Disclaimer: This is a recurring and random series of posts. I'm currently enrolled in a basic writing/editing class and felt that my notes might be helpful to others. Please note, I am not an editor. I'm just an author trying to learn more about the craft to improve my own work, and sharing the things I learn along the way. Enjoy.
What the heck is a comma splice?
I hate to admit my own ignorance but I’ve had critiquing partners yell at me for this and I honestly didn’t know why. I know, bad Katie. I should have known better. Comma splices are a simple thing.
Comma splices are two complete sentences that you join together with a comma, instead of separating with a period or other punctuation, or joining them with a conjunction (and, but, or…).
While technically incorrect (Editors will have their red pens at the ready), stylistically, they are okay. But as with all things there is a caveat. Use sparingly and only when working to show the characters voice.
I wobbled getting up, my head buzzed like the high from a drug.
To be perfectly correct, a period should go where the comma is.
I wobbled as I rose to my feet. My head buzzed like the high from a drug.
You could also say...
I wobbled as I rose to my feet, and my head buzzed like the high from a drug.
See how easy that was? So remember, to avoid the comma splice, use a period or a coordinating conjunction.
Reminds me of that old GI Joe ending... "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."