Self Editing and Formatting, Part 2

The way someone reacts to bad punctuation.

Last Friday I posted about curbing the most common grammar mistakes, click here! This week, you guessed it, we’re focusing on Punctuation.

  • The most basic/common punctuation mistakes:
    • Irregular comma usage: the most important thing is to be consistent. If in a list you put a comma before” and” then do that every time (serial commas). If you put a comma before “too” at the end of a sentence, do it every time. Be consistent, or you’ll drive people crazy.
    • Misplaced Quotation marks: completely enclose dialogue and punctuation (at the end of a sentence).
    • Overused Exclamation marks: use sparingly
      • instead, use words that convey the excitement of what’s happening (ie: he yelled)
    • Periods and Question marks mix-ups: be sure you’re using the right one at the end of a sentence.

That’s all I got in my notes from the discussion I sat in on at the Agile Writer’s Conference back in January. Short and sweet, just as any lesson on punctuation should be.

So tell me, what punctuation mistake do you most often make–me, it’s not putting the quotation marks after the period at the end of a sentence, but I’m doing better. Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing-thing together!

Be sure to check back next Friday for tips on scene checking.


4 thoughts on “Self Editing and Formatting, Part 2

  1. I completely agree with the one about exclamation marks! It’s amazing how weird it looks after you’re told it’s like laughing at your own joke! I can’t believe how often I used them in my manuscript prior to learning that rule!

  2. Unless the punctuation is truly awful and the writing not very interesting to me I give writers a break with little errors. I enjoy finding typos and things like that in traditional publishing–very comforting to me. 🙂

    1. it does ease the pressure when i realize that professional published books have errors, but i can be pulled out of something if the writing’s too atrocious. i know i’m not perfect though. 😉 still learning! thanks for commenting!

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