a very brief semi-rant about punctuation
As writers, I think it’s our duty to lead by example as much as possible. Even if you’re not serious about ever being published and just blog for fun, consider that every time you make a common error, the chances of someone reading your error and subconsciously registering that that’s the way to do it increase, and you’ve helped the error to spread. If you write, consider yourself one of the guardians of good language. Thomas’ succinct post hits the head on the nail.
It’s not that difficult a concept: If you have a sentence that could be divided into two sentences by removing a conjunction (a compound sentence), there must be a comma before that conjunction. This isn’t optional. This isn’t a matter of personal taste.
It is also a good idea not to use a comma after a conjunction-type word at the beginning of a sentence. If you’re going to start a sentence with but (usually fine in informal writing, which is what fiction is), don’t use a comma after it. The same thing goes for and. After all, if you use but or and in the middle of the sentence, the comma goes before it.
Inept punctuation in a novel makes the author look bad; inept punctuation in an indie-published novel makes every other indie author look bad, too, because a lot of readers still think indie equals unprofessional. Perpetuating this misconception is
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