The Playground of Punctuation


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Thread: The Playground of Punctuation

  1. #1

    The Playground of Punctuation

    What do you do that is interesting or fun -- or new and effective -- with punctuation and grammar?

    I used to think of punctuation as being something boring that I just had to get right. When I started looking at all of the things people are doing nowadays (at least in Y/A), and when I started trying to use them, I found it fun, and interesting, and I think effective. It was like having all these new ways of expressing things.

    I don't how to have a discussion on this. I'll present things, and if people want to join in or criticize, that's great.

    So . . .
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  2. #2
    For example.

    My MC pokes a pin into her finger in class because she's bored. We get this:

    Suddenly Savannah, sitting next to me, let's out this piercing scream. I guess she's afraid of blood. I turn to her. "I'm sorry."

    "OH. MY. GOD. She's bleeding. She's bleeding on her desk. Get me out of here."
    This uses all-caps. I think nowadays this conveys an emotional shouting, one possibility being freaking out.

    It also uses the period-after-every-word-in-the-sentence technique. This shows that every word is being spoken separately.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #3
    While I can't say I entirely subscribe to it, there is something to be said for the judicious use of TXT SPK and punctuation. Like. In. Your. Example.
    Wisdom is seldom boisterous.

    -- a guy I know --

    If you're into hillbilly themed pornography (and, really, who ISN'T these days?), check out Hidden Content and Hidden Content . There's no pornography, but everything IS written by a hillbilly.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    For example.

    My MC pokes a pin into her finger in class because she's bored. We get this:


    This uses all-caps. I think nowadays this conveys an emotional shouting, one possibility being freaking out.

    It also uses the period-after-every-word-in-the-sentence technique. This shows that every word is being spoken separately.
    The period-after-every-word is an amateur technique. It's undoubtedly the worst way of demonstrating that every word is being spoken separately.

    All-caps is another one that you don't see much outside of one or two genres. It's a crutch used to tell readers that someone is shouting, rather than letting them figure it out through tone of voice and dialogue.
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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  5. #5
    punctuation to me is like mathematics..i have a grasp of what i consider the basics and have tried to build on that but my level of ability will never leave me in a position to ever feel i understand it all....
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    The period-after-every-word is an amateur technique. It's undoubtedly the worst way of demonstrating that every word is being spoken separately.

    All-caps is another one that you don't see much outside of one or two genres. It's a crutch used to tell readers that someone is shouting, rather than letting them figure it out through tone of voice and dialogue.
    I suspect the comment about genres is important. It would be no surprise to me if these techniques will seem amatuerish in some genres. In Y/A, and related genres they are starting to come off as normal and I would be surprised if they drew attention.

    The "crutch" comment is probably wrong. They get used because there is no better way of conveying what the author wants to convey. That's not my guess, it's something we should discuss. In the case of periods for every word, it conveys that every word is being spoken separately within the text.

    All-caps doesn't exactly mean just shouting any more, it means an emotional shouting (with other possibilities). If you want to convey unemotional shouting in Y/A, you probably should write "What?" he shouted.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  7. #7
    Emotional shouting?

    I hate to break it to you, Emma, but all-caps means shouting. Not emotional, hysterical, uncontrollable -- just shouting.
    Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Emotional shouting?

    I hate to break it to you, Emma, but all-caps means shouting. Not emotional, hysterical, uncontrollable -- just shouting.
    According to the Official English Language Bureau (WHICH DOES NOT EXIST!), it just means shouting. I agree.

    Did you want to discuss actual usage? Hazel walks into Isaac's hospital room, he's newly blind, he confuses her voice with his ex-girlfriend, and we read
    "Oh," he said. "Yeah, people keep saying my other senses will improve to compensate, but CLEARLY NOT YET. Hi, Support Group Hazel."
    This is from The Fault in Our Stars, and John Green seems sensitive to the issue that all-caps used to mean shouting. But I don't think it fits this quote at all.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  9. #9
    I think punctuation can be a very powerful tool to create unique effects. Consider Cormac McCarthy's, The Road. He uses no quotation marks and very sparse punctuation over all. It takes a few pages to get into the rhythm of what he is doing (something that a new writer would never survive) but once settled in, the overall effect enhances the starkness, the desolation, of the world the characters find themselves in. Now, I'm not suggesting that we all go out and scrub away the commas, colons, and semicolons in our writing (although my own stuff could probably use some semicolon scrubbing). But, we should feel free to try and be creative with punctuation when it is called for, and when we do it with a plan--not just to be different. If you want to be different from most other stuff out there write a good story.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

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  10. #10
    At the risk of being pretty darn obvious, there is one kind of bland use of esoteric punctuation we probably can all agree is okay: something written by a character.

    OMG, UR protag sends LOTS of txts

    Or, perhaps, she uses commas, in a most peculiar, and overdone, manner; maybe even semicolons.

    At any rate, when 'reproducing' the written material of a character, I certainly try to replicate the kind of weird punctuation and other usage patterns they would make. I think that we can pretty much all agree that to do so is a good policy, but that brings me to my point: if you want to have that trick in your bag, you have to be fairly conventional in your punctuation and such elsewhere.

    On a related note, if I would use a particular approach to punctuation (or grammar) to indicate that a character is obnoxious, silly, or not that bright, I sure don't want to use that in my general exposition.
    Wisdom is seldom boisterous.

    -- a guy I know --

    If you're into hillbilly themed pornography (and, really, who ISN'T these days?), check out Hidden Content and Hidden Content . There's no pornography, but everything IS written by a hillbilly.

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