"Use semicolons sparingly, and never in fiction." (The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction, Richard D. Bank)
Do you ever read a writing rule that makes you wish there was someone there to pout at? Or possibly toss their own reference book at them?
I love my semicolons. I already had a writing rule I thought was breaking, sometimes cleverly and sometimes recklessly, by using parentheses in my fiction writing. For instance, this section of Shards of Glass:
April was the kind of teenager who makes adults wish they could go back and try high school over again. She was (in order of ascending importance) intelligent, funny, athletic, beautiful and popular.
I've debated writing that last sentence differently a million times, and decided to let it stand as part of my voice until told otherwise (I'd love to hear your opinions on my parantheses abuses).
But this business of semicolons being a dealbreaker in fiction has never crossed my mind before. So apparently now I'm breaking rules without even knowing they exist, which is not nearly as rebellious and fun as breaking them knowledgably.
Examples of semicolon use, from my current WIP:
Her vision had narrowed suddenly, a soft hum rising in her ears that blocked all other sounds; she felt muffled, as if her eardrums had suddenly closed, and she put her hands up to her ears.
Well, that whole paragraph could probably stand some reconsideration. Or:
She was in the midst of dumping out coffee grounds when a flash of red coat caught her eye; she looked up, saw Willow hesitate in the doorway and then duck back out.
Sigh. Maybe I could stand to obliterate all my semicolons, after all. I think I'll try re-writing those sentences and see how they sound best. If that's what flows, I'm going all James Dean on those parentheses and semicolons, but I'll let them go if I must. Post to come on my determination. Poop.
Any writing rules that make you feel a bit fussy? Or that you prefer to ignore entirely?
1 hour ago