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Friday, October 14, 2016

Time Magazine Reports New "Rule" on Spit and Image

It's been a while. Just couldn't resist popping in to tell you, there's one thing you don't need to worry about these days. Or is there?

Editors have always needed to be on the lookout for the corruption of the true form of “spit and image.” It comes “from the notion of God’s using spit and dust to form the clay to make Adam in his image.” Garner’s says it’s now OK now to use the incorrect form, “spitting image.” 

I think that’s foolish in this digital world where everyone is an editor (and an expert) and only too eager to dis something as “incorrect” with no leeway for style choices. And when your career could be affected by the judgment a gatekeeper like an agent or publisher makes about what they consider your lack of interest in the written word.

But even those who choose to write on the side of caution, the exception for "spit and image" might be its use in dialogue when people tend to talk the way they always have--regardless of what reference books say. After all, the way characters use words tells something about their—well, character. For more on dialogue, I suggest Tom Chiarella's book published by Writer's Digest.  


 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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