Friday, January 21, 2005


...I just don't think the colon/semicolon thing is going to work out, after all.

I just...I really miss my em-dash. I can't move forward, until I get some closure, there.

Oh, I know what you'll tell me. It's irresponsible and improper. I know. Trust me I know. You'll probably mention that nothing so flighty as an em-dash is going to make me happy in the long run, especially considering how badly I abuse it.

I've had all those same arguments with myself.

*Sigh* Everything has to be so damn difficult.


Ray Wong said...

Trust me, Mac, I love my em-dashes, too. But alas! many editors hate them. I can't understand why.

Anonymous said...

I don't know any editors who hate em-dashes, though of course we disapprove of using too many of them. Some of us even recognize the em-dash followed by other punctuation as legitimate usage.

I don't know where that belief about editors and em-dashes comes from. Possibly it's because some writers have the bad habit of using em-dashes to string together sentence fragments or choppy bits of dialogue. They're likely to be told to "get rid of all those em-dashes," when what the editor means is "stop using em-dashes as an all-purpose conjunction and learn to write proper sentences."

There are other misuses. Another editor once told me about a manuscript he'd gotten from a professional author where every line of dialogue ended in an em-dash. The author had taken a fancy to them, and lost her judgement. He replaced about two-thirds of these em-dashes with other punctuation, and (chicken!) blamed the changes on the copyeditor when the author protested.

He said she'd replied, "I can tell you guys have real problems finding good copyeditors, because the same thing has happened to me at every other house where I've been published."


Mac said...

TNH--Exactly. It's a matter of judgement. And how very nice to see you here.

Ray--I've seen your first drafts. You aren't _that_ bad about it. Except maybe on the occasional bad day.