A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dangers of Dangling Modifiers

Another Monday, another blog post... Hey, I think I'm actually getting pretty good about writing in this thing. LOL

So the idear behind this little post here came from an email I received this morning from an agent who had given me a critique on the first 500 words of my current WIP. I don't even have to say how invaluable a crit like this is. I literally *squee'd* when I read the little "1" bubble on my iPhone email icon. As I opened up the pretty in my inbox, I realized that it wasn't exactly pretty. LOL

Okay, honestly, I was expecting much MUCH worse, so what I did get I was thoroughly happy with. The thing that most stood out among all the other suggestions was her one about dangling modifiers. I read that word and went "Eh? WTF is a dangling modifier?!". My brain went into overdrive and literally could not wait to google the thing. Diving head-on into the google-worthy links I found, there was one that said it simply and with examples - The Purdue OWL.

Dangling Modifier

"[A] word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept."


Now, the problem was that I wasn't even aware I was using the danglies (as my frawesomesauce friend Corinne O'Flynn has kindly dubbed it). But after reading the various examples and applying them to certain sentences I found in the first 5 pages of my WIP, my Ah-Ha! moment did the whole flashing lightbulb thing (only in my head of course LOL).

Moments like these are not only humbling, but also remind us how any and all crits are invaluable to the writing process. I write because I don't know how to be without writing. It is a constant learning process for me while I navigate the do's and dont's, all the while trying to take everything with a grain of salt and do what ultimately makes my work awesome to ME. But every once in a while, you get bits of wow knowledge that can help you take your craft into a whole other level.

Have any of you ever had any noteworthy Ah-ha! moments during your writing journeys? If so, how did they come about and what were the ending results?


  1. Oh, that's awesome! Crit from an agent is so invaluable :D Also, more than once I've had unfinished dangling SENTENCES, which you may have noticed, and I'm pretty sure that's worse than a dangling modifier LOL.

  2. I may or may not remember one instance... *innocent whistle*

  3. Yes totally! A-ha moments happen to me all the time...probably because I have so much to learn.
    One that really stands out to me I when I read in a writing book that you should always discard the first five ideas you have, as they are the laziest. This has helped my writig process so much!
    Thanks for sharing, you're awesome. So jealous you got a crit from an agent!! Lol. Not really, I'm mostly happy for you!! :-)

  4. Yeah, it was one of those great learning moments. I seriously thought dangling modifier = alien language. LOL! Glad you enjoyed the post! :D

  5. Beware the danglies! They haunts us! Truly, part of me wishes I had the stamina to learn the true deep depths of grammar and sentence diagramming, but as soon as I start I get the heavy eyes. -_-

  6. Oh - you and me both... -_- A part of me wishes I had more time to devote to learning the various types of grammar and sentence structures because I'm sure that it would improve my WIP tenfold, but the other part screams "YOU MUST GET A LEAST 3 HOURS OF SLEEP. WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO?" Bahahahaha!

  7. I've had a lot of ah-ha moments. Big ones, like not putting in a goal for my MC, or rambling stories with no point...too many!

    Nice to meet you and your blog!

  8. Nice to meet you and your blog too! I've been having a lot of ah-ha! moments lately, so I thought I'd share a particularly eye-opening one! LOL