Saturday 21 December 2013

Happy Christmas Dear Friends.

A Heartfelt Happy Christmas Season to all the lovely people -both readers and writers - join me time and again at Life Twice Tasted time and to share with me the oddities that obsessions  that preoccupy my butterfly mind. You are my delight.

Here at LifeTwiceTasted Manor Christmas has arrived 
and at last the tree is up

My good intention for 2014  is

is to shrug off my delight with the idiosyncrasies of grammar. It does tend to split the reading and writing world. Although (as it's still 2013) I am wondering about the subtle magic of prolepsis and litotes ...

Thinking about  2014 I heard this good saying on  - of all things - an American cop-show: 

'If you always do what you've always done you always get what you always did.' 
Makes sense to me. 
So it looks as though 2014 will be a year of change in my life. 


Best wishes for a brilliantly written and well-read year in 2014

Love Wendy

Monday 9 December 2013

Does The Use Of Colons And Semi-Colons Date Your Style?

This half-year has been full of editorial tasks: editing and completing a novel before sending it to my agent; revising some of my published novels using Createspace to re-publish them on Kindle and in paperback. I
have also been reviewing other people’s work and giving editorial judgements.

We all have attitudes to prose – our own and that of other writers. As for me, I love the subtle energy that colons and semicolons add to prose. They are syntactical tools that act to smooth the progress from sentence to sentence.

Some people do seem to have problems with the use of colons and semi-colons. But really it’s not so difficult: we use the colon to provide a pause before introducing related information, while we use the semicolon to create a break in a sentence that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop.

But there are times when we as writers need to stand back a little.

Recently I asked a friend – a good editor – to cast a final eye over a story I'd been polishing making it ready for a prestigious competition.

My friend said many good things about the story, then hesitated. 
‘What is it?’ I say, with writerly anxiety.
‘Well. The colons and the semi-colons…’
‘What about them?’ I am defensive. I love these subtle tools of syntax.
‘Well, somehow, I’m stubbing my toe on them.’
My eyes narrow. ‘They’re all correct.’ I say.
‘Well somehow they look…’ she hesitates. ‘It’s different with essays and factual. In fiction they look…’
Then it dawns on me. ‘…dated, old fashioned?’
She colours, ‘Well, not quite…’

But that’s certainly what she means.

I hate to think that my style might be dated. I like to think I have an open mind: a fresh view of the world in my work. I like to think my writing reflects this for my readers. I hope it does.

I went through my story again, reviewed the colons and semi-colons and removed two of them. I’m not sure whether or not it was an improvement. I have no answer as yet to this dilemma. We’ll see

So, what’s your view of colons and semi-colons? Are they a positive or a negative element in modern writing? 

It would be interesting to know. Wx


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