This weekend I participated in a critique retreat. Picture a century-old victorian mansion, eight of the brightest and most talented children's writers...and me, coolers full of diet Coke (well, other beverages too, but that was my pick), a table-top of assorted chocolate, nary a kid in sight (mind you, I have 7 at home), and 48 hours focused on the improvement of our manuscripts. In one word—heaven! What an incredible experience. I do believe this was the most productive and insightful writing related event I've been a part of and I highly recommend it.
So that's the good news. The bad—I discovered I'm an em-dashaholic (see, I did it right there)! Truthfully though, I always knew this about my writing—but I can't help myself. The em-dash is so—oh, I don't know—fun, maybe. Seductive—okay, not really. Let's just stick with fun! I LOVE my little horizontal friends. And they're not alone in my secret bag of overused punctuational (is that a word?) vices. Ellipses...parenthesis (don't you just love these little guys) and the dreaded italics. Aaaaaahhhh! Someone—please save me from myself!
Okay, so I'm taking a vow, from this day forward, to restrain myself from over use of my little punctuation friends. I will embrace the comma. The comma is my new friend.
Farewell, em-dash. You're fun, but my overindulgence of you is affecting my literary progress. I'll stop by to visit, but only on occasion when it's appropriate.