Friday, May 14, 2010


I confess - sometimes when I'm flipping through writing magazines and journals, I'll stop to read the ones titled THE 8 WRITING BLUNDERS YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE or THE 3 THINGS AGENTS DON'T WANT TO SEE - not to find tips to improve my writing necessarily. Usually it's to make myself feel better. You know the articles - when to use whom vs. who and avoid using 'ly dialogue tags. Part of me figures: I have a degree in Creative Writing, I understand grammar - certainly I can check off these "blunders" and give myself that much needed pat on the back. (Yes, I realize this is arrogant and self-serving - but that is a topic for another post!)

Well, GULP, I found a blunder. Yes. I'm sure there are many more I am guilty of, but I found a blunder that seems so basic now that I read it that I can hardly believe I succumbed for so long!

The blunder was the use of ellipses in your writing. Now I've used ellipses often in my dialogue and thought nothing of it. Heck, I've used ellipses in almost all of my blog postings! But according to this article, ellipses are cowardly and lazy. In real life people's speech and conversation doesn't just die off. Real people simply stop speaking (thus a period) or their thought is interrupted (a dash). How true. To use ellipses in your dialogue, then, would seem to be a way to rush the dialogue without paying true homage to the character's feelings and intent.

Perhaps even more humbling then realizing I've been making this blunder for so long is thinking about how many ellipses I need to now go back and fix!

I'm sure you all have many more blunders, I can add to my list. Feel free!


  1. Elipses would indicate someone leaving a pause, either to deliberately invite a response, or as a way of showing something odd... about the speech pattern. You might not do it in real speech, but I'll bet your lecturers did, whenever they wanted somebody to actually respond.

    Writing "rules" are irritating anyway, because they tend to imply that the only way of writing well is that of their author.

  2. Of course, that is just one person's opinion. Has an agent pointed that out to you? But go with your instincts.

    My blunders? Ah, if I named them all, I would get so depressed that I'd make Sad Sack look happy! Have a healing weekend. Love your blog. Roland

  3. That's person's blunder is another's brilliance!