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A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation Paperback – April 17, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0393329803 ISBN-10: 0393329801 Edition: 1st

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A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation + The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life + The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393329801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393329803
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Pithy, elegant.” (Paul Cody, Ithaca College)

“Flawless.” (John Smolens, Northern Michigan MFA)

“A page turner.” (Brian Ascalon Roley, Miami University)

“A master class.” (John Burt, Brandeis University)

About the Author

Noah Lukeman is the author of several bestselling books on the craft of writing, among them A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation. Noah lives in New York City, where he runs a literary agency.

More About the Author

Noah Lukeman is author of A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation (WW Norton and Oxford University Press), to be published in April, 2006. He is also author of the bestsellers The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile (Simon & Schuster, 1999), and The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life (St. Martins Press, 2002), a BookSense 76 Selection, a Publishers Weekly Daily pick, and a selection of the Writers Digest Book Club. He has also worked as a collaborator, and is co-author, with Lieutenant General Michael "Rifle" DeLong, USMC, Ret., of Inside CentCom (Regnery, 2004), a Main Selection of the Military Book Club. His Op-Ed pieces (with General DeLong) have been published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has also contributed to Poets & Writers, Writers Digest, The Writer, AWP Chronicle and The Writers Market, and has been anthologized in The Practical Writer (Viking, 2004). Foreign editions of his books have been published in the UK and in Portugese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Indonesian.
Noah Lukeman is President of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd, a New York based literary agency, which he founded in 1996. His clients include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Award, finalists for the National Book Award, Edgar Award, Pacific Rim Prize, multiple New York Times bestsellers, national journalists, major celebrities, and faculty of universities ranging from Harvard to Stanford. He has worked as a Manager in the New York office of Artists Management Group, and has worked for another New York literary agency. Prior to becoming an agent he worked on the editorial side of several major publishers, including William Morrow and Farrar, Straus, Giroux, and as editor of a literary magazine.
He has been a guest speaker on the subjects of writing and publishing at numerous forums, including the Wallace Stegner writing program at Stanford University and the Writers Digest Conference at BookExpo America. He currently teaches a course online at Writers University. He earned his B.A. with High Honors in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University, cum laude.

Customer Reviews

Excellent book for fiction writers.
C. J. Singh
His writing is fluid and easy to read throughout the book and the book's descriptions make understanding the concepts easy.
William Schultz
The right punctuation does give a dash of style to any prose.
British Mystery Buff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Ervin Nieves on June 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've taught literature and writing at Clarke College, The University of Iowa, and Rutgers University since 1993, and have reviewed a plethora of books on punctuation during this time. Mr. Lukeman's A DASH OF STYLE: THE ART AND MASTERY OF PUNCTUATION sets itself apart from every book on punctuation I've ever perused. Every page of Mr. Lukeman's book is filled with key insights on how punctuation can be used to create seminal emotional experiences in the minds and hearts of readers. Through countless examples, Mr. Lukeman teaches aspiring and accomplished writers the higher level uses of punctuation to express the full gamut of lived experiences. I cannot laud A DASH OF STYLE enough. It's strength is the many examples provided by Mr. Lukeman. He is a master teacher of writing, and I recommend all of his books wholeheartedly.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Martin on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading "A Dash of Style - The Art and Mastery of Punctuation" and I have to tell any budding author reading this, it's a great book.

Noah has written this book specifically for fiction writers, because lets face it, we can get away with more shall we say 'creative license' than other forms of writing.

The first part of the book is devoted to the period . / the comma , / and the semicolon ; Noah gives us many great examples on each, showing us what all these punctuation marks can do for pace and maturity in a book. I really enjoyed how he describes looking at your work and having a good think about each mark you place. What is it like without it, what if you add a semicolon, does it build suspense etc etc

In the second part he touches on colons : / dashes - - / parentheses ( ) / quotation marks " " / paragraph breaks and section breaks. This is the only area I was slightly disappointed. The information on dashes and parentheses was really good, but I thought the quotation marks was a little thinner that I would rather. Speech in a book is one of the most visible punctuation areas and I struggle a little with using it effectively. Still, it gave me more knowledge than I had before, and I suspect you could write a whole book on effective use of quotation marks.

The last section includes the question mark ? / exclamation point ! / italics / points of ellipses ... and the hyphen - By this time the book feels like it is in wrap up mode, but there is still a great amount of knowledge imparted with great examples from familiar literature.

At the end of each section Noah includes exercises you can try out with your own work. I have done a couple of them and my writing is definitely better for it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Gina Holmes on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a small, attractive book that you'll be thankful is hardback because you will be referencing it again and again.

With chapter titles like: Comma, or Period, I expected this book to be dreadfully tedious. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Mr. Lukeman has truly lived up to the promise he makes that this style guide is like none other. We are not only taught how to correctly use punctuation, but also how to maximize each mark to our work's fullest stylistic advantage.

I have already high-lighted my copy extensively and will continue to go back to it throughout my writing lifetime.

If you are a creative writer, from poetry to novel writing, this book is something you should have on your permanent reference shelf.

After reading this, I can't wait to get back to my novel and bravely use a colon, parenthesis or the occasional sentence strewn with commas, to make my prose sing. I have a new tool that will help me maximize my skills in a way I couldn't have without this help.

My highest recommendation!
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on November 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Noah Lukeman's latest book about punctuation fills an oft-ignored gap in the creative writing library, covering a part of writing that most people take for granted. After all, punctuation is not writing, right? Actually, it is writing; and Lukeman shows just how important punctuation is for good writing.

He claims that this book, like his previous ones, is written for creative writers, and most of the insights the book contains do help writers of fiction better understand punctuation. However, there is one major drawback: many of the examples he provides of incorrect usage are so exaggeratingly bad that few creative writers would ever have committed them. If he had included more realistic examples, this book would be a lot more useful. Certainly, the examples of _good_ usage are fine, many of them from published works. But the bad examples are worse than bad, something that most writers would never pen.

Nevertheless, the value of this book is quite apparent when you start looking at your own work and realizing that you have far more options than you may have considered. Most writers don't have any inkling of how to use the semi-colon, for example; yet it is one of the most powerful squiggles on the page. As for periods, most authors think they are just for separation--Lukeman shows how creative period usage can change rhythm and tone through varying sentence length. As for the comma, well, that's a tough one for many authors, and it gets good treatment here.

All in all, this is certainly worth the money, but I don't think it will help bad writers write better. It will, however, help anyone who knows how to write add the subtle effects of punctuation to their existing palette of colors.
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