Welcome to another fun episode of “Editing with Tom”, and thank you for tuning in. Today we discuss a writer’s “tell”. No, not “I’m telling on you”, or “Show, don’t tell”. This “tell” is an unconscious part of a writer’s style. And, how can you tell what a writer’s tell is? Well, my tell appeared in the last sentence. I tend to begin sentences with the word “And”. And, (see, did it again without thinking) I slap on a comma after the “And”, because I hear a pause immediately after the “And”. So it sounds like this – And…that’s the way it is.
Anything wrong with a tell? That depends. “On what?” you may ask. Well, on whether you’re old school or not. We were taught, way back when, back when I hated writing, that you never ever ever start a sentence with the word “And”. Or “But”. But, that’s a lesson for another time. After a while, though, you bang around in the writing world, and you notice that other writers, other famous writers do all kinds of mangling stuff to words, including, but not necessarily limited to, beginning sentences with “And”.
So, where does that leave you? Just take a look through your writing and see if you have any little habits that pop up in your writing. And, if you do, that’s okay. Just be aware of it. You don’t have to get rid of it. Au contraire, mon frere. That might be your trademark, your signature. In my case I have to watch that I don’t get out of control with it, but I’ll most likely always use it. So, use your tell, but in moderation. Sort of like Johnny Carson’s necktie adjustment habit during his monologue, it’s your trademark.
And, that’s all I have to say about that.
‘til next time… Adios.