Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Am a Comma Idiot

Or, in other words, things I learned from my copyeditor.

Seriously, guys, to be a copyeditor, you probably have to have a masters degree in Where to Correctly Place A Comma.

So, I got to read over my copyedited manuscript (Shifting--September 2011/Walker Books) over the weekend (SQUEE!). And here's what I learned.

Always capitalize the T in T-shirt. (And my characters wear a LOT of T-shirts!)

What the freak are hyphens for? Because I know they can join a word divided by a line and all, but they join a whole heck of a lot more than that.

Commas are a complete MYSTERY! I thought I knew where to put them. Thought I was pretty suave at commas! N. O. T. Now I am more confused than ever (hangs head).

Muttered and mumbled are definitely NOT the same thing. Oops! My bad!

And, what I learned more than anything?

I LOVE MY MANUSCRIPT!!!

What is your punctuation faux pas?

30 comments:

Indigo said...

Comma's are a puzzle at times. However, my faux pas is definitely the semi-colon. I'm learning shorter, more precise sentences work better. (Hugs)Indigo

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i used to be really good with commas. Then i went off the deep end with them. So now i don't really know any more

Patti said...

I'm better with commas than I used to be, still need to figure out the semi colon and colon.

Kristi Helvig said...

Well, thanks to you, I just learned that I don't capitalize the t in t-shirt *rushes to fix manuscript* Thanks! :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I had no idea you were supposed to put spaces in an ellipses! I tend to overuse the em dash. :-)

Shari said...

I though I was good at commas, too. This is more a grammar faux pas--ending sentences with preposition. I do that all the time. Aargh!

Angela Felsted said...

I'm glad you love your MS. I could be wrong about this, but it seems like different editors have diffent takes on commas.

Liza said...

Thanks for telling me about space.space. . . but it looks funny here. Comma's are always a struggle.

Angie said...

Those are some great things to know. I didn't know that about the T-shirt thing. Commas are definitely a mystery. Personally, I can't type didn't right to save my life. (Yes, I made a mistake typing it just now.) Can't wait to read your book! (Well, I already read it. =) But to see the published version!)

Annette Lyon said...

I'm sort of a punctuation nazi, so commas and such rarely trip me up.

My issues are more along the lines of "I don't buy your MC's motivation" and plot holes!`

IanBontems said...

I suffer from comma-itis, too.

Bethany Wiggins said...

LOL, you guys crack me up! There is SO much to know in the world of writing. I've obviously just scratched the surface.

Shari said...

I like your blog and have, therefore, given you The Stylish Blog Award which you can get at sharibird.blogspot.com. (Are my commas in the right place? I'm a little paranoid now.)

Matthew Rush said...

I tend to struggle with semi colons; but, I think I may, you'll see, overuse commas sometimes, as much as I love them.

Cheree said...

oh, the dreaded comma. I definitely get tripped up over them, they are a mystery.

Vanessa Wiggins Porter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jacqueline Howett said...

Knowing this about you lot is very comforting.

Knowing this, about you lot, is very comforting.

Knowing this about you lot, is very comforting.

Know this, about you lot is very comforting.

Knowing this about you lot is very comforting, now I don't feel so bad.

So which one would you choose?

So, which one would you choose?

When in doubt leave it out.
When in doubt,leave it out.

Jemi Fraser said...

I did NOT know the . . . thing! Very cool!

Stephanie said...

Amazing how house styles vary. At Lyrical Press, we always spell out teeshirt. And I've never been scolded for no spaces between... LOL! But the comma thing, I either put them where they shouldn't be, or skip them when I shouldn't! Maybe someday I'll learn!

Stephanie said...

Oh, my faux pas....exclamation points! I have stopped using multiples...but I still over use them.

Ps....wanna sign up for my Blogfest?? It should be lots of fun!! http://thewriterscocoon.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-first-ever-blogfest.html

Alleged Author said...

All the things we don't realize we missed until someone points it out!It's great that you have such a wonderful copy editor though.

Dominique said...

According to my beta reader, I sneeze commas everywhere. But, you know what, I like my freakin' commas! And I put them there on purpose!

G said...

Commas, ellipses and dashes are the bane of my writing existence.

I'm getting better at commas, but knowing when to use ellipses and dashes for some of my dialogue usually has me second, third, fourth, fifth, etc., etc., etc.....well, you get the basic idea--maybe?

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've seen t-shirt done both ways, with the T being either lower or upper case. I switched mine all from T to t when I decided there was no standard way.

DL Hammons said...

My punctuation SUX! I think the only one I get right, is the period. :)

Bethany Wiggins said...

LOL, DL. I thought I knew the period, too. Until it was replaced in places with the em-dash.

I guess punctuation is sort of subject to the rules the editor learned. And I have to say THANK YOU to the person who edited my MS.

Myrna Foster said...

You might try reading "The Elements of Style," by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. It's the best book I've read on using commas.

Mary Lindsey said...

Commas, yes. The rules changed recently on commas in a series. My CE changed a bunch of my commas and then another changed a few of those. So glad it is going well for you.

Elana Johnson said...

I so think everyone needs a million blog posts on what they learned from their copyeditor. I remember learning a lot too.

So glad you love your MS!

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

my punctuation faux pas are colon and semi colon.... hate to use either, sometimes forced to choose one, but which one?

D :)