Slightly touched (sundara) wrote,
Slightly touched

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To all writers who are interested in the craft

I'm in luv. There's a new book out by a very good writing instructor, Noah Lukeman. I have his The First Five Pages and found it very informative; I expect good things of this new book. Not only that, in the teaser online at, he says things I've said, almost word for word! So natch, I am In Love.

The book is: "A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation."   Read on, gentle reader,

"Most writers do not want to know the 17 uses of the comma, or ponder the 4th-century usage of the semicolon. Most writers simply want to improve their writing. They want to know how punctuation can serve them—not how they can serve punctuation. They have turned to books on punctuation, but have found them painfully mundane. Unfortunately, many of these books tend to ignore anyone hoping to use punctuation with a bit of style.
This book will offer a fresh look at punctuation: as an art form. Punctuation is often discussed as a convenience, as a way of facilitating what you want to say. Rarely is it pondered as a medium for artistic expression, as a means of impacting on the content—not in a pedantic way, but in the most profound way, where it achieves symbiosis with the narration, style, viewpoint, and even the plot itself.
Why did Ernest Hemingway lean heavily on the period? Why did William Faulkner eschew it? Why did Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville rely on the semicolon? Did Emily Dickinson embrace the dash, Gertrude Stein avoid the comma? How could the punctuation differ so radically between these great authors? What did punctuation add that language itself could not?

There is an underlying rhythm to all text. Sentences crash and fall like the waves of the sea, work unconsciously on the reader. Punctuation is the music of language. (YES YES YES!!!) As a conductor can influence the experience of a song by manipulating its rhythm, so can punctuation influence the reading experience, bring out the best (or worst) in a text. By controlling the speed of a text, punctuation dictates how it should be read.
A delicate world of punctuation lives just beneath the surface of your work, like a world of micro-organisms living in a pond. They are missed by the naked eye, but if you use a microscope you’ll find they exist, and that the pond is, in fact, teeming with life. This book will teach you to become sensitive to this habitat. The more you do, the greater the likelihood of your crafting a finer work in every respect. Conversely, the more you turn a blind eye, the greater the likelihood of your creating a cacophonous text, and of your being misread."
Tags: books, writing
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