Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dog Days and Trusting Your Reader

by Jackie King

The dog-days of summer arrived early this year, and along with the heat came lethargy and indolence. I’m calling this the lazy-day-syndrome, and I fear that I’m infected. Coining a disease sounds less harsh than calling myself a slug, don’t you think? (I have a habit of excusing all of my bad habits…my favorite is describing my tendency toward untidiness as artistic clutter.)

I needed to spend today editing an almost-finished book, but the word-smithing isn’t going at all well. My dialogue sounds as if it needs heavy starch and a hot iron. (I repeat, I'm suffering from lazy-day syndrome.)

I spent considerable time scanning through my dialogue, knowing that what I was reading wasn’t quite up to snuff, but not sure how to fix the problem. I wanted to put the work aside, telling myself that it was too hot to work, but that’s not going to bring in royalties and pay the bills. So I decided to let off some steam by lambasting my pet peeve, as a reader. Complaining always makes a person feel better, don’t you think?

I abhor the current odious trend of using both a punctuation mark and a question mark at the end of a sentence. Why? It’s insulting to me as a reader. It’s as if the author is saying, “I can’t trust you to get this, so I’m red-lighting the words to help you out.”

News flash: If the sentence is written correctly, I’ll get it. Also, when I see double punctuation at the end of one sentence, my first emotion is to throw the book across the room.

Why? Because it’s insulting to my intelligence. If the sentence is exciting, trust me, I’ll know that. If it isn’t, an exclamation mark won’t convince me.

Okay, I’ve had my little verbal temper-tantrum and now I feel all better. Guess I’ll go back to editing.

Hugs to all,



Carola Dunn said...

Dunno about dog days--I had to don Uggs and a cardigan this morning!

Jaden Terrell said...

Artistic clutter. I love it. That's what I have...artistic clutter.