Punctuation PerilsEditors don’t like semicolons. Did you know that? I didn’t. I’m a bit offended on their behalf, because I love semicolons. They inspire you to pause a bit longer than a comma would, but they don’t completely stop you like a period. They allow writers to extend a thought without disrupting the flow.
Seriously, I just learned that semicolons are a no-no in fiction. Apparently editors believe they slow readers down because they aren’t familiar with that particular punctuation mark. Hmmm… Does that mean that people without a college education are ignorant of punctuation? Why isn’t it covered in elementary school or high school?
In my English Comp I class there was an enlightening conversation about this maligned punctuation mark. I remember vividly because I learned how to use them correctly at that time, but I knew of their existence before then. Maybe folks don’t recognize the semicolon and writers shouldn’t use them in fiction. What do you think?
I think I’ll be doing a search and replace on my novel. *sigh*
Poetry PurgatoryI recently discovered the Triolet and though I usually steer clear of form poetry I decided to give it a try. I researched the form in some of the books I have on poetry and read a few poems. I discovered that many people have thrown out meter rules and only adhere to the rhyme and repeat scheme.
I wrote a triolet and thought it was pretty good – well, decent at least. I used eight syllable lines which seems to be missing from more recent triolets. However, it wasn’t until after I put the poem aside did I learn that the lines should be in iambic tetrameter.
It’s safe to say I’m rubbish at iambs. I remember trying to write a sonnet for one of my creative writing classes. It’s what made me give up on poetry for so long. You can call me a ditzy blonde when it comes to the ta-TUM rhythm, because I just don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand two syllable words being divided into stressed and unstressed parts. It’s the one syllable words that bedevil me. If you have any advice on the subject, I’m all ears.
I don’t plan to give up on poetry, but I’ll probably just dabble with form and focus most of my energy on free verse.
Have you learned any lessons recently that you’d like to share? Leave me a comment because I’d like to know I’m not the only one still learning the ropes.