to Use Commas

So I apparently forgot how to use commas.

I've been going through EMPIRE OF CRANES AND SPIDERS, cutting down words (my current goal is to get it from 125k to 115k before I send it off to the next batch of readers), and the plethora of typos in this manuscript aside, I'm facing an infestation of commas.

Comma Bug

I know how to use a comma. I swear I do. But crazed draft-Charlie does not. I wish I had saved the really horrid ones, but here are some examples I found from Saturday's read:

I apologize if the picture runs off the side of the page...

||EDIT: Oh oh, here's a good one from Sunday's read:

Her brain seemed to swim, and she clasped her hands together in front of her, gripping wads of long yellow sleeves, in attempts to keep them from sweating.||

Yeah, I guess some of those commas could technically go where they are, but it sounds stupid. And these are the nice violations. Seriously.

Funny thing is that I haven't found these violations in THE PAPER MAGICIAN, which I wrote after ECS. Maybe bad commas are a symptom of my wordy-spells, and not my rush-spells. All well. I'll be utilizing my backspace button a lot this week.

Is there any punctuation you struggle with, or absurd problems you find when editing manuscripts? My biggest one is writing "back" instead of "bag." Every time. I kid you not.


  1. I'm not always sure about those commas and when you have to use them. And I often have to cut the wordy words out.

  2. Commas are the bane of my existence. Apparently I use them more when I pause to think while writing then where they actually go. Same with capitals. Thus whenever I stop to think of a word there will be a comma and whenever I start again there will be a capital. They're scattered all over the MS.

  3. It could be worse. At least they aren't comma splices. :)

  4. I always have issue when to use a , vs a . inside a quote (as in, somebody's talking). Same goes for thoughts. I never get it right.

  5. S'alright. I've been accused of being a dash whore.

  6. Haha, the bright side is that I would MUCH rather see an abundance of commas than an absence of commas in the stuff I read. The absence is far more common, and it makes my eyes go crossed from the run-on feelings.

    My personal overuse is the double dash. I can't get enough of it--even when I don't need it--and I just--can't--stop. ;)