Semi-Colonic Irritation

Semi-Colonic Irritation?

Don’t you dare shout friend or enema at me!

Semi-colonic IrritationYou read it right, semi-colonic irritation, or perhaps more accurately semi-colonic anguish.

Drink not involved

This is a writers rant and, even if alcohol is enjoyed by many writers, not about the consumption of intoxicating fluids.

If you must have a fluid read?

Of, you insist on knowing more about the biological issues? Okay, you can build on this piece of research if  you’re so inclined:

Monty Python did a piece on the history of colonic irrigation. It doesn’t offer much information, but at least it’s a start.

If you must have more detail, here’s an article about alternative methods for the intake of fluid, with many comments attached. This offers further insight. I hope you’ll forgive me if this post provides less than you hoped for.

May Google favour you with the information you seek, and I wish you the full flush of success in your investigations.

From the throes discovery

A while back I discovered the semicolon. What excitement. There I was with a new thingy and somewhere to use it. Boy, I was going to strut my grammatical stuff, and impress the writing world. Semicolons erupted in my fiction. Imagine, 200,000+ words of prose, punctuated with my newfound favourite.

Bitter pill

Picture the emperor’s face when he discovered his new clothes for what they were. Of course, it isn’t always something your best friends will tell you. Such was the case for me.

An excellent author read one of my books. He told me I write well and, as my ego began to howl with delight, added these words:

Lose the semi-colons. Every single one of them. Don’t believe me? Pick up books by guys like Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, John Sandford, John Harvey, Martin Cruz Smith. Read a whole chapter. Count how many semi-colons you encounter.  Every single one can be removed and its sentence re-written with little effort, to make sentences that flow better and make a LOT more sense.

Watery eyed, I stared another revision in the face … a feeling akin, perhaps, to a novice mountaineer standing below the North Face of the Eiger.

Are semicolons like the Appendix?

My appendix causes me less trouble than semicolons. Of course, the appendix is useless. They talked of removing them from Astronauts, as a matter of routine, to avoid them causing problems.

What did I do?

I took the advice. My Lord, how it hurt, and how worthwhile the pain. My editor injected a modicum of sanity and my reduction was huge. Removing semicolons was, mostly, a good idea.

Many writers will be familiar with the joys(?) of revising a book. Of course, semicolons have a place and, doubtless, other writers and readers may have different views. However, I don’t regret the work and believe my fiction is the better for it.

And the Astronauts?

If NASA care to follow the principles uncovered here, they better start whipping appendixes out as a matter of urgency and not only the Astronauts’.

© Mac Logan

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