Writing Glitch #229

Today’s glitch:


This one originated as a character description, which is (I assume) why it isn’t a complete sentence.

A vampire with a rare genetic disorder that causes him to be burned by the moon rather than by the sun.

Notice that the comma after moon was deleted. This is the only required correction.

Also notice the addition of by before the sun. While it should be clear in this sentence what the author meant (the vampire is burned by the moon), sometimes leaving out a preposition can result in the sentence saying something completely different from what is intended, and you cannot always rely on context or common sense to make the real meaning obvious. The uncorrected sentence is sort of saying that the sun is burned by the moon.

(The character thus described is unquestionably a fantasy character, because there is no way someone who isn’t harmed by the strong ultraviolet radiation from the sun would be harmed by the much, much weaker radiation reflected by the moon. In fact, there are real humans who will die if they ever receive direct sunlight for more than a few minutes, and they can take moonlight without trouble. If you want to write a character like the moon-phobic vampire, you shouldn’t even try to give a scientific-sounding explanation such as ‘it’s a rare genetic disease.’)



About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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2 Responses to Writing Glitch #229

  1. M. Oniker says:

    This is sad. This is what came into my head when I read your post (meaning, this song was lurking there all this time until something nudged it awake). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzlK0OGpIRs The lyrics kinda actually fit. Ah, when good neurons go bad…

    Liked by 1 person

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