Punctuation Matters

Welcome back, loyal listeners! This week, we take a look at punctuation and its role in fiction. As always, you may watch and listen below. Show notes are below the YouTube embed. Come back next week when we look at how to launch a book!




Punctuation Matters

  • Publishing term of the day: CMOS (Chicago Manual of Style)
  • Punctuation matters
    • The purpose of punctuation. Why it matters.
      • Punctuation exists for the reader. It helps them read.
      • Readers read sentences, not minds. Punctuation helps them understand what you mean.
        • “What’s that in the road ahead? is very different from, “What’s that in the road, a head?”
      • Open style vs. closed style
    • End marks
      • Periods
      • Exclamation points (Don’t replace these with all-caps, either.)
      • Question marks
      • Possessive apostrophe
      • “Oxford” (serial) comma and why you should use it.
        • Uncle Joe’s will gave a million dollars to Bob, Mary, Joe and Buford. (So, legally speaking, Joe and Buford split a million.
        • You can’t go wrong using a serial comma.
        • Why Associated Press and others call for no serial comma.
        • Sometimes it’s a tough call:
      • In dialog
    • Quotation marks
      • Italics and internal dialog
        • Avoid “he thought to himself.”
    • Punctuation inside (outside when quoting titles etc.)
    • Punctuation outside
      • Semi-colon
      • Colon
    • Double quotes, open quotes, closed quotes, single quotes etc.
      • Interjections “Of course, it’s important” vs. “Of course it’s important.”

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