Prose Pet Peeves

I read 16 books this summer from start to finish . . . others I started but never finished. Two of the novels I did finish but had some trouble with were written by the same author: Cormac McCarthy. For all his fame, I’d somehow never read any of his works. I started with The Road because I heard many high school English teachers using that one with success in their classes. Then I moved onto No Country For Old Men because I thought that title fit better with my curriculum; this year I’m focusing on international mindedness and appreciating other cultures/viewpoints. In the end, I didn’t add McCarthy to my syllabus because I just couldn’t get over his lack of punctuation. I didn’t want my students to start modeling his style and go, “But McCarthy did it!” when I broke out the red pen.

According to McCarthy: “There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks. I mean, if you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate.”

If you say so. But my annoyance at his lack of punctuation took me out of the story time and time again. Then it made me insecure. Do I use toooo much punctuation?! Is that my problem? I definitely haven’t achieved the success of McCarthy with my 18 Things trilogy.


What are your pet peeves when reading?

This has been another post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Check out the co-hosts this moth for some more reading/writing/editing pet peeves:

Christine Rains
Dolarah @ Book Lover
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Yvonne Ventresca
LG Keltner



9 comments on “Prose Pet Peeves

  1. Lack of punctuation would drive me batty, even if it were in freeverse poetry. Some basic rules exist for a reason. I’m also not a fan of the one-line paragraphs and sentence fragments (often as short as one or two words) being passed off as complete sentences I see so much of in books these days.

    • Yes, I loved the movie, which is why I picked up the book. I thought we could have a lot of interesting conversations in class about the Mexican border & drug problem & Trump wanting to build a wall.

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