Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Useless, Broken, & Random

Remnants of Kendall's room.
Yeah, I know. She's over 30 now.
For the past week I have been involved in the process of purging every room in my house. Okay, actually one room in the house. But I have a plan for the rest. The room I chose to attack first we still refer to as “Kendall’s room” even though she is married and long gone.

Several years ago, I claimed it as my craft room. A craft room with a bed for when my grandchildren spend the night. Then I moved a table in to serve as my desk for writing (not ergonomically correct, but functional) and placed a large bookshelf in the space for my reference materials and extra supplies.

Over time, the room that once held dolls and stuffed animals and the giggles of a little girl has become a craft room/office/guest bedroom combination. In addition, the closet in Kendall’s room is where I store gifts and wrapping paper.

A bookshelf for writing.
The gift closet.
My writing table.

We intend to sell our house. I doubt anyone is in the market for house with a craft/office/guest room/gift closet combination. So I am purging. Out with the useless, broken, and random. And out with the stacks of paper.

I told my daughters I had items they may want.

When I offered my oldest some notes I had taken from a book on Attention Deficit Disorder, she was interested. But her reply? “Scan it, Mom, and send it. That way you get rid of the paper and I’ll have it on my laptop to use.”

When I suggested to my middle daughter I had books she may want for homeschooling my grandson, she had me read the titles and selected only a few. Obviously she didn’t inherit the book junkie gene.

When I informed my youngest, I had a few things for her and her daughters, she wisely asked me to run them by my oldest daughter first. “If I see them, I’ll want them, Mom. Let Allison take a look and see if this is something I need or will use.”

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. My writing is cluttered with useless descriptions, broken sentences and words, random thoughts, and reams of sentimental, hard-to-let-go-of words.

Last week, my guest author, R.A. Giggie, pointed out the need to edit our work carefully. If we cut words out of our manuscript, we don’t need to consider them lost. We can put them in a digital file to bring out later as needed.

As writers we need to be selective. We need to keep only our best words. Those that keep our story moving.

We can select a third party to help with the edits. If you see the words, you’ll want to keep them. Let someone else weigh in on whether or not you need them.

And in keeping with the theme, I came across a paper I had saved years ago. I thought it was clever. I’ll offer it here. Here alone. Then I’ll trash the paper. It’s part of the process of purging.

18 Rules for Good Riting
(taken from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1975)
            1. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
            2.  Just between you and I, case is important.
            3.  Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
            4.  Watch out for irregular verbs which has cropped into our language.
            5.  Don’t use no double negatives.
            6.  A writer mustn’t shift your point of view.
            7.  When dangling, don’t use participles.
            8.  Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
            9.  Don’t use a run-on sentence you got to punctuate it.
            10.  About sentence fragments.
11. In letters themes reports articles and stuff like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.
            12. Don’t use commas, which aren’t necessary.
            13. Its important to use apostrophe’s right.
            14. Don’t abbrev.
            15. Check to see if you any words out.
16. In my opinion I think that an author when he is writing shoudn’t get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words that he does no really need.
17. And, of course, there’s that old one: Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
            18. Last but not least, lay off clich├ęs.


  1. This was fantastic! I'm so glad you shared the 18 Rules of Riting - too funny. I'm happy I read your interview by Rose and visited your blog. Helpful as well as entertaining (#10 violation).

    1. I am so glad you dropped by! As for #10? You are forgiven…I do it all the time!


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