"Raymond’s eye for telling detail is very fine, as one expects of an accomplished writer, but to this she adds the informing eye of a natural historian of place.”
— John Keeble, author of Nocturnal America
Midge Raymond
Midge's blog about writing . . . reading . . . and everything in between

Weekly Writing: Punctuation

Every writer has certain language and punctuation tics, which we either embrace or overcome, depending on how well they work (or don’t) for us. My particular punctuation tic is the em dash — I love it and overuse it to death. If I go back and revise, omitting 50 percent of the em dashes in a story, it’s still pretty riddled with them. Still, I can’t get rid of them completely — I love how em dashes add emphasis, set phrases apart, offer a little sense of something more interesting to come than a mere comma or semicolon would indicate.

What’s your favorite (and/or most overused) punctuation mark? Why do you like it, i.e., what do you think it offers to a sentence than another mark can’t? Give it a bit of personality, and see where this takes you.



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2 comments

1 Lori Greenstone { 12.30.11 at 10:03 am }

The em dash is my favorite (and overused) piece of punctuation also. I try to treat it like dark chocolate- a little satisfies, a lot makes me start to feel jumpy and overstimulated. I love Noah Lukeman’s Art of Punctuation as a way to make punctuation amiable.

2 Midge { 12.30.11 at 11:20 am }

Oh, I can never get enough of the em dash (exactly my relationship to chocolate!). Thanks for mentioning Lukeman’s book — such a great addition/alternative to the fabulous (but more geeky) punctuation books out there.

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