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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > On writing

On writing

Tony Rossiter explores great words from great writers

Whereas the comma tells the reader to take a short pause, the semicolon indicates a slightly longer pause. It is possible to write perfectly good prose without using semicolons at all, and with the decline of over-punctuation, they are seen much less than they once were. Used correctly and sparingly, however, they can be a highly effective writing tool. The semicolon’s main uses are as follows:

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Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017