I’m busy with yet another edit of the novel I’m submitting to agents.
I found writing the pitch and synopsis so difficult, such a test of endurance; I was astonished to receive two requests for sample chapters. My letter and synopsis had worked! I couldn’t believe it; I was high as a kite!
But several weeks later, I had been kindly rejected by both.
So I went back to the manuscript. Some agents might not like the style, the voice, or the story. But if they do, it must be as perfect as humanly possible, which meant… I needed to address, what seemed to me, a sometimes-funky use of the comma.
The comma is the punctuation mark with which I struggle. Whenever I’m unsure about whether or not a comma is necessary, I remember an episode from childhood. I panic, becoming incapable of making a confident decision, because I have post-traumatic comma disorder (PTCD).
For a whole terrifying year, a very stern and scary teacher shrieked at me because of my use of the comma: “NEVER, EVER! USE A COMMA BEFORE THE WORD, AND.”
(I sneaked one into that quote as an act of defiance.)
Clearly he was wrong.
But still, I lack confidence in using the comma.