However, a semicolon…

Writing in run on sentences has been a regular failing of mine.  It help that up until recently I never really bothered to understand what they were.

After a brief visit to the grammar books that are sat on my shelf looking pretty it turns out that a run on sentence is not just one sentence that keeps going but two separate sentences that are joined together without appropriate punctuation.  However, the biggest pitfall I have with run on sentences is when using ‘however.’

Jane returned home to ger her bag, however, her mother didn’t know where it was.

Two rather clumsy sentences rather clumsily joined.  It should be,

Jane returned home to get her bag. However, her mother didn’t know where it was.

Alternatively, if you like semicolons I think you could go for,

Jane returned home to get her bag; however her mother didn’t know where it was.

Now depending on which books you read ‘however’ can either be a false joiner or just a connecting word that can require a proceeding semicolon.

Other offenders include ‘therefore’, ‘along with’, ‘thus’, ‘consequently’, ‘moreover’, ‘nevertheless’.

Apologies if you know this already, but I’ve been battling with it for a few days and can’t think of anything else. Please tell me if I’ve got it wrong.

 

A BID to placate my inner editor

I used to be really good at bashing out first drafts.  Back in the day when I was afflicted with delusions regarding my own talent, or lack of it, I could sit down quite happily and write a novel without thinking twice.  My youthful exuberance was unhindered by worries of sentence structure, where to place commas and the elusive perfect word choice.

These days I’m older (much) and wiser (not so much) and write with both my thesaurus and grammar guide by my elbow.  Every misjudged adjective irritates me and I still become perplexed by semi-colons.  My inner editor is constantly frustrated by me. She knows I can do better if I’d only put my mind to it.  She does not appreciate the need to actually get to the end of the first draft before it’s necessary to go back and make it pretty.

Here’s how I placate her –

 Bribery – I have a daily word count and I meet it before I allow my inner editor to go back over what’s been written;

Ignorance – I try to never, ever start a writing session by re-reading what I finished the day before. Not until the first draft is done anyway;

Distraction – I mull over a scene before I sit down. I like finding the conflict in it or the aspect that gets me really excited. That way by the time my lap top has fired up I can’t wait to get going and find out what my characters want to do. Consequently my inner editor doesn’t notice if the sentences ramble slightly.

If all that fails then I make a cup of tea. Removing the inner editor from the source of her annoyance allows me to get some perspective and muster the strength to carry on.

Does anybody else have any tips? They’d be appreciated.