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Showing posts from September, 2012

Punctuation I Haven't Met Yet

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Boy, do I have egg on my face. I have been busily correcting people's punctuation, and writing about how important punctuation is (http://annajonesbuttimore.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/punctuation-matters.html) but I've just got my manuscript back from the editor, and it seems I've got it all wrong. Me!

Specifically, em dashes. I hadn't heard of them until today, but I've just had to Google them to find out what they are and how I should be using them.

Let me point that out again. I am the author of five books, and vast numbers of articles in the legal press, and I had not heard of em dashes before today.

I certainly wasn't taught about them at school, and even now, having read all about them on Wikipedia and blogs and several other grammar sites, my co-author and I are looking in bewilderment at each other wondering whether we really do need to go through the entire manuscript replacing all our hyphens with a symbol which isn't even on our keyboard. (We've …

And my New Project is...

Among the many writing tips I have been given over the years, my favourite is "Always be working on the next project."

I've found it to be great advice and have always acted on it. Books can take a year or more in editing and publication, so I've always been working on the sequel, or a new story, and have, on occasion, been taken slightly by surprise when a book I'd largely forgotten about hits the shelves. (These feeling of "What, that old thing?" must be even more marked for actors, who can find themselves travelling around giving interviews and generally promoting a movie they finished working on years ago.)

So I didn't sit around waiting to hear from agents about Emon and the Emperor, because I was too busy working on The Saved Saint. That meant that when the rejections started rolling in, my disappointment was tempered by my excitement for my new project. And now that The Saved Saint is being edited, rather than checking my email twenty times a…

Punctuation Matters!

My husband brought home an unsolicited fax received at his office yesterday. It was advertising company workwear, and said:

"We always send a visual proof and will not start production. Without your approval we keep your logo on file so you can repeat order year. After year prices exclude VAT and carriage."

It took me a good five minutes to figure out what it meant. Why won't they start production after sending the proof? I think I would rather they sought my approval to keep my logo on file! So let me get this straight - tax and carriage are included for orders during the first year but not after that?

Here's what it should have said:

"We always send a visual proof and will not start production without your approval. We keep your logo on file so you can repeat order year after year. Prices exclude VAT and carriage."

Someone at this company knows about full stops and capital letters. They just have no idea where they go, and sprinkle them randomly across a pa…