Writing Prompt: By the Dots

We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

It might seem strange, but I have no hard and fast feelings about punctuation. There are days when I want to write short, staccato sentences and other days when punctuation seems to get in the way of my stream of thoughts. Some days I’ll exclaim my sentences to death. Other days I am able to find just the right sequence of words that does the job of an exclamation mark. Punctuation doesn’t dictate my communication, but at times, there is nothing like a properly placed…pause.

The trick is to know when to use certain punctuation and at what frequency. Which punctuation works to express a certain mood and which is a distraction away from an idea that can live without a host of commas.

I try to listen to the music of a sentence. I let it play as I read it through. Every word I see as a note. If any of the notes sound a bit off, I first check for word usage, then check my punctuation to see if it is causing my sentence to go flat.