Rules and breaking them
A grammar and punctuation maven, I am not. I want to be, though. The more I read and the more I write, the more I appreciate those writers who not only dazzle with storyline and character, but who also construct sentences with careful thought. It isn’t that these writers always follow the rules, but when they break them, it’s with style. So, I’m happily embarking on the never-ending journey of learning the rules . . . and how to break them. What the rules are is up for debate. Reasonable people can disagree (cue: Oxford comma). I think it’s a writer’s obligation to make an effort to know both the rules and the debates about them. I may never have the depth of knowledge that, say, my editor or agent has, but I’m going to at least try. The Elements of Style is always a good place to start. I have the 2005 edition Maira Kalmon illustrated. It makes me smile every time I open it. Lynne Truss’ Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Kingsley Amis’ The King’s English and Stephen King’s On Writing are some of my favorite reads when I want to give in to my inner writer geek. I’m also a fan of some of the on-line grammar gurus. Grammar Girl, Grammarly, and Oxford Dictionaries are just the thing when I’m in the middle of something and need quick guidance. There is, of course, the risk of falling down the rabbit hole because of the temptation to just keep reading until I get to a debate on the Oxford comma or using prepositions at the end of sentence. That’s my signal that it’s time to get back to my writing. I’m always on the look out for something I haven’t seen, so please share your favorite standbys for all things grammar and punctuation.