Writing: Punctuation

Posted: June 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

My book of short stories is in the process of being organized and the final proofreading for errors since my punctuation sux. I am so bad with it that I flunked one editing course several years ago in college and had to take the class twice–then still ended up with a C. I had never flunked anything or gone below a B, so I was infuriated. How dare the editing professor do that to me! I bought so many books on editing and punctuation that they line an entire row in one of my bookshelves. That includes The Chicago Manual of Style which is a BIG book. Strangely, I keep going back to the small book from my editing class: The New Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. It’s old, but still used in classes. I still think about how strict he was and how he combed a story like he had a fine-tooth comb. I felt he was too hard on me.

Another journalism professor gave me sound advice that I will never forget. She said that no matter how difficult a professor appears to make your life, it’s for your own good and later you will appreciate him or her pushing you so hard. I do and I learned so much from him, and still refer back to the small book in his class. I’m really glad he was super strict. I am so stubborn that I asked to take the course again just to get a better grade and he said I was okay as long as I stuck to the book. For me, punctuation has been the bane of my existence in writing.

I’m not worried about my punctuation so much in blogging, because sometimes my content is rushed and off the top of my head, but when a piece of work finally makes it to the publisher then it better be right. Some people have x-ray eyes that never miss errors and I do envy them. It would make life so much easier to be that fortunate.

  1. DELL CLOVER says:

    This interested me since the subject of punctuation seems fraught with differing opinions–kind of makes me crazy, as it appears the rules have changed since I was an English Major.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! As I mentioned, I have an entire line up of books on punctuation and editing. The authors have differing opinions unless it’s The Chicago Manuel of Style. (italics) I have been told so many times that you have to have perfect punctuation to make it big. Afterward, the author can punctuate anyway he or she chooses when their books sell in spite of non perfection. Think Stephen King; his books sell. I would venture to say, the average reader does not care how he punctuates. Hunger to read the next book is uppermost. Honestly, when I read a book that makes it big, I don’t even look at the punctuation. I want to read the book, not scan the right and wrong of each line.


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