By: Marc Cully

Intern Marc, known for his lively and quirky sense of humor, reveals his list of Pet Peeves. His views do not necessarily represent the view of the entire editorial staff, as Julie, editor-in-chief, does in fact like flowers!

Everyone has pet peeves.

When it comes to writing there are things that editors hate to read. These things can be specific genres, language quirks, technical errors, etc. Here at the Potomac Review we interns have to read sometimes some silly things. We may not have final say in what gets accepted but we do have a small degree of influence. Rejoice though as I have come to tell you what to avoid when creating your masterpiece that you just happen to want to send our way.

  1. Stop growing flowers. I hate flowers. Flowers are useless and are only there to look pretty. What I mean by all of this is tone down the language! Yes I get it, the sun looks like a giant orb of celestial might that burns with all of the unknowable arcane wisdom of God or whatever. I get that you think that forest in your backyard has leaves that look like emerald tears Mother Nature is producing due to despair for the ransacked land that should be hers. I get it but unfortunately I do not care. That sort of writing makes me believe nothing is going on in your story. I get it, you are clever, now stop it.
  2. Action! Make sure things are happening. This suggestion goes along with the previous. Instead of just writing fancifully to show off how beautifully you can write try focusing all of that effort into plot and character development. Do not have your character linger about watching the sunset pondering about how to fix his divorce for ten pages. Have your character fix his broken marriage instead.
  3. Don’t rely on cussing to make your character a bad-ass. Unless you can cuss like a master than please don’t do it. Your character will sound a bit too unrealistic and I will no longer believe in him or her.
  4. Font, don’t get crazy or experimental with it. Enough said.
  5. Be original. This is also a rather cliché suggestion but I have already read too many hipster love stories and teenage boy adventure stories. Do something surprising; make a hermaphrodite adventure story or coin the first hipster cannibal love triangle. Vampire stories are terrible. If you want to try out a horror story maybe you should try to write a creature made out of blood instead of one that feeds off of it. These are rather silly suggestions but they are things we haven’t read which makes them profoundly more interesting than what was stated previously.