Writing Glitch #381

Today’s second glitch:


No, you don’t have to actually write about this character (although you’re welcome to use the original writing prompt as a writing prompt if you want to).

If you’re using they as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, the correct reflexive form is themself, not themselves. (If you don’t like using themself as the reflexive form, don’t use they as a singular pronoun.)

Get rid of the em-dash after die. There’s no reason for it to be there. If it’s meant to indicate a dramatic pause or whatever, use an ellipsis instead.

Delete the comma after flames. (A compound predicate — that’s the entire verb part of the sentence — doesn’t require a comma except where meaning would be unclear otherwise, which is not the case here. Ignore the prepositional phrases in the predicate, if that helps you make sense of it: They’re enveloped and warded. See?)

We’re talking about a single person, right? One person cannot be the descendants, plural, of anyone. Change to descendant.

Write about a character who finds themself trapped within a burning building. The catch? Just as they think they’re about to die, they’re enveloped by the flames and warded from further damage. Double catch? This character has no idea, but they’re the descendant of a forgotten race.


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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