Lack of punctuation skills can kill a script dead...

You mentioned in one of your blogs that you go through ‘punctuation phases’ , like Picasso’s blue period.  What the heck does that mean?

It reveals that I have a very hazy relationship to proper punctuation. My favorite editor once suggested that I might have slept through the English lessons on punctuation.  I didn’t, I do remember some of those dangling-participle discussions, but only vaguely.

The nuts and bolts of English grammar remind me a lot of car engine mechanics. I can with some certainty identify the air filter, the carburetor and even the spark plugs. But I would be hard pressed to put them in their proper place if you scattered them across a counter top.  I have that same relationship to most of punctuation. I love exclamation points.  And with every succeeding manuscript I write, I seem to have a new affair with a different piece of punctuation than the last piece of writing I composed. I’ve gone through my ellipses phase…. and the horrifying semi-colon phase; and the above noted exclamation mark phase!!!

What I have learned over time is that all of this stuff is extraneous to what I’m trying to write. I am better served by choosing words carefully to flesh out the emotion of my story and should severely limit my punctuation to commas and periods. Period. All of the other stuff should be used sparingly, like garlic or ginger in a meal. And I am not practiced enough to make most of those choices – but my editor is.  Besides, if I overdo my use of any form of punctuation no one will be able to stomach what I write.

So, if punctuation is not your thing, and it doesn’t have to be to write effectively; make sure you pay someone handsomely to help hide your flaws. 

I hope that helps. And I wish you good luck with your screenplay.