Thoughts on Writing, Particularly Punctuation.

I’ve re-read some of the standard texts on writing studying punctuation and how to write. Especially editing. The advise always seems to come down to “less is more”. Remove unnecessary words. Remove unnecessary punctuation. Write for clarity and ease of reading. Re-write sentences to minimize “Oxford commas”. My issue is that most books on writing in the technical sense are focused on non-fiction authors.

I am writing fiction…. Or at least I’m trying….

My issue… is that I am trying to differentiate my characters… and even my authors….

I tend to write in First Person and in Stream of Consciousness style. So, unless I want each story to seem like it’s for and about the same person, I need to create a mechanism for differentiating different characters and different authors. All of us have favorite words and favorite phrases that tend to be something like a signature. Like Sir Elton John and his Sunglasses. Different characters need to speak with unique words and phrases that set them apart and help the reader interact to create not only a sharper mental image, but also a profound connection with the character to aid suspension of disbelief and draw the reader into the story. Help make the character REAL!

I have been thinking about ways other than just unique words and phrases. Unique ways of speaking. And ways to express each person’s uniqueness using punctuation and other mechanisms to change emphasis and diction. Not only when the person is speaking… but also when they are thinking…. Using punctuation and italics and CAPITALS to change the prosody (who words are pronounced) and rhythm, to make some phrases more like hip hop and others more intimidating, or just more realistic. The tools for a writer to do such things are limited. Especially in terms of doing avant garde poetry. So… I’m trying to develop my writing skills… in order to develop a more dynamic style…. If that makes any sense.



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