I have a question for your blog. If this has been answered before, then just ignore it. If not:
How do you feel about the use of semi-colons in fiction, and how and when do you think they should be used?
Personally, I love semi-colons. They are so cute! (I could have sworn I’d talked about them before but couldn’t find it using the Search feature…)
I hate reading about semi-colons (and other grammatical stuff) because it’s so darn boring! And confusing. (Unless you’re a word nerd.) So I’ll try to make this easy.
The second rule for semi-colons is: Don’t use so many that they distract the reader with their cuteness.
There are a few other rules, too. Use a semi-colon when:
- Connecting two independent clauses (phrases that could be stand alone sentences) into one long sentence, without using a conjunction. (This is the most common usage, and IMHO, the only way it should be used in fiction.)
Example: I looked into the vampire’s cold, black eyes; I was doomed.
- Connecting two independent clauses into one long sentence, while using a conjunction. This is only done when one or both of the independent clauses is really long or uses a lot of commas. (Most of the time, IMHO, it’s better to go ahead and make it two sentences.)
Example: The vampire loved the flavor of types A-positive, B-positive, and O-positive blood; but AB-negative always gave him a stomach ache.
- When a sentence contains a long and wordy list. (Use this only in non-fiction, scholarly works. It’s just too cumbersome in fiction.) (It’s also telling, not showing.)
Example: The vampire had lived under many identities during his six hundred plus years—a farmer in the 1600s, a lesser prince in the 1700s, a ship’s captain in the 1800s, a merchant marine in the early 1900s; most recently, he was posing as a dot com millionaire and that suited him just fine.
There are a few other times when using a semi-colon is acceptable, but they’re awkward and I don’t recommend using them that way in fiction. If you really want to know ALL the details of the semi-colon, do some research; look it up on Google.