Reply To: Prose Questions

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The Inkspiller


It’s important to find your the right fit for your writing style! Not everything I say or give to you as advice is going to necessarily work with your vision, it’s simply my judgment based off the experience of what has worked for me for the stories I’ve tried to tell.

1. Semicolons

It’s true, I have been several times convicted for criminal abuse of the semicolon. I like using them as a more extended pause than an m dash, but more suspenseful than a period. It’s personal taste, but I use them to break up what would otherwise be a marathon of a sentence or two awkward dumplings sat in separate bathroom stalls.

2. Conjunctions

I did present it as a hard rule, but only because many beginners (without the unintentional presumption that you are one) make the mistake of abusing them. ‘But’ & ‘and’ can be competently used to start sentences with – in fact, I do so myself in my own works. Nonetheless I try to use them only as dramatic punctuation, rather than to regularly combine sentences across a period. For example, in the phrases you just posted:


Then the wave hit.

That was when the door swung open.

‘Then’ is a conjunction as well, if a sequential one, and ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘then’ can be successfully used for dramatic effect, echoing how you might narrate the scene in speech, like an oral storyteller.


3. Critique

Hit me with a doc link and I’ll try to take a look at it within the next couple weeks. I have more time than usual thanks to focusing on just my degree over the summer instead of trying to work and study full time at once, so I can take a gander! Do you want me to purely focus on line edits or approach your chapter with a mind to storytelling as well?


Glad to be of service!

Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, Tuo da gloriam.

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