Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Comma Cop

Today I'm slaying commas. That tiny little squiggle is making my shoulders ache.

Once upon a time I was quite judicious about my commas. I would argue with anyone about natural cadence and pacing. Commas were often either irrelevant or downright detrimental.

And then I began to learn Comma Rules. About how a comma is needed to separate thought, to separate action, to separate subjects, to connect a sentence, to look good on the line. Forget the pattern that flows naturally with the words. Forget pacing. Commas are Necessary to Make Readers Read Each Word.

I learned the rules.

And I caved to them.

So today I fight back. I'll reclaim the pace a good crime fiction story should have.

Historically, authors have almost come to blows with editors who tried to enforce the Comma Rules. I've determined that this is one more Really Good Reason for going indie.

How about you? Do you love commas or avoid them whenever possible?

CR: Darkness on The Edge of Town by J. Carson Black.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I'm sure I don't follow the "rules" but I try not to use too many. Probably something I should investigate more. Thanks for the reminder Peg!

  2. I know the rules and break them when the story demands it.

  3. I use commas when the sentence needs them, particularly for clarity, but sometimes for pacing as well.

    My editor grumps at me occasionally, but we usually work it out.

  4. With respect to the rules, I learned early on in my writing education that before you break them, you need to know them. That's your only hope of defending your position.

  5. I use commas where they're needed--sometimes I'm wrong. ;/

    I have a friend who epubbed and she tells me she gets more complaints about her use of commas.

  6. Jess, not exactly what I wanted to hear.

    Was she edited?

    Over or under usage? Or just in general?