Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

Apostrophes Are My Nemesis

Yup, you read correctly: apostrophes are my nemesis. When I sit down and think, when I speak aloud the rules I have a complete grasp of when and where to use an apostrophe, but for some reason – some crazy, demented, fat finger typing reason – I can never type them in the correct spot, thus requiring I have to go back over everything I wrote and look closely at my placement of each and every little nemesis.

I try so hard to break the habit, but my problem is if I pause to think each time I type a word containing (or requiring) an apostrophe I lose the flow. Anyone who writes knows what I mean when I say ‘the flow’. It’s that fabulous stream of words that just gushes out of your fingers like water from a fireman’s hose, so fast and furious your fingers can barely keep up. It’s that moment when the creative muse curls up inside you like a cat on your lap and blesses you with idea after idea so you can just keep going all day (or at least until the baby wakes and demands attention).

When you attain the flow you do not want to halt it for something so trivial as the placement of an apostrophe, be it a key that you just didn’t press hard enough or because your brain was paying more attention to the sentence or the paragraph than the individual word.

I mean, that’s what editing is for. You look over your work for all the finger fumbles that put ‘e’ before ‘i’ because you were typing so fast one finger didn’t keep up with the others; all the places where you forgot to add punctuation; where you wrote a sentence that just kept going and going like an unending river that seriously needs a few stops somewhere in it and of course, for those tricksey little apostrophes (or whatever your individual weakness is).

Anyone who claims they never have to check over their writing is lying. I bet even Stephen King does and Neil Gaiman, or whoever your particular favourite (and prolific) author is. I refuse to believe I’m the only writer who gets so carried away with ideas that she makes a few mistakes in the first draft. That’s why they’re called first drafts, right?


  1. Erica

    This is a subject somewhat close to my heart and one I have done many readings on. Writing is all about drafting, redrafting, redrafting, redrafting, redrafting and so it goes… this comes through loud and clear from my readings by many authors. I think it is really important not to let the grammar stop you when the words are flowing. I believe that this is probably a big reason why I have found it tremendously difficult to write my novel, or even get a proper start! Good luck…

    • Kirstie

      So true about the re-drafting. I can’t remember half of what I originally planned for Storybook Perfect, it changed so much since I first came up with the concept.
      If you need a hand getting your project started I’m happy to help.

      • Erica

        Aww thanks Kirstie! I might call you on that one one day!

      • Michelle Winstanley

        Hi, may I take you up on your very generous offer to help? I’m trying to finish my first short story. It doesn’t seem to want to stop talking.

  2. Tisna

    This is one of my pet hates! The mis-use of the apostrophe is gintetg worse and worse! Sometimes it would appear that people just put it in whenever there is an S at the end of a word. For example, ice cream’s sold here , salad’s, shoe’s, etc, etc, In some ways, I blame the computer (marvellous though it is), as it does not always recognise the proper use of the apostrophe. I doesn’t like its and wants to put in it’s everytime!Yep, I could rant about this all day .., but I won’t!

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