I’m fond of the dash. I use it frequently. I’m sure too much and inappropriately where a comma might do or a new sentence should start. I use them because I like what I think they allow me to do: put footnotes in my writing. I think they allow me inline asides. I certainly use them like they are a free pass to insert interesting but unnecessary information in the reading.
Weekends are about editing around here. I have the time to edit one single sentence and it will be one I wrote yesterday. One with a dash.
She would eek out one ounce of politeness from this boy before she let him tell her to do anything—even something she desperately wanted to do.
I’m pretty sure the bit after the dash is a sentence fragment which I believe is the allowing characteristic that lets me use the dash. I believe the information is paramount to the plot I’ve established. The reader must know that Clara wants to leave with Billy. I want to deliver that information in the least likely spot so that it’s something of a surprise.
Let’s see what my one grammar book has to say about the dash and its use…
Appears I’m not in the right ballpark. Though I do now know when to use it. I may even remember. It comes up where you’d alternately use a colon. When you’re presenting things. At least that’s how I’ll remember it. Almost like a punctuational i.e..
Unfortunately this only gets me halfway. I haven’t fixed the sentence only confirmed I’ve not used the dash properly. So lets get that bitch out of there. I think we’re in comma territory here. My track record for that means that we’re more likely in new sentence territory.
This proves tougher than I have time for this evening. It nicely leaves me something to work on tomorrow.