Thursday, May 14, 2009

Welcome to Punctuate It!

My first post. Whoot! If you read the info on the left hand panel, you'll see what this blog is about. I'm a writer and an editor. I write literary fiction (published smally---yes, I know that isn't a word and I'm going to use it anyway, sue me---and inobtrusively) but I'm also an editor of fiction, memoir and trade non-fiction (that means non-academic stuff).

I've been writing for a long time, I rarely submit (too picky, I think, with my own stuff) but I've been editing part-time for about six years. I find myself spending more and more time on editing and less and less time on writing. I have post-grad credentials in both fields and I specialized in fiction editing in my editorial studies.

I interact with an international pool of writers and one of the most common themes (note the literary reference) I find in the vast pool of self-flagellating paranoia where writers swim is the fear of making a grammatical or punctuation error. That is only topped by the whipping winds of "not knowing when they've made a grammatical or punctation error" which will, of course, negate any possibility of getting a publishing contract. Not.

The only true grammarians I know (note the qualifier, I don't know everybody in the world, thank God) are copyeditors. And copyeditors wouldn't have jobs if writers knew where every comma should be placed, how to make a sentence parallel or if the subjunctive is the correct case in a particular sentence or not. In other words, relax. The last thing thing an acquisitions editor is worried about is your punctuation skills. Incorrect spelling might be an issue. It means you're lazy. Punctuation is a fluid thing and subject to style guides and sun spots, as well as trends and nationalities.

I'm conversant in Canadian, American and UK styles for grammar and punctuation. I'm Canadian, I had to learn all three since we mix them up liberally and label them all "Canadian" when it's convenient or just feels good.

Ask away. Gimme your tough sentences, bristling semicolons, stuttering commas, looping ellipsis, dangling participles, your fragments, splices and run-ons. I love them all. :-)

Fair warning though, you might be surprised how out of touch your English prof was and is. :-)

The advice I give here will be current and to the very best of my knowledge (or the knowledge of my colleagues) correct, as of the day it is written. Tomorrow, who knows. If you think you catch me in mistake, by all means, let me know. I'm not infallible, nor perfect (well, let me think about that...okay...not perfect). I don't edit my own posts much or well. Make it a game to find my mistakes on my blog posts. It'll keep me on my toes and help me to edit my own fiction. Thanks in advance. :-)

Hit me with your best shot.


PS. You might find the occasional rant here on the subject of writers beating up other writers over nothing, passive voice and what it really is and who cares about it, plot versus story, dialogue tags and beats and how to get over yourself on them...stuff...might happen.


  1. Yeehaw! A credible source for those pesky grammatical and punctuational (?) questions. Can't wait to see what nuggets you have to offer up :).

  2. Congratulations! I will be stopping by.

  3. I'm so excited to have found this blog! Thanks for all your future help!

  4. Welcome, everybody. :-)


  5. Does this mean there will be no LOLs or OMGs or I can haz chzburgr posts on this blog?

    Great idea for a blog. I'm looking forward to visiting.

  6. Awesome blog! I'm definitely following this. UK English used here = yay! Many misunderstandings happen because of differences from across the pond.

    My knowledge of grammar is this will be an invaluable tool for me!

  7. I'm glad I found you. Thanks for doing this.

    Lynnette Labelle

    ”Lynnette Labelle’s Blog”

  8. Yeah! I'm really bad with grammar, so bless you for starting this blog to help writers like me.

  9. Welcome all of you and thank you for stopping in to take a look.

    Feel free to pop a question (no worries, I'm married, not "that" question) or ask for some clarification on anything "writerly."

    I'll be posting a couple of times a week, I think, as well as answering any sticky stuff on grammar or punctuation.

    Stay tuned. :-)


  10. This is a great blog, Sharon. I need all the help I can get. You rock!


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