Thursday, March 1, 2007

Paean to Punctuation

Noah Lukeman wrote the First Five Pages – a Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. The title makes eyes go wide in creative writing classes. Editors and agents would reject a manuscript after reading just five pages?? Yes, they would, and here's why. It's a great book.

Last year saw the publication of Lukeman's new book A Dash of Style - The Art and Mastery of Punctuation. It takes up where Strunk and White and the Chicago Manual of Style leave off; it advises writers on the creative potential and pitfalls of punctuation.

Here's how Lukeman introduces the colon:

"The colon is the magician of the punctuation world. It holds its audience in suspense, waits until just the right moment, then voila: it pulls back the curtain to reveal the result. It sits on the very peak of drama, with all that comes before building to it, and all that follows a denouement. As such, it is one of the most effective punctuation marks to propel a word or clause into the limelight."

A Dash of Style is something of a paean to punctuation, and Lukeman makes a wonderful and helpful read of it all. Recommended.

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