Punctuation

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Good morning on this lovely Sunday, bright and warm in the study as the sun streams through.

Punctuation is not usually my favourite subject as I have to work very hard to get ‘it’ right. So, the thing is, that I learnt something very interesting about punctuation before, and during my last meeting with my wonderful supervisor. And yes she is, forever patient and yet, able to ‘speak it how it is’ when I need to hear some wisdom.

A few days before the meeting I was in the middle of reading a chapter in the early part of the novel and I noticed it was kind of lumpy. The text was okay, it conveyed what I wanted it too but something wasn’t quite right. Now don’t be judgemental…writing a  story can be a hard process. Anyway I made some changes and I was happy even though –  the adage of “kill all your darlings’ – rang loudly in my ears for days after.

The meeting with my supervisor was very interesting but a feeling of ‘dé·jà vu engulfed me when she said that my punctuation is really very good (get that!!!) but there are times when it doesn’t need to be, and that I might think about just writing what I want to without so many commas…they might be in the right places but they can stop the flow of the story…

And she’s right of course…and I’m really thrilled because now I don’t have to be so paranoid about the getting the ‘punctuation’ right. Instead I can make sure that the sentences flow and the story is readable.

Now you might think that I should have been writing that way all along and I am  certainly trying to make sure that the story is strong and well told. But, when I was ‘reading’ my chapters I went into my version of ‘editing mode’ and writing and editing became separate processes for me. I worried about the punctuation…and making sure that I had all my commas, and full stops and capital letters in what I thought were the correct places, without realising the other functions they were performing.

So the takeaway here for me is ‘get the story down on the page’ and make sure it flows…and that it’s okay to miss a comma or two.

On another note, today, it is 24th April 2016 and I can’t let this day go by without acknowledging all of the work and commemorations for the 1916 Irish Easter Uprising. Twitter has been running amok and I love to read all of the posts. I am intrigued that events so long ago, like ANZAC services tomorrow , still call on our emotions.

Have great day:)

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2 thoughts on “Punctuation

  1. I, too, am a pedant with commas 🙂 But I notice in my recent reading e.g., ‘H is for Hawk’ that the punctuation is spare. This hasn’t bothered me, in fact, I think it allows readers to progress at their own pace rather than pausing and stopping as directed via punctuation.

    As for it being 24 April…I feel profound gratitiude for the process that was put in motion on this day 100 years ago that allows me to call myself Irish, rather than British. I have the greatest respect for the men and women who fought and died for the freedom of their country and their countrymen.

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  2. Hi Robyn and thank you for your comments.

    I think punctuation certainly has a new meaning for me now and I no longer worry quite as much as I did about getting it right. It’s about writing a really good and readable story….

    I understand what you mean about gratitude, I love how I can now say openly that I am proud of my Irish families. I was born in London, of Irish parents I have a brother who was born in Mallow. I was lucky enough to grow up in Ireland from when I was about 2 to about 7 years old. I am still trying to piece my childhood together…we were a family of movers. I remember that on my return to England Mum and Dad moved to the country and by the time of the late 60s Mum had rejected her Irishness and tried to change our name from McAuliffe to Auliffe. Dad was so upset and I can’t remember what happened after that. I am now understanding a lot more through my research of Irish female migration. Times were tough then.

    April 24 and 25 hold great significance for our family and we had a foot in both camps so to speak. Both my Irish Grandfathers joined Irish Regiments (Royal Dublin Fusiliers) in 1914 until 1922. Both served in France, with my maternal Grandfather also serving in the Middle East. Both were wounded, both survived. Neither spoke of their experiences. So, they were away during the events that were unfolding in Ireland. However, from what I can piece together, other members of the family were involved in what was happening, and I am now trying to research the: McAuliffes; the O’Carrolls; the Gartlands; and the Woods, when I get a few spare moments. So, I too have the greatest respect for the men and women who fought and died for the freedom of their country and their countrymen.

    Olga:)

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