Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Grammar Guide
When Punctuation Doesn't Matter

Proper punctuation matters almost all the time. (This article will use serial commas.)

Here are the two times when my head doesn't spin over improper punctuation use: poetry and informal e-mail messages. Poets can get away with murder. Friends can send bizarre crap in e-mails. All is well with the world.

When you're preparing a business letter, manuscript, term paper, or magazine submission, Ladies and Gentlemen, take the time to look up the correct use of colons and commas. They make a difference in the way your work is judged. Trust me on this. At my current job, I receive messages from people who wish to submit articles to the magazine. These people find the magazine through the World Wide Web, click on the "submit information" or "send a request" button/link, and start typing their messages. That's great. But if you could see the insane typos, grammatical mistakes, and punctuation errors that end up in my inbox, you'd think these people were raised by ferrets. Come on. If you're going to ask an editor of a magazine to consider your 1,500-word article for publication, make sure your request to send the article is coherent and punctuated correctly.

If you can't get the introduction letter right, what's left to convince me that your article is going to be fit to publish? Should I assume you bothered to research the information in the article if you didn't bother to look up how to show possession for the name of the magazine you're sending the article to?

This is the same concept behind query letters that go to literary agents. (By the way, I don't recommend sending query letters to literary agents. This merely kills innocent trees.)

So take the time to look up rules of punctuation. There are several already listed (with fabuloso examples) in the Grammar Guides on this site. Search the archives for punctuation. And I'll see if I can't get a few new ones posted for you over the next few weeks.

(Fantasy Author Sandy Lender has been an editor in the magazine publishing industry for more than 15 years, and is the author of the high fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, available now from

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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