Too many periods? Too few? If you feel like it, you can use periods only now and then, and in doing so come up with long and articulate paragraphs brimming with all the other punctuation marks — you know what I mean — the usual suspects: the run-of-the-mill comma, the snooty semicolon, the perennially over-excited exclamation point, and the dubious question mark, just to name a few; I mean... Why on earth should one ever repeatedly resort to the period, when she could instead rely on such an abundance of perfectly satisfactory alternatives? Stop staring at the above one-sentence … [Read more...] about How to Use Punctuation Marks — the Period (Full Stop)
Every writer who’s been producing words for at least a little while knows that lexico-grammatical rules are never to be considered absolute truths. In fact, creative writing is such a complex and nuanced activity it would be naive to believe it’s possible to straitjacket it into perfectly defined boundaries. However, how to books, even those advertising an infallible method to write the bestselling novel of the century, aren’t the worst -- and they’re not by a wide margin. In fact, in such books we can find some interesting suggestions about writing -- ideas and principles that can help us … [Read more...] about Self-help Books and Writing Manuals — Some Considerations
Grammar can be thought of as the set of rules governing a language — rules a large number of people agree on. This definition is pretty basic. However, some considerations are in order. First, even if when we speak of grammar we generally think of verbal or written communication and of words and the way they're put together, this is just an instance of grammar. For example, besides what's in the balloons, comics have a grammar of their own. To show flashbacks, dreams, the main line of action. To emphasize the importance of a certain scene and so on comics organize visual elements … [Read more...] about Grammar in Creative Writing — Does It Matter?
A comma signals a pause. To a beginning writer this pearl of wisdom is about as useful as a map is to a four years old with knowledge of neither orientation nor scale. To start with, there are different ways to signal a pause. A Subject and Its Verb The sentence Henry, he went to the cinema can certainly be uttered with a brief pause -- hence the use of the comma -- but in real life people can also break it up with other punctuation marks. For example: Henry... He went to the cinema. (to show ponderation, unwillingness to answer...)Henry! He went to the cinema. (to show surprise, … [Read more...] about How to Use Commas — A Subject and Its Verb | Restrictive and Non-Restrictive Clauses
I'm on vacation in Spain. Near Cartagena, to be precise. The weather is fine, and the sea pleasantly refreshing. A couple of hours ago I finished lunch. I had gazpacho, fried cheese, bread, salad, and lomo. I concluded my meal with a couple of ripe and tasty plums. And washed everything with genereous amounts of sangria. Then I wrote a short story. It is more or less 900 words long. And I think I'm going to post it sometime during the next week. You know, I need to let it rest a bit, to clean it adequately. Instead, today I'm going to give you a list of books about the craft of writing I … [Read more...] about The craft of writing – my top picks
How the indiscriminate use of adverbs in creative writing can undermine precise writing, and how to avoid this. Precise writing is writing in which you as an author manage to put down on paper all your thoughts so that there’s (ideally) no discrepancy between what you want to write and what you actually write. Sure, seen from a distance, this transferring process might seem quite straightforward, but as any author knows only too well, precise writing isn’t always such a natural process. In fact, while it is relatively easy to write a page after the other just letting the words flow … [Read more...] about Precise writing – how and when to use adverbs to write better