Fiction Editor Beth Hill articulates a conversation with a fellow writer about punctuation’s place in fiction writing. She expresses her view on the use of the semicolon versus replacing it with a comma, a period or a colon. While many writers and editors do not think that this punctuation mark is necessary in this type of writing, Hill offers perspective.
She recognizes that while commas and periods and colons can sometimes accomplish what a semicolon is meant to, this is not always the case in every piece, or even sentence, of writing. Hill explains that a writer’s style is exactly that, their own personal style. It is not something that is finite or something that follows strict boundaries when it comes to things like punctuation. However, she does ask us to just consider the necessity and make sure that when we do choose to use certain punctuation, like the semicolon, we are using it with the right purpose.
“Punctuation is used for clarity, for emphasis, for rhythm. To deny yourself the use of any punctuation mark is to cut yourself off from an option that might serve your sentence, your scene, or your story.” – Beth Hill