Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I don't know if you writers out there are like me... but I tend to use ellipses... alot.

(You get my point?)

Now, I'm not necessarily against ellipses, and in fact I let them run wild in the first draft. But once it's time to edit, you realize....too many are too many. And re-reading your work can lead to noticing a lot of..... those. A bunch of periods all strung together.

See? I'm doing a post on ellipses and what do I end up doing? Throwing in a million ellipses... unintentionally. Sheesh!

I noticed all my ellipses as I was writing in my NaNo notebook right now. Man, I used like 3.87 million in one paragraph. I'm almost convinced I write more ellipses than actual sentences. But unfortunately, they cannot all stay. Ellipses clutter up the page, and slow the reader down.

Here, (aah! My foot's asleep! argh!) check out the following snippets:

The first thing to meet his eyes was a bold red cross on a white field... a shield. A shield?

He had managed not to think of them... her... for several years.

Something wasn't right! The metal ought to be glowing much brighter of the fire was...  "Chance!" William barked.

"What's so hard about telling father I found a box? Why am I so... so nervous?"

"Good grief..." Chance thought.

"Hm hm. Yes, well... I was tidying up the shop and, um..."

"It rolled between those barrels..."

How in heaven was he going to be able say this next thing? He needed to say it...

William waited until he was gone, then he raised himself to his feet, doing his utmost not to wince and groan... unsuccessfully.

Why... why wasn't he good enough?

And they were coming to stay for a few weeks.. he couldn't look any of them in the eye now... oh, whatever was he going to do?

And these are all within about 9 pages.... yeah :P  And those aren't all of them!!!

Not that I'm on a "Ellipse Annihilation" uh.... thing. Don't get me wrong. Some ellipses, like the ones I didn't list, were very appropriate and pose absolutely no problem. For instance, Chance's dad is about to tell him a story, and so to launch it I wrote,

"When I was a newly made knight, and was still living at my father's castle..."

See? When I add chapter breaks, the next chapter will start right after this. It's a perfectly harmless ellipse.

My advice: use ellipses are rarely as you can... <--- aargh, you see that thing right there??

Apparently, I should be taking my own advice.

What I was going to say, was before you put an ellipse, check and see whether a comma, a period, a colon or a semicolon can replace it. They are great for adding depth and feeling, but not every other sentence needs that kind of...depth....and um,...feeling.

So... does that help?


Amaranthine said...

Hyphens are great for standing in for ellipses......
at least I think about you?


The Director said...

Hahaa---------now that I've used some I see the truth---- they're an awesome replacement------thanks for the idea!!!!


Amaranthine said...

Wait. Your mom runs Mish Mash Maggie?
Oh wow. I feel like such an idiot. I managed to not read you sidebar OR your profile.

I'm so confused.

No ellipses in this comment! Oh wait....there it is.

The Director said...

Yeah MishMashMaggie is my momma.... were you familiar with her blog already??

Hee hee--- I have hyphen AND ellipse! Double points!!

Squeaks said...

Hahaha! I use ellipses a LOT, at least I did before (and tons in my writing lol!) but I'm getting better at it now. I don't use them AS much. XD


~Miss Raquel said...

Girl, all I can say is E-MAIL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll find out why as soon as you do ;)

Miss Pickwickian said...

I use this constantly in email and blogging, but never in actually writing. I never even thought about it...LOL

Enjoyed looking around your blog. :-)

Polka Dot said...

Ellipses are my best friend, but mostly in emailing or blogging. I use dashes much more in my writing. You know--like this. :) I have to pare down those, though, because I use them way too much!

Millard of Swiftstorm said...

I had to pause a moment a realize what "Ellipses" were. >_< I'm not sure what that says for my writing abilities, but it can't be good!! How is your Nano going now!? I've got 9900words in one novel..and I want to finish it. :S

*Hides from Nano*

The Director said...

@Miss Pickwickian
XD Thanks... I poked around your blog too.... I really like it!

@Polka Dot
Hi there! I know, I use the "--" waay too much too :P

Wow! Hi there Millard! I've heard alot about you in the blogosphere! Heh heh... I didn't know that ellipses were called ellipses until recently either... My NaNo is going pretty good, considering. 32635 words right now... and I can tell you for sure that 50k won't be anywhere near the stopping point!

*wishes to hide form NaNo but can't*

The Director said...

@Miss Pickwickian and Polka Dot

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa-- I had no idea you two were siblings!! That's cool!!!


Squeaks said...

Haha! Millard, that's exactly what I thought when I saw the title. >.> Huh? What are ellipses...oooh right, ^.^ those things XD

Millard of Swiftstorm said...

*whew* Heheh, I wasn't completely alone! Now that I have a new word to use...ellipses....I intend, to well...use it! ;)


The Director said...

You guys are great :)

Princess of Endor said...

I use those ellipses a lot on the computer, not so much when actually writing. Unless it's a character speaking and they trail off. Or when they pause.

I saw that you were following me and so I decided to come check out your blog. I'm now a follower. :)

The Director said...

@Princess of Endor
Hi there! Thanks for following me :) I really love your blog :D