Writing Glitch #295

Today’s glitch:


One assumes an explosion is unexplained unless it is stated otherwise. Delete unexplained as an unnecessary word.

Spell out numbers instead of using numerals: three, not 3.

The em-dash is wrong. Replace it with a period. (That’s a full stop, for those of you who speak UK English like the creator of this example.)

Always capitalize the pronoun I.

Without a comma after devastation, the sentence says the devastation itself is holding the crisp packet. I’m quite certain that’s not what the writer meant. 🙂

Three minutes ago, I was watching TV and eating snacks when there was an explosion outside. Now I’m staring at total devastation, holding a crisp packet full of dust!

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 #295

  1. M. Oniker says:

    Noted mistakes aside, I was left wondering with this one. So the character steps out into “total devastation.” The author doesn’t actually say the character was inside before the explosion and went out afterwards to survey the damage, but that’s the implication I got. The character is close to the blast, so close, in fact, that the bag of crisps are pulverized. Since the character was eating snacks before the blast, I’m assuming s/he didn’t just find some smashed snacks on the wander outside. That means the shock wave went through wherever the character was. If there was total devastation, and a snack bag in hand was pulverized, I would think the character might be experiencing a wee bit of physical trauma, too. Noting that I am not a demolitions expert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read (and edit) too much SF/F… I just assumed there was something about the character that made him/her immune to whatever totaled both the house and the potato chips. You’re right, though: under normal circumstances, anything that did that much damage to buildings (and clearly sent a shock wave through the air, too — that has to be what powdered the snacks) would kill any humans in the affected area. At the VERY least, this person would have serious bruises, broken eardrums…

      Liked by 1 person

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