Friday, 22 December 2006

"A Dash of Style" by Noah Lukeman

I've just finished reading "A Dash of Style - The Art and Mastery of Punctuation" and I have to tell any budding author reading this, it's a great book.

Noah has written this book specifically for fiction writers, because lets face it, we can get away with more shall we say 'creative license' than other forms of writing.

The first part of the book is devoted to the period . / the comma , / and the semicolon ; Noah gives us many great examples on each, showing us what all these punctuation marks can do for pace and maturity in a book. I really enjoyed how he describes looking at your work and having a good think about each mark you place. What is it like without it, what if you add a semicolon, does it build suspense etc etc

In the second part he touches on colons : / dashes - - / parentheses ( ) / quotation marks " " / paragraph breaks and section breaks. This is the only area I was slightly disappointed. The information on dashes and parentheses was really good, but I thought the quotation marks was a little thinner that I would rather. Speech in a book is one of the most visible punctuation areas and I struggle a little with using it effectively. Still, it gave me more knowledge than I had before, and I suspect you could write a whole book on effective use of quotation marks.

The last section includes the question mark ? / exclamation point ! / italics / points of ellipses ... and the hyphen - By this time the book feels like it is in wrap up mode, but there is still a great amount of knowledge imparted with great examples from familiar literature.

At the end of each section Noah includes exercises you can try out with your own work. I have done a couple of them and my writing is definitely better for it.

I am VERY glad I bought this book and already it is a reference for my own writing. Noah Lukeman's style is engaging enough that you can read it without putting yourself to sleep. Anyone who is writing fiction will get great use out of "A Dash of Style - The Art and Mastery of Punctuation".

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