Don’t Chuck It!

Writing last week, I felt the need to say the same thing I had in an earlier chapter, but in a different way so as not to sound repetitive. I decided to check my “Too Good To Toss” list.

If you don’t have one of these lists, you need to start one. Inevitably you will write something that you just love, but your editor or critique group will say it doesn’t work in your current writing.

Instead of being heartbroken that the world will not get it to read your carefully-crafted sentences, simply copy them into a file you can easily access for future use.

So, I resurrected a short paragraph I had written for a prior publication (but didn’t use) and slipped it into my current document where it worked perfectly.

So don’t trash phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs that you just hate to let go of; instead repurpose something from your Don’t Toss list!

(I also have lists of story ideas, book titles, etc. You never know when they may be useful.)

Ellipsis…or Em Dash-?

It seems I never think full, flowing thoughts anymore. My husband would add that I don’t speak in whole, fluid sentences, either!

This shows up in my writing, as my thoughts pour out in chunks, rather than a steady stream.  And, I think it is for this very reason, I have adopted using the ellipsis and the em dash.

My purpose, here, is to acquaint you with their various uses—though not in any way try to convince you to use them in your own writing—as some find them confusing and irritating—or so I am told.

The ellipsis, or …, indicates an unfinished thought, a pause, awkward silence, an echoing voice, or even a leading statement. (The aposiopesis is the use of an ellipsis to indicate the trailing off of a voice or noise into silence. For example, “But, I thought she’d…”)

The em dash is often used in place of a colon or parenthesis, showing an abrupt change in thought, to set apart definitions, show interruptions— by another speaker or self-interruption—contemplation or emotional trailing off, lengthy pauses, bleeps (as in censorship), substitutions, or where a series of commas have already been used in a given sentence.  (Much like the one I just wrote!)

So, if you tend to speak, think, or write in frequent spurts and stops, consider how much easier and quicker the writing process might be if you consider using the both the ellipsis and em dash.

I’m just saying…