Friday, August 2, 2013

My Achilles' Heel

I love dashes. Not this sort: 
But this sort:

I liberally pepper my work w/them. While editing my manuscript, I've realized that I have a dash on every page. Every single page has anywhere from one to ten dashes. I don't know if that's a deal breaker as far as having a grammatically flawless ms(ha, ha...), but I definitely thought it showed a lack of variety. Some of those dashes could be semi-colons, or even plain ol' periods(so boring, sigh).
 
So I've been going through and deciding what dashes are absolutely necessary, and not just a product of my dash-feen. See! Geez, I can't get away from it! ;)
 
What about you all? Anything that you find yourself doing over and over again in your writing? I'd be interested to hear it!

18 comments:

  1. Most of us have writing tics, just as we have verbal ones. I am a big dasher too, possibly because they feel/look intuitively right. I overuse them and misuse them in lieu of commas. They have the look of a conversation pause.
    Recently I heard a very articulate speaker begin every answer in an interview with the word SO. Another famous person, one of our former presidents, began almost every answer with WELL (comma)....
    Well, so it seems to be ours are the dashes---.
    :=(

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    1. I've found that I say 'um' a lot when talking. It just works its way in w/out me even knowing it!

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  2. I was going to say a lot of writers uses dashes in place of commas.

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    1. I'm rereading Harry Potter & Rowling uses lots of dashes. So now I don't feel so bad! =)

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  3. I found myself using a lot of dashes, and began thumbing through some books in my library to see if others did also. Surprisingly, I found a lot of authors use dashes liberally. They are punctuation marks used to note breaks, pauses, or hesitations -- so dash away all!

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    1. 'Dash away all!' That's definitely a good motto for me... ;)

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  4. For me it's italics and short sentences in monologues. I call it my 'Joyce Carol Oates curse.'

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    1. Now I'm curious who Joyce Carol Oates is. Google! =)

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  5. I'm a big fan of em-dashes. But you're right, you need to edit them and decide what you can eliminate. I'm not a big fan of the semi colon, however.

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    1. I didn't use to like the semi colon either, but it's slowly grown on me- it's second to my dash craze! =)

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  6. I'm a bit of a dash fanatic myself and liberal with italics, too. Someone pointed this out in a critique once and I'm sensitive to it now but I can't help myself.

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    1. 'but I can't help myself'. I know, right?!

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  7. I love em-dashes. You do have to make sure you have variety with your sentences though, so cutting back some is probably a good idea.

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  8. I have been trying to root out an overuse of em-dashes in my current WIP. Just my latest discovery. The word "that" was another.

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    1. Oh, 'that', that very sneaky word! It does show up everywhere, doesn't it? ;)

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  9. I use a lot of dashes, too, but I use even more exclamation points. I am working on this, though. Everything in moderation, right? = )

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    1. I'm a BIG fan of the exclamation point(I even have a jar in my bathroom w/one on it), which is probably pretty obvious, especially here on my blog... But they're just such friendly little creatures! ;)

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