Thursday, April 12, 2012

Driving me crazy

Every newspaper editor has his pet peeves. I worked with a guy years ago who hated the use of "over" when "more than" would have worked. Over, he said, worked with the cow jumped over the moon; more than works with more than 10 billion burgers have been eaten.

Another editor didn't like to use names in headlines, especially if the person wasn't famous. He also didn't like to start a story with a name.

Yet another editor hates it when newspapers use the word hike as a verb, as in, "The New York Yankees hiked ticket prices yesterday." They also raised prices, and that'll work nicely.

One of my greatest pet peeves is "made his way." I once started reading a chapter in a novel and noticed "made his way" eight times on one page and 40 times in the chapter. The protagonist didn't walk, strut or stroll. He didn't move, slide, wend, slither or walk. He didn't even matriculate or hurry. He made his way, over and over and over.

I hate it when a writer uses less when fewer works better. "GM is building less cars this year" makes me throw up. GM is building fewer cars than last year.

I really, truly hate it when they say that the First Annual Joe Schmoe Memorial Fun Run will be held Saturday. We don't know if it's an annual event. Maybe they'll run out of money, or maybe the fun run chairman will run off with somebody's wife.

I don't even like second annual. To me, you don't know if it's an annual thing yet. I don't look at an event as annual until the third year. To me, the first event is inaugural, not first annual. The next year, it's the second running of Joe's fun run. The third year? It's third annual.

My greatest pet peeve, though, is a lazy writer who won't re-read his stories a few times to find typos or other mistakes. He misses repetition and changes in tense. And he misses repetition. This guy thinks he's perfect the first time, and he's always wrong.


(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie


  1. Oh, this is awful. I just finished an edit for my agent and now I'm going to go back and check for all of these. What if I missed something?

    My nerves feel like you scraped them with a cheese grater...

  2. Sorry about that, worddreams. You need a good editor. And good luck with the agent.

  3. lol! I could read this over and over! :D