What sense do you use to punctuate?

Some people hear a comma, some see it, and others follow the rules. #writetip What’s right for you?

For me, it’s a combination of all three. When I write my first draft, I like to hear the punctuation. Somehow it makes writing flow easier. I don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong at this stage. I think this lets my natural style come out.

When I review the first draft, I pay attention to how punctuation looks. Does the page look too cluttered? Is my eye distracted by the noise? If it is, I check to see if I’ve overused any punctuation marks.

During my final proofread, before sending the novel to anyone, I check whether my punctuation follows the grammatical and syntactical units of my style guide. If it doesn’t, then I decide if I want to break a rule or follow it. I want my voice to come out, not that of the rules. I also don’t want to make glaring errors.

Like most things in life, punctuating a novel is a balance.


4 thoughts on “What sense do you use to punctuate?

  1. I have a beta reader that always complains that I use too many commas. My problem is that I am an English Major, and I KNOW where commas belong. However, I see now that if you use a comma everywhere it is gramatically correct, it can stumble a reader, or look excessive.


    1. I think you can apply the rules differently depending on the writer. If you are beta reading for a writer that doesn’t like to use too many commas, maybe only add ones that are absolutely necessary. The opposite goes for a writer that uses too many command. Take out the ones that break the rules. It’s hard to make everyone happy.


Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s