Notes from writing class - Comma Splices

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."



Stephanie Jones said...

This is all really useful. I'm glad you're keeping it short, sweet and to the point. Thanks for sharing ;)

Katie S said...

Glad my notes are helping. It helps me to write them too. Maybe one day this information will sink in. =)

Christine Danek said...

Very useful and to the point. Thanks for sharing.

Katie S said...

Glad to help. Thanks for following Christine.

About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.