Commas have come under heavy fire of late. Many writers feel they need to leave them out entirely, or use them only when absolutely necessary.
But we still have need of commas. They serve a very important function that allows us to quickly understand what we are reading without going back over and over the words again, trying to decipher where the emphasis should lie.
Here is an example from Author Marketing Experts:
- Let’s eat Grandma.
- Let’s eat, Grandma.
Did you laugh when you read that? I did. It’s a simple example of why I’m sometimes very confused when I read some authors’ work.
Another example is this:
- Listen, you dumb computer—I’ve had it with you.
- I will give you a biscuit, Fido, if you sit.
- Hey, everyone, hurry up!
Again, it illustrates why the use of the comma to designate the person/object that is being addressed just makes sense. To see the whole article, go to http://www.livewritethrive.com/ and scroll down to ‘Let’s Not Eat Grandma’. Tongue in cheek, of course.
I read a great blog recently – Write with Fey where she has posted her 50 best tips for writers.
Here are my ten favourite –
- To create amazing suspense and horror, you need to use the sixth sense: your intuitive hunch, or more precisely, your character’s intuitive hunch.
- Show action-reaction. This technique can be used with every type of story. write a sentece that shows an action happening then another that shows the immediate reaction.
- To speed up the pace of your story, write shorter sentences. Short sentences can be read quicker, giving the illusion of fast action.
- Give your protagonist a weakness, and let him love. (it allows the reader to emotionally connect with him. *my comment)
- Let bad things happen to your characters. (*I have had to struggle with this one, but it’s very true.)
- Write a good beginning to hook your readers and an even better ending to satisfy them.
- Aim for realistic goals when you’re writing, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t reaach them. We all have our off days and some days may produce more writing than others. A goal is meant to encourage you, not torture you.
- After you spent months or years (in most cases) writing a book, it is always a good idea to put it down for a while. Give yourself some space form the characters you’ve been writing about.
- Show the entertaining parts that engage readers, and tell the less entertaining parts your readers just need to know. The key to showing AND telling is not to be excessive with either option, but to find a balance.
- Don’t listen to all the writing rules you hear. They are not law.
And that’s where your own intuition comes in. When a writing rule doesn’t seem to fit with what you’re working on, then perhaps it simply doesn’t apply.
Lots of good things to think about here. To see the full list go to Write With Fey –