Too Many Commas by Amanda J. McGee – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda J. McGee will be awarding a copy of both published volumes of The Creation Saga: MOTHER OF CREATION and DAUGHTER OF MADNESS, (after the June 2, 2018 publishing date, US participants only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Note: Daughter of Madness is currently $0.99 at Amazon.

There are far too many commas here

At a bar with a friend recently, we discussed our grammatical foibles. Hers was overuse of semicolons. Apparently in law school she once sat through an entire group project session listening to a peer make snide comments about semicolon usage. She got the highest grade. We both agree that semicolons are excellent. No doubt we are in the minority.

I have a slightly more common issue. I have never been able to master the use of the comma.

Consider me, in eighth grade grammar class, failing miserably to see the extraneous commas. I never got them all. Other forms of punctuation come to me intuitively, the aforementioned semicolon included. But the comma, that remains confusing. I blame my same eighth grade English teacher, who would exasperatedly repeat, “Just listen for the pauses!” My apologies, but I cannot hear them.

That is not to say that I don’t hear the rhythm of a sentence, of course. I do. It’s just that where the rhythm breaks for me is sometimes not where the rhythm breaks according to the grammatical preferences of English. This is especially difficult in editing, when I find myself reading through a sentence multiple times asking myself if I really do need that comma. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading manuscripts backwards during proofing in part for this very reason. It breaks the word flow up enough that I can forget the natural pauses I would take in the sentence and instead focus on what I hope the grammatically correct punctuation should be. Hope, because commas remain slippery beasts. I’m never quite sure.

Luckily, writers get to take advantage of the artistic nature of our work to slide past some of these technicalities in the pursuit of art. Not that art should be an excuse for ineptitude. In any case, there are always editors and copyeditors to smeer your page in red ink. Heavens knows what we’d do without them. If you see an errant comma in my work, however, please be kind. No doubt it’s one of ten that were ruthlessly cut down in the name of a clean manuscript.

Liana has lost much to Herka’s manipulations, though nothing so precious as her sanity. Emerging from her madness, she finds the world changed – her body wasted, her son gone, and her kingdom still beyond her reach. Only the fires of vengeance remain, and she will build the flames high.

DAUGHTER OF MADNESS tells the story of a princess and her twin, a soldier and his king, and an oracle who is more than she seems.

Enjoy an Excerpt

They came to the edge of the village. The houses hung in the darkness, smoke from cooking fires painted the air. There was no returning. The priest of the Quet’le-Ma appeared beside her, androgynous face unreadable in the shadows. The contraption of flame was pressed into her palm, and something else. A clay pot, its top filled with fine rushes, not the slower burning woven wick. Liana stared at it for a moment, feeling the fire closer than it had been since she had put the pieces of herself back together.

“Liana,” her brother said, “we don’t have to do this.” She started, looked back at him. It surprised her to see the look of anguish on his face. Her own lips were twisted up at the ends, smiling with sudden euphoria. This, at least, the song of the fire, this she could have back if only the children of Herka would die.

She turned, and lit the little clay pot. It flared in her palm. Her arm pulled back, and she threw.

About the AuthorAmanda J. McGee is fantasy author living in Southwest Virginia with the love of her life and two cats. She likes baking, gardening, and flights of fancy.

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Buy Mother of Creation and Daughter of Madness at Amazon.

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