That tricky little thing called a semicolon…

My bags are packed.  Boarding passes printed.  Schedule for Andrew detailing kindergarten and preschool drop-off and pick-up times completed.  And now, as the hours tick by and my flight down to Arizona nears for the  Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writer’s Conference, I have one major task at hand: to finish the final edits on my new book.

I enlisted the help of one of Andrew’s colleagues a couple weeks ago.  She does the copy editing for the marketing department in which Andrew works.  Man, is she good at what she does.  And boy, was she kind with her comments.

“You really like semicolons, don’t you?”  she asked we as we met over coffee to discuss the highlights of her editing work.

“Yes,” I sheepishly admitted.  “I really do.”

Come to find out, I was using them all wrong.  I was employing the half-comma, half-period in a completely old fashioned way.

“At least,” she pointed out, “you were consistent with how you used them.  You were consistent with how you broke the rule.”

(That, of course, is a rule in and of itself:  if you’re going to break a rule, break it with intention and consistency.)

However, after reading through her editorial suggestions, I am determined to right my wrongs and un-do my wayward semicolon use.  I am beginning to hate the little buggers.

So now, with less than twenty-four hours before I hop on a plane, on my way to my first-ever writer’s conference, I am deleting and replacing semicolons like crazy; I am deleting those little bastards with zeal and haste.

Does anyone know a quick and easy way to remove a hole slew of punctuation symbols from a 317 page manuscript?  If so, give me a shout!

Stay tuned… I’ll keep you posted on how the manuscript (and the conference) turns out!

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