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Writing Tips #1: Punctuation


We'll start with a very basic issue. Punctuation. I know, you were hoping for something more glamorous. But tough. This is important. Many developing writers feel that since they're being creative, they can be creative with their punctuation. A comma goes where it feels right, right?

But nothing turns off an editor faster than incorrect grammar or punctuation. If you really want to write well, you must learn the rules by which the English language functions. Thinking you can write well without knowing the rules of punctuation is like an architect thinking he can design a building without knowing the principles of physics and engineering. The building will not stand. And your story will not stand, either, when it is built from sentences incorrectly punctuated.

Punctuation is an important tool for a writer. Through it, the writer can tell the reader how a sentence is to be read and how different parts of a sentence relate to each other. The rules governing punctuation are not difficult to learn. Take some time to learn the rules below and practice using the various punctuation marks. Once you learn these rules, you'll know them for life, and they will help strengthen your writing for life.

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Except where noted, Content © 1996 - 2002 Jeanne Cavelos
< jcavelos@sff.net >
Updated Nov 30, 2002
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