Stuff I Know 4: Comma, Fail

stuff I knowProbably 30% of the commas I put in fiction need to be deleted. Is there a word for that? Tre-decimated? Thirtimated? Whatever. I see the little slugs all the time. I’m editing away and I see “blah blahblah, and blah blah.”

That’s an easy one, and I blow it.

But it gets worse. They slither all over the place, slicing clauses and concepts where no slicey is needed.

I know what I’m doing. When I write, I get an oracular voice inside my head. I hear the story as if I were telling it to an audience. I stick commas in wherever I, as a narcissistic windbag, would pause for breath, or for drama, or for poetic pacing.

So, Stuff I Know 4 A) I know how to use commas, but do it wrong anyway. It’s one of my blind spots.

Stuff I Know 4 B) It is probably good that I am not an orator, because I’d probably be insufferably over-dramatic. I’d have so many pregnant pauses I’d need to sign up for food stamps, or at least get on reality TV.

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