Thursday, April 17, 2014

Make Love, Not Semicolon Carnage

It's funny how life can smack you upside the head and change your perspective faster than a raging barbarian with a bad-hair day.

I was dead-set on eliminating semicolons, chopping them off at the period, throttling their little dangling comma and tossing the whole lot into the wind. They were evil things that did not belong in my holy epic fantasy prose, and had to be exorcised.

But you know what? As I neared the finish of my current edit, the sunset brilliant and touching, I ran into places where they were the only sort of punctuation that worked.

Now don't go striking me in the head with anything blunt or sharp...please. I haven't had to do this kind of line-level analysis in the past. The only piece of work beyond a blog post or flash fiction that I took to Final, was a short story called Child of Iron. (It's a dark little bugger I'll share one day soon.) And for that piece I was able to skirt the issue of the semicolon, or at least this is what I think from my current state of delusion.

So, what does this mean? What is the point? It shows two things to me:
1) When I discovered semicolons in prose, I overused them, and probably even abused them. My apologies.
2) At least some of the big publishers of fantasy in the last couple decades have excised them entirely, making my reading content primarily semicolon-free. I say this from a limited viewpoint, but at times I have been a healthy reader and, as a result, I became of the mindset to avoid them like the rusty-blade of a half-starved mercenary.

I find number two interesting, namely because it seems a little unnecessary.

So, come back to me my little semicolon friends, I will not harm you or harry you on your long as you do my bidding.


  1. Cute. I don't mind a semi-colon or two.

  2. Yeah, they're not nearly as offensive as I had originally opined. ;-)


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