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I found out the hard way that writers often have personal writing quirks – oddities of style, or favorite often used words, etc. that we cling to, quite subconsciously. You might not know you have these unless you get really brave and submit your beloved completed manuscript to wise and trusted friends or family. You want others to read and edit your work of art before you get braver yet and submit it to a publisher to read. So I took my own advice and gave my book to a few (kind) relatives and friends to find the errors and rough places.

Waiting for the “editors” to get done was hard, but I knew I really needed other eyes to see the faulty punctuation, typographical errors and incomplete sentences, so I was patient. My first feedback was a confidence-building relief. Good commendations, great enthusiasm, and some small red marks here and there. Whew. Easy to remedy.

Then my daughter who is in the editing field called me. She had read one of my blogs and gave me a cryptic direction.

“Mom, lose the ellipsis.”

“Huh?”

“The dots…”

But I really like dots… ellipsis, and I don’t use them very much. Well, I guess I do.

“Editors do not like them, Mom.”

So, my personal writing style has a quirk. I am kind of generous with them and even get more than generous and go beyond the three dots. They are so friendly, so full of action. I really considered my daughter’s admonition to lose the ellipsis, but it seemed harsh to me to cut them out entirely.

My husband did computer research on ellipsis to help me see their proper use. He found a great quote from a Martha Colin in a book called Clerical Grammar, 5th Edition, Pearson, 2007. “When well-used, ellipsis can create a bond between the writer and the reader. The writer is saying, in effect, I needn’t spell everything out for you. I know you’ll understand.”

I loved it. Creating a bond between me and my readers…of course that is what I am doing. Bonding. But further research from my hubby found a recommendation to use ellipsis very sparingly.

Okay. I went through the manuscript and deleted them. Hard, but necessary.

Goodbye ellipsis…oops.

Watch the dot, you fellow writers.

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