“Placing his hand on the chair, he looked out the window.”

There was a time I thought this was a good sentence. Then an editor took a yellow pencil to my manuscript and began to kill every “ING” she could find. The simple explanation provided was “ing and ed can not live together”. Thus the above sentence became, “He placed his hand on the chair and looked out the window.” Or “Looking out the window, he tightly held the chair.”

Another editor informed me I could not use contractions in non-dialog sections of writing. So the sentence, “The two of them wouldn’t move because they didn’t know where to go.”  now becomes, “The two of them would not move because they did not know where to go.”

These are useful lessons and I think they improve my work. The only problem is, I often have more concern about the grammar than the story, which is not good for the creative process.

Editors can be frustrating, but thank God for them.


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