#10 — Adding too many commas
Lately, I’ve had a few authors use commas to add detail after detail onto a sentence. But they don’t realize how jam-packed the sentence becomes. Here are two fictional examples:
Laurence came through the door, looking for answers, looking for something to turn his path around, and looking for that stupid cat who messed up from day one.
Enola, the blonde with thick, purple glasses and a light blue button shirt, walked through the door with her hair up in a ponytail, wanting nothing more than fried chicken and a cup of Kool-Aid.
These sentences can become up to a paragraph long. It gets hard to keep up with them since they seem to stretch on forever. The reader can also have a hard time reading them, especially if they are back-to-back.
It’s sometimes hard to find these sentences though too. One usually can’t just search for every comma to pop up in Word or Google Docs since commas are everywhere.
But what if you can find them using another way? Hemingway Editor is a helpful site for this. They mark hard to read sentences in yellow and very hard to read sentences in red. At the top right, it even tracks the readability level.
Use Hemingway Editor to see how your story looks to a reader. It’s a good resource to find long, jam-packed sentences.
A useful but long way to find them is by doing a deep edit. Pay attention to how long your sentences go on for. Did you reread a longer sentence to make sure you understood it right? Consider changing it up.
I hope this helps!