Stop Suddenly

Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds by George Singleton, illustrated by Daniel Wallace

Avoid overuse of the word suddenly. It’s pretty obvious that things happen suddenly for a reason. “Suddenly, I got struck by lightning!” Of course it happened suddenly. It’s not like a person can watch lightning come down out of the sky for a couple months, then make contact. “Suddenly, I got hit by a car!” Only a person with the slowest of reflexes gets hit by a car over a two-hour period of time, from viewing the car down the road until the car runs over a curb and clips the back of his knees.

Now, I know that there are thousands of published short stories with such lines as “Suddenly, I realized that I smelled natural gas and shouldn’t have struck the match,” or “Suddenly, the yellow jackets emerged out of the hole in the ground where I poked the stick—when I was supposed to be poking a fire ant mound once—and I got stung 157 times on the eyelids.”

Fine and dandy. But it should stop, beginning right now.

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