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Writing and Publishing

Do. Not. Do. This.

I first saw this technique on a blog: Putting. A. Period. After. Every. Word.

It was endearing—sort of. But when I saw it a second time, it annoyed me. Now I’m seeing it too often, even in published books. I suppose if you want to communicate attitude for a thirteen-year-old, angst-filled girl who is wrtting in her diary, it may be okay—or not.

I place this trend in the same category as using UPPER CASE, bold, underline, or italic to embellish text. It is amateurish. Never use creative formatting to cover a lack of creative writing.

The only acceptable method to place emphasis on text is italics. But even then, use it sparingly. Whenever, I have an urge to italicize something, I ask myself, “Why?” Is the sentence so weak it requires an italicized word to effectively communicate? If so, the passage may need work.

(Having said that, in blogging, we need to make our posts scannable for people who won’t read every word. One way to do that is with bold text. But save this technique for blogging; never, ever do it in a book, article, or short story.)

I want my words to speak for themselves and not rely on creative formatting to communicate.

When you write, avoid UPPER CASE, bold, underline, or italic, and Do. Not. Do. This.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

4 replies on “Do. Not. Do. This.”

Peter.That. Has. Annoyed. Me. Many. Times. In books lately. I thought it was cute the first time too. But seeing it ten times in a page, throws me off.

No capitals, bold, or underlined either. I use italic words sometimes to stress a different meaning. Is it wrong?

What do you think? Please leave a comment!