Tell It Like It Is

Dialogue can be tricky. If you want to make your characters’ conversations sparkle, there is plenty of good advice on the internet. But first, tidy up basics, like punctuation and speech tags, that can distract from your brilliant banter. This is a checklist to help you dust off your dialogue ready for that final polish that … Continue reading Tell It Like It Is

Where Commas Fear to Tread

What a comma CAN’T do  ‘Not commas again’, I hear you groan. Well... yes, because I promised (or threatened) a post about semicolons. Semicolons step in where commas (should) fear to tread. Editors frown when two independent clauses (or complete sentences, if you prefer) are joined by a comma. They call this a comma splice... WRONG … Continue reading Where Commas Fear to Tread

Comma Conclusion, Part 4

I thought I knew about commas before I started looking into them. It’s been a learning curve. I’ve recently revisited some of my short stories, and there have been a lot of changes. This concluding article in the series tidies up some odds and ends in situations where commas confuse. But, and other little words that … Continue reading Comma Conclusion, Part 4

Continuing Commas, Part 2: Comma Categories

I started making notes about commas after a former colleague asked for help with a job application. I made notes for him on my edits and when I wasn’t sure why I wanted to change something, I checked online. That was when my investigation ran away with itself; there was much more to commas than … Continue reading Continuing Commas, Part 2: Comma Categories

Comma Conundrums, Part 1: Rotating Sentences and the Oxford Comma

Do you remember when they told you at school that commas indicate a pause in the sentence? Wrong! (Okay – maybe it was only primary school…) I have a piece of editing software. (Mine is ProWritingAid; other editing software is available.) I use it for a final check, and its reports regularly tell me I’ve … Continue reading Comma Conundrums, Part 1: Rotating Sentences and the Oxford Comma