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Suggestions?
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 1:48 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


I have a problem and I'm hoping the experienced writers here at BC can give me a hand.  I just started writing about a year ago and I have no frigging clue about proper comma placement and punctuation. 

I need a remedial class or something. 

This week is going to be spent studying and trying to correct this problem. 

What I'm asking is, do you guys have any blogs bookmarked or handy websites that are the go-to for punctuation?  Or would it be easier to pay mass amounts of money for someone else to edit my work? 

stephmcgee
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 7:35 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Honey, you don't need to pay copious amounts of money to have someone else edit your writing. I'd start with checking out a copy of Elements of Style by E.B. White (& Strunk, but I don't know that dude's first name off-hand). There might even be a "For Dummies" guide on punctuation and grammar that you could check out of the library. Heck, do a search in Google books and see if any free e-books come up that you could download. (You have a Kindle, right? See if there's anything in Amazon's free Kindle library that would do this.)

I can't think of any blog posts off-hand, but if I come across something I'll let you know.
stephmcgee
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 7:37 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Just so you know, Elements of Style is 99 cents for Kindle.
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 7:46 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


I feel stupid now, I actually have Elements of Style down in the basement with the rest of my first year college books.

Paying someone to do it doesn't feel right so I'm not inclined to go that route. That and I'm cheap as hell. I might as well learn to do it right the first time. I've been trying to study all day and I think I'm making some headway.

Genetics consulting is much easier in comparison.
stephmcgee
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 7:51 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


LOL. Another thing you could do, though this is a more osmotic approach, is reading poetry. But don't read it for content only. As you read the poems, look at how the poet uses punctuation. (But stay away from William Carlos Williams and maybe E.E. Cummings because one or both of them leave all punctuation out of their poems.) This can show you the more intuitive nature of punctuation. Generally, if when you're reading something out loud and you feel the need for a pause (for breath or whatever), that's an indication that there should be some sort of punctuation there. The longer the pause needed, the harder the punctuation required. (Comma=soft, period= hard, with semi-colons, dashes, and parentheses in-between.)

Not a hard rule, but a good guideline to follow.
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:03 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


I think I'm starting to get it now. Maybe.

Poetry isn't something I'm really keen on or I would try it. Reading my manuscripts out loud is really helping with comma placement.
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:09 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416


Also, don't forget, this is a critique group. We'd be happy to help out with that regards, pointing out certain goofs, and why its a goof, so you can compile a list of DON'T DO THIS for yourself to watch.
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:53 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


I love the idea of a DON'T DO THIS list.

Two days of studying proper punctuation and now I'm editing my manuscripts. Let's hope I didn't learn the wrong things!
Ellie Isis
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 1:06 AM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 60


If you ever have a specific grammar question, feel free to toss it my way. I teach grammar for a living and actually love it.
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 1:41 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


You are going to regret offering that, fair warning.
Ellie Isis
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 9:02 PM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 60


Nah, not a problem. Just be specific in your questions. In other words, give me the sentence with the issue, and I'll try to explain why something is or is not correct.
Suzan Isik
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 1:48 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 13


I recently took Angela James's Before You Hit Send workshop. It's a self-editing workshop. It's amazing. I learned more from her in three weeks than I did in four years of Technical Writing. I have this fancy schmancy degree and I'm an editor for my day job. And Angela taught me things I didn't even think about. I'm a better editor now than I was before I took that workshop and I will highly recommend it to anyone. Just get in fast, because she always fills the seats.
 

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