What is a semicolon? And how do you as a novelist use it in your writing? In my topic on nuggets of writing advice, Ron Rozelle in his book on Description and Setting explains that while colons can be used in several ways, semicolons have only one function. But, according to Ron, it’s a very important function. They connect two otherwise complete sentences without resorting to conjunctions like ‘and’ or ‘then’, thus letting you avoid two unforgiveable offenses:
- Run ons
- An overabundance of short, choppy sentences that bump along like a rocky road.
Varying the length of your sentences is an effective tool and the best way to create longer, more flowing ones is to use semicolons to tie short sentences together. Watch out for places to do this. But wait ...
Kurt Vonnegut says this:
Do not use semi-colons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.
Who do you believe?
Paula Wynne is the founder of Book Hub. She started Book Hub out of a need to market and promote her own fiction. As well as running Book Hub, Paula is an author with several published books.
Paula's Writers' Resource Series features the following books: Pimp My Fiction: How to Write a Novel with The Ultimate List of Creative Writing Books to Create A Plot & Build Character; A~Z Writers’ Character Quirks: A~ Z of Behaviours, Foibles, Habits, Mannerisms & Quirks for Writers’ to Create Fictional and 101 Writers’ Scene Settings: Unique Location Ideas & Sensory Details for Writers’ to Create Vivid Scene.