Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Power of Punctuation

Thanks to Aubrie Dionne for inviting me as a guest blogger on Flutey Words!

Earlier this week, Facebook rolled out a feature that turns punctuated emoticons like this :) into small illustrations in the comments you post. So it seems an apt time for us writers to remind ourselves that punctuation has a far grander purpose than to wink at your reader.

When mucking through a first draft, punctuation is usually the last thing on a writer’s mind. One may give it a second thought during the final polish stage, but this thought is more toward correction than choice. Whereas so many writing techniques seem to fall along a spectrum, we think punctuation is binary: right or wrong, required or not required. Its becomes not an option to be considered but a rule to be remembered. We think, “Is a semi-colon correct here?” Hardly ever: “Is a semi-colon the best choice here?”

I’m here to tell you that punctuation is one of the most powerful tools in your writer’s tool box and that you ought to consider periods, commas, dashes, colons, etc. to be a subset of your greater Writer’s Alphabet—which is not just twenty-six letters, but the entirety of your keyboard. . . . 

Read the rest of this post on Flutey Words