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Correct punctuation? Are you serious?!

Correct punctuation gives you a head start!

Sorry guys -- we're deadly serious here. If there's one thing that will jump out of your manuscript in the five seconds after an editor first looks at it, that thing is bad punctuation. Three errors on page one, and page two won't even be glanced at.

Correct punctuation has not always been a tool writers had at their fingertips. For the first several thousand years after writing was invented, nobody bothered to even separate words with spaces! If you've seen an example of ancient Greek, you might wonder how anybody ever read it:

LEFT: a page from a Bible dating from around Year Zero. They were written in ancient Greek in those days; the original Hebrew texts are much older ... and you don't want to know how hard it is to read those! RIGHT: the Ancient Greek language, like any written language, gets even 'worse' when it's scrawled by hand! You would wonder how anyone made sense of this.

As you can see at a glance, correct punctuation starts with ... nothing. An empty space. Specifically, the spaces we insert between words. If not for a pinch of punctuation (that is, if we were still writing like the Ancient Greek scholars) this paragraph would look like this:

There's a reason people invented punctuation. There's a reason we still use it! And good writers accept the challenge of learning correct punctuation, for extremely sound reasons.

You want people to understand your writing. You don't want to be misread, misquoted ... or not read at all, because some people don't understand a word you're saying and others take one look at your work, see the absence of correct punctuation (put another way: too much wrong punctuation, or none at all!) and don't buy your book.

And if your ambition is to not only get paid to write but to actually write for a living, it's all about selling your work. You can always park your stories in website archives, invite people to come in and read, and bask in the knowledge that you're being read, and some people send nice emails. It's true, many writers never go any further than this; they have no professional aspirations. But if you want to write professionally ... give up the day job and earn a living by writing, you must write well. Sorry: there's no other way but to learn.

Fortunately, correct punctuation is easy to learn. Once you know the rules of punctuation, and the rules of grammar, you'll have such a head start over 90% of your competitors, you're already halfway through the literary agency's door.

So let's look at the rules of good ... correct! ... punctuation. Let's get some simple ground rules down. Once you have this foundation installed, you can build the mansion on top.

Turn page to Punctuation made simple!

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