Tag Archives: Editing

That Comma Thing

Oscar Wilde is credited with the following quote: “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” Source: Definitive analysis of Wilde’s comma remark:

I try, I really do. But as I read all the rules for when, how, where, and why a comma is needed my brain freezes. Creativity is stifled by the added burden and waste of time. The way I see it, by the time I send my completed book to an editor it’s going to be bloody anyway. An acquaintance, with a doctorate degree in English, once handed back a partial manuscript stating, “Stop using commas, you use too many in the wrong places, and not enough in the correct places.”  

That was my first lesson in not using a comma just because I hear a natural pause.


“Murder Your Darlings”

“Murder Your Darlings,”(On Style, chapter 12) is a quote from Arthur Quiller-Couch’s series of  published lectures (On the Art of Writing, 1916) He encouraged writer’s to, “…perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it–wholeheartedly–and delete it before sending your manuscript to press…”

He failed to mention, however, that tapping the delete button would require Hershey Kiss therapy for at least a month.

Source: http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/murderquiller.htm