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A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of…
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A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation

by Noah Lukeman

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This book is for creative writers. This means writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, and screenplays,including anyone seeking to write well, for business, school or any other endeavor. This book offers punctuation as artistic expression. As a means of impacting the content in a most profound way. Punctuation can influence the reading experience, to craft a finer work. This book will teach you to become sensitive, enabling you to be a better writer. It is not about making you a better grammarian. This book teaches how punctuation reveals the writer, and ways to tap in to alter intention of a scene, and much more. Strengths in writing can be spotted by the method of punctuation. This book would be a wealth of wisdom to any library. I own a copy of this inspiring book. ( )
  JanettLeeWawrzyniak | Feb 9, 2013 |
This book is unique. A book about punctuation, but it doesn't deal with grammar; this isn't a book about rules, but about creative choices, about how the use of commas, periods and semi-colon builds a narrative, how to use colons, dashes, parenthesis and quotation marks with flair, and why you should use punctuation such the question mark and the exclamation point with caution--a book for the fiction writer, not a grammarian. It even treats such subjects as the paragraph and section break in creative writing.

Just before this, I read and reviewed another book on fiction writing. In that other book, a lot of things eroded its credibility: jarring political bias, shameless self-promotion, frequent mistakes. But most of all, it just wasn't all that well-written. In looking to a book to improve writing, you're looking for someone who can speak with authority. In fiction writing it helps if they're either a successful well-known writer or if they're a gatekeeper. Lukeman, a top literary agent, qualifies. But more than that, the authority flows from his style and organization. The blurbs for once are true: Lukeman wrote a book about punctuation that's a page-turner, one written with "wit and insight."

I certainly learned a lot. I'm far too fond of the dash--I know it. But part of that might have been not so much that I used the dash too much, but that I didn't appreciate its close cousins the parenthesis and the colon and how they work differently. Lukeman gives frequent literary examples, for instance how Hemingway used the period differently than Faulkner, how Poe and Melville used the semi-colon, James Joyce the colon, E.M. Forster the dash. Each chapter deals with a punctuation mark or closely related marks, with their use, underuse, overuse, context, what your usage reveals about you and ends with exercises that help bring the lessons home and should be very useful in revision. A short, lucid book, and an essential tool in a fiction writer's kit. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Sep 12, 2012 |
I'm a language geek, so reading a book about punctuation is actually a fun thing for me. This book was aimed more at writers. Instead of hard and fast rules, it explored what punctuation use says about a writer, how it affects the reading, etc. Quick and interesting. ( )
  melopher | Jun 1, 2010 |
Takes Strunk & White to the next level. This book attempts to describe the effect on punctuation on writing style and the reading experience. Well written.
  dschwabe | Jan 14, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393329801, Paperback)

"Takes the straitjacket off punctuation....Lukeman's wit and insight make this an instant classic."—M. J. Rose

The first practical and accessible guide to the art of punctuation for creative writers. Punctuation reveals the writer: haphazard commas, for example, reveal haphazard thinking; clear, lucid breaks reveal clear, lucid thinking. Punctuation can be used to teach the writer how to think and how to write. This short, practical book shows authors the benefits that can be reaped from mastering punctuation: the art of style, sentence length, meaning, and economy of words. There are full-length chapters devoted to the period, the comma, the semicolon, the colon, quotation marks, the dash and parentheses, the paragraph and section break, and a cumulative chapter on integrating them all into "The Symphony of Punctuation." Filled with exercises and examples from literary masters (Why did Poe and Melville rely on the semicolon? Why did Hemingway embrace the period?), A Dash of Style is interactive, highly engaging, and a necessity for creative writers as well as for anyone looking to make punctuation their friend instead of their mysterious foe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Punctuation reveals the writer: haphazard commas, for example, reveal haphazard thinking; clear, lucid breaks reveal clear, lucid thinking. Punctuation can be used to teach the writer how to think and how to write. This short, practical book shows authors the benefits that can be reaped from mastering punctuation: the art of style, sentence length, meaning, and economy of words. There are full-length chapters devoted to the period, the comma, the semicolon, the colon, quotation marks, the dash and parentheses, the paragraph and section break, and a cumulative chapter on integrating them all into "The Symphony of Punctuation." Filled with exercises and examples from literary masters (Why did Poe and Melville rely on the semicolon? Why did Hemingway embrace the period?), A Dash of Style is interactive, highly engaging, and a necessity for creative writers as well as for anyone looking to make punctuation their friend instead of their mysterious foe."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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