Writing Glitch 985

Today’s glitch:

Oh, for cryin’ out loud! *shakes head* 19hundreds? Really? Change that to 1900s (preferred: year numbers are one of the few times when it’s correct to use numerals instead of spelling out the words) or nineteen-hundreds (less common/very old-fashioned but still acceptable), but do not use that weird hybrid thing. (No, friends, I’m not saying hybrids are weird; I’m just saying that made-up word is.)

Onething in perticularCan’t even… Must come back and try again later… *shudder*

How the example ought to look:

It’s the 1900s! This really doesn’t matter to you, what with the whole living forever deal that happened, like, centuries ago. Except for one thing in particular you did that was pretty illegal but super worth it. The best part was that it was caught with a photograph at the right moment. You’ve still got that picture, right?

It’s still partly nonsense, but now it’s coherent nonsense.

If it “doesn’t matter to you,” why the exclamation mark on the first sentence? (It’s not a mark that belong on a meh, whatever sort of statement. Who goes around shouting, “I’m indifferent!”? Other than my friend Haphazard Steve back at university, I mean, but we never believed him.)

Now, I could tell you about how the diction in the example is entirely wrong for this little scenario, given that some of the slang and colloquialisms used didn’t exist in the 1900s, but you probably don’t care about that. (The camera used was almost certainly a Brownie, by the way, which was the first “snapshot” camera enabling the photographer to take a picture of whatever, whenever.) I could tell you that a person with the attitude implied in the example would not “live forever” unless they’re truly immortal rather than merely unaging, because they clearly have no sense for how to avoid undue attention and dangerous situations. (Photography and secret identities: not thematic elements I should be making eye contact with, considering who was in that movie I watched yesterday.) Think those who can’t be killed have nothing to fear? I guess you never heard the story about that guy with the liver-eating eagle problem, then.


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Writing Glitch 984

Today’s second glitch:

*throws various small objects in fit of editor-ish rage*

Okay… Maybe I can stay calm long enough to tell you how this ought to look. I can’t fix everything in the example without making it practically unrecognizable, compared to what it started as, but at least I can make it better.

“Mr. President, hellish fascist alien ghosts from the future are coming to destroy the United States of America. What should we do?

“Get me my phone. I have a call to make.”

You answer your phone and hear the president.

“Listen, I don’t know who you are, but we need you. Before Mr. Washington died, he said a string of numbers that, from what we can assume, is a phone number. Your phone number.”

“Uh –“

“There’s no time to talk. There should be an assortment of guns coming your way.” A box full of guns smashes your apartment window. You then notice a lot of laser beams and fire outside. “Good luck to you, chosen one, and godspeed.” The president hangs up. 

There are guns all over the floor, and you realize you left the oven on.

(What’s mildly amusing about this example is that I’m fairly sure it’s based on a writing prompt I recognize as a writing prompt, one I used as an example in an old “Glitch” post. Remember the one about the phone number that’s supposed to be used only in the most extreme of extreme emergencies…?)

If you would like an explanation for any of the changes I made to the example, leave a comment and ask.






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Writing Glitch 983

Today’s first glitch:

Believe it or not, the problem in this example is awkward, but it’s not incorrect.

Although it had is grammatically correct, the contraction it’d is nearly unpronounceable, so I recommend un-contracting that.

It came to Earth looking for something it had lost, something important.


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too many changes, too quickly

Maybe I should stop even attempting to do my job as He Who Tracks Changes in Others’ Backstory…

A few days ago, I was informed of the possibility — likelihood, even — of there having been a fourth person in the small group attacked by the (not literal) inter-dimensional ninjas during one of the Inciting Incidents for our stories. (We are finally dealing with some of the follow-up to that sequence of events… Yay?) Although this additional character seems to make a habit of not telling their author(s) everything, I cannot help but feel that I should have been informed. (Losing track of the differences between the official version of the story and the real version? Not good, Weaver…) And adjusting the backstory for this character is/will be mostly to provide an explanation for a comment made by a different minor character in Paul’s third novel, because the comment implies that these two characters met before that book, and Paul doesn’t know when/how, and he wants to know because he thinks it could be important eventually, and it’s not as if he’s just gonna ask the characters directly… At least this additional character already has some experience with Backstory Revision Syndrome, so I don’t have to feel guilty for messing up their life worse than I intend to anyway. 🙂

Because of this first meeting happening during an Inciting Incident, it changes the backstory for not just the “new” character but also for the three who’ve always been there… or rather, who have always been there since several minor revisions ago. (There are worse places to live than the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. Remember that, and don’t complain too much.) Suddenly, there’s a new, folded-back-on-itself irony to one of the long-deleted scenes in this part of the story… *shakes head* Anyway. I keep trying to actually visualize the revised scene, and I keep getting hung up on not knowing exactly what the inside of that house looks like. I used to know at least the relevant bits — what’s right inside the front door, mostly — but now I can’t get the images to stabilize, and it’s annoying the hell out of me. I also keep trying to see the scene from the POV of the “new” character (How do I love thee, dramatic irony? Let me count the ways…), except the primary author has implied that this character may not have been conscious for some of that scene, which makes ’em useless for POV, right? (Personally, I think that’s cheating, not to mention that it probably defeats the purpose of having the character in the scene, which is so they meet one of the others before a story that’s already been written and published. Unless the character they arrived with says something about ’em to the other two people. That would sort of work, right? My head hurts now…) And on top of everything else, “new” character is younger than I’d always assumed (and I had very good reason for that assumption), at least according to fragments of story I heard yesterday… I don’t know what that should matter, but it does. Maybe that snarky aside I typed and then deleted yesterday about “respect your elders” came from a minor precognition or “hearing” what my clone-sibling was writing, in which case, Argh! Dammit

I’m blogging about this because some of you seem interested in what my/our “writing process” is like. Well, here’s a bit of my side of it, in all its weirdness and nonlinearity. Also, blogging about it gives me some sort of record, which helps with keeping track of changes to backstory — theirs, if not mine. Memory fades, y’know?

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Writing Glitch 982

Today’s glitch:

Change 9 to nine. (Even the Associated Press Stylebook says to spell this out rather than using the numeral.)

Add a comma after recon team.

Change 9th to ninth.

Bizarre word choice alert: Why say biosphere instead of surface? (Mars doesn’t have much of a biosphere anyway, and if this part refers to Earth instead of Mars, the sentence needs to say so.) I strongly recommend changing it… and not feeding pepper to the pet thesaurus anymore, because it’s sneezing all over the writing. (Weird, inappropriate, or unnecessarily “fancy” word choices = thesaurus snot, meaning the manuscript looks as if a thesaurus sneezed on it.)

I also recommend getting rid of the ellipsis at the end, because that sentence doesn’t actually trail off, incomplete, and only in book blurbs and such should an ellipsis be used just to create fake a sense of dramatic tension or whatever.

The first group sent to colonize Mars goes silent after nine days. As part of the recon team, you are sent to find out what’s happened to them.

On the ninth day, a shadow falls over the surface of the planet.


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Writing Glitch 981

Today’s glitch:

Add a comma after 2034 (both because you should separate a year’s number from the rest of the sentence with a comma and because the sentence is compound), and consider deleting in this year as unnecessary.

You don’t need the ellipsis after anymore, but it isn’t wrong, either. (It looks like a “dramatic pause” ellipsis of the sort one often sees in book blurbs or Netflix movie descriptions.) Whether or not you keep it, you still have to treat the end of the sentence as the end of the sentence: leave a space after whatever punctuation you use there, and capitalize the first word of the next sentence. It is the wrong pronoun there, by the way, because you’ve got a compound antecedent; change It is to They are.

Add a comma after them.

(The ellipsis after mistake isn’t needed either, and maybe one “dramatic pause” ellipsis per blurb-like thing is enough, yeah?) 

It is the year 2034, and people do not have control over their dreams or nightmares anymore. These are now controlled by people in a factory creating each and every one of them, until someone makes a mistake…

(*rolls eyes* They’re not made in a factory; they’re carefully and individually handcrafted by skilled artisans. Everybody knows that… 🙂 )


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Writing Glitch 980

Today’s glitch:

Delete the comma after world. If you keep the comma, you’re saying that the bit about points awarded defines utopian world, as in, this is a characteristic of all utopian worlds. Obviously that’s nonsense.

In this context, government-approved is a compound adjective and needs a hyphen.

I recommend changing the second deeds to ones to avoid a bit of clunkiness.

In a utopian world where points are awarded for government-approved deeds and subtracted for bad ones, you are the perfect citizen.

(This sounds to me like a special kind of hell, the ‘gold star next to your name’ thing raised by orders of magnitude.)


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