Review in Brief

There are times where I have to give writers credit for trying.

This is not one of those times.

That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.

The coffee dipped out the last juices from spiteful dregs.

“Pathetic,” Jaremy mumbled, the spite lacing his coarse-ground pre-morning speech. He didn’t much mind the dying drops of coffee, but the finality of the event depressed him to the point where he felt as if his life was a continuation of events in which he arrived last at each checkpoint, picking up spare parts, leftovers, things gone cold, and the last items to go on clearance.

He trudged back to a weary cubicle, part of a castle of conquered souls. Warriors of once-before, wearied and worn-down by mismanagement and oppression, here they sat – 

(Editor’s note: I’m removing the rest before I lose everyone….)

—Mary Ann Malcolm, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Bravo in not requesting I criticize, evaluate, or even read what you submitted. It’s as if you let the text stutter for itself. Too bad it repeats itself at odd junctures repeatedly.

Didn’t think I’d notice? That’s the problem when you no longer read for fun. Gone are the beautiful faces and figures. The standout warts and gimpy elbows are all that remains.

Not to knock what you wrote. It knocks itself, but only just. Let these be lessons to those fooled by your overall taut outing:

1) Don’t use alternate spellings for the sake of alternate spellings.

No, I don’t feel sorry for the wave of upcoming children whose mothers got too exuberant with “different” approaches to nomenclature. Dayvidd. Myleigh. Kate-E. Djustyn. I would feel sorry for your kids, but I hope my resolve will instead encourage them to spite you for the trendy, faddish mistake you made.

So don’t do that to your character. “Jeremy” is fine, Mary Ann. Or M’arry Annn.

2) “Do what it do.”

Coffee doesn’t “dip.” You’re confusing it with a local practitioner of the chewing tobacco. Sure, you can elasticize in some areas, but you’ll reach the breaking point far sooner than you want if you’re not careful.

3) Check your checkpoints of repetition.

I counted only 5 words between “spite,” 16 words between “event,” and 11 between “weary.” That’s too few. Don’t pull the “emphasis” card either. That’s just as weak as claiming your improper spelling and grammatical maladroitness is “your writing style.” There are what, a billion words in English? Use a few more of them. And no, this doesn’t qualify as emphasizing le mot juste. Unless you’re trying out some hapax legomena, variety is your friend.

Writing All Wrong can be reached via email ( and followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong).

3 thoughts on “Review in Brief

  1. @Jolyse: I, for one, don’t mind an expansive vocabulary or penchants for details. It’s when writers fall in love with them, making them idols and not using them as tools.

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