Monday, May 14, 2012

Top 10 Reasons You Need An Editor

Yes, these examples are real. They have been taken from books available for purchase as e-books and in hard copy. No, they are not intended to mock or point the finger (hence no author names / book titles). They are just examples of how easy it is to get lost in our own stories, in our own heads, and lose sight of how our words may be perceived by others.

So, without further ado, I give you...


#10. Contradictions:

"...My tongue clove to the roof of my mouth, but I managed the one word, "Immortality!""

#9. Questionable Functionality:

"...He leafed through the papers with one hand, as with the other he continued to crunch toast and marmalade."

#8. Cringe-worthy Metaphors

"The Gulf Stream was rocking the boat in the cleavage of its D-cup bosomy swells."

#7. Befuddled Similes

"...No, affinity wasn't quite the right word, it felt more like they were two north poles of a bipolar magnet, each vigorously, automatically repelled by the other."

#6. ???

"We are between the wild throat of certainty and the mad zitidar of fact - we can escape neither..."

#5. Detachable Body Parts:

"...He gently removed her glasses, and his hard chest rubbed against her breasts as he leaned over to put them on the table next to his gun."

#4. Purple Prose (with a side of Number 8)

"When he was yet a million miles away the bright ring of fire that marked its portal filled the sky in front of him, flexing and twisting like the devil's anus in spasms of immortal agony..."

#3. Over-Selling

"Nothing short of a machine gun could have stopped Gog in his first outburst! He was finally subdued with tear gas."

#2. Achieving the Impossible

"He held his left hand out in front of his face; palm down and with his index finger raised six-inches above his head."

#1. Body Dysmorphic Disorder

"Like a man in wonderland, Gordon Drew watched them for a while, then he went further up the main street and finally turned into a small teashop."

Your Turn: Have you ever caught yourself phrasing in a way that communicated a completely different image to what you intended? Give us examples! Let's share the wealth of our own slips. I'll go first:

In a book where the hero / heroine used eye-contact to indicate trust and solidarity, I once wrote:

"He gave her his eyes and didn't let them drop."



  1. Ah. Kinda gruesome. *still laughing*

    In many popular books published by famous authors, I've seen phrases such as, "...his eyes followed her as she walked around the room."

    Did they roll along? Bump into stuff?

  2. I needed this today. I'm still laughing!

  3. Striving to make an ugly deed look fair:
    Your words have took such pains as if they labour'd
    To bring manslaughter into form
    (Timon of Athens: III, v)

    At some point, some passages just can't be fixed. Dump 'em and start over.

  4. Teeheehee. That list includes some doozies. One of mine: 'as air filled her lunges...' oops! :-)

  5. Oh dear. I just found your website and I'm still laughing at this post. One of my favorites was a description of a table that somehow split in half, rose from the floor and "the halves turned hauntingly in the air".

    I think that was the point where I flung the book across the room - an honor I reserve for only truly cringe-worthy books. Still, it makes me laugh to this day. ;o)

  6. I can't stop laughing!!

    I've written a few doozies myself when it comes to eyes.
    They sometimes seem to leave the confines of their sockets and float about the room...sometimes rolling, sometimes running...go figure.

    And I'm glad to see my character's eyes aren't the only ones with magical abilities. :)

    Still LOL...