I am looking at The Power of Punctuation, and in doing so I have studied The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, as well as Roy Peter Clark’s book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, and I have found many things to dwell upon here, being this.
My writing has always had issues with punctuation, where do I put that irritating comma anyway? Sometimes I wish we didn’t need one, however in the sentence “A woman without her man is nothing.” punctuation says it all, so in this sentence myself as a man would naturally think that there is nothing really wrong with the sentence, however several women would probably change it to “A woman: without her, man is nothing.” because the use of the comma and punctuation now dignifies the sentence, and makes it richer, more powerful, and more believable.
In Roy Peter Clark’s book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, he makes this a clearer picture by referring to a road. First punctuation comes from the Latin word Punctus meaning pointer. All of the points, dots, lines, and squiggles help writers to point the way for their readers. We punctuate for two reasons, one reason is to point the way, and set the pace for the reader. The second reason is to divide words, phrases, and ideas into convenient groupings.
when considering punctuation, you will surely realize the power, and purpose of pace and space. A sentence with no punctuation is like a straight road, with only one stop sign, no room for breath or space to soak in what the reader has just read. However, a windy road with lots of stop signs is another analogy that describes a paragraph with lots of punctuation, which is an effect that will slow the pace of the story, the writer sets the pace for strategic reasons to convey emotion, achieve clarity, and to create suspense.
If the stop sign is a period then what are the other symbols of punctuation. A comma is a speed bump, a semi-colon is a rolling stop, a parenthetical expression is a detour, a colon is a flashing yellow light that announces something important up ahead, and the dash is a tree branch in the middle of the road.
So you see with punctuation you begin a flow, like driving down a long windy road, slowing for speed bumps, taking pauses, making detours, adding a blinking light, and throwing in a tree branch every now in then creates a pace for your reader to relate to, and to settle into the story.
Use this rule, but also realize you have more options than you think, and enjoy as you set the pace for your readers, I know I sure will.