Vlog: The Comma

Commas Lessons

By Janice Seagraves



Commas can be a bit tricky, especially for the novice writer. I’ve noticed some extra commas or none at all in some of the work I critique, so I thought this would be a good lesson.


Mary did the dishes and dumped the garbage.

Mary did both things, so there is no need of a comma here.


But if you have two people doing different things in the same sentence, you will need a comma.

Not correct: Billy did the dishes and Mary dumped the garbage.

Correct: Billy did the dishes, and Mary dumped the garbage.


When you use dialogue and address someone you’ll need a comma right before or right after the names.

Example: Mary, can you dump the garbage?

Or Isn’t it your turn to dump the garbage, Mary?

And if you insert the name in the middle of the sentence like: Isn’t your turn, Mary, to dump the garbage?


Be careful where you put that comma. It can change the meaning of what you’re trying to say.

You might remember this meme:

Let’s eat grandma.

Let’s eat, grandma.

The comma causes a slight hesitation and can change the meaning of the sentence.

So, use the comma, and not eat grandma.

Vlog: The Black Moment

The Black Moment

by Janice Seagraves


The black moment is near the end of your story, right before the climax. It can also be the moment you’ve been foreshadowing during the entire story.


It’s the darkest part of your story, where everything looks the worst so you reader will keep turning pages just to find out if . . . your couple will get back together. The hero or heroine will survive the encounter with the bad guy.  Or in the Movies: is Luke’s Father going back to the evil Empire’s side. The Mercenaries are going to kill Tree of Souls, and neither Jake nor the Na’vi can stop them.


Where it looks like all is lost.


So why do we write the black moments?


Because it make for a more compelling read and it makes the climax even more interesting, because that’s when you hero or heroine saves the day.

In my book Windswept Shores, my black moment involves pirates. Not the sexy pirates of the Caribbean, but modern day, nasty, thieving pirates of the Bahamas.


Excerpt, Windswept Shores:

Closer to camp, she heard voices. Oh, the self-styled-natives must be visiting again. Megan looked forward to their infrequent visits, and her Spanish was improving with use. They had also taken a second letter to her sons, if it ever made its way to the states, anyway. Maybe I can talk them into selling me some fuel?

With a lighter heart, she walked out of the bush, only to see suitcases and clothes flying out of her tent. Her wicker door had been cut off and tossed to the side. The deflated raft lay near it.

“Hey, what are you doing? Stop that.”

A dark head popped out of her tent. “Bueno dias, senorita,” he said with a gap-toothed leer, making Megan self-conscious in the bikini and sarong she wore.

A thump from the boat made her glance from the ugly man to the Dinki-Di. Someone was digging through the built-in tool box and setting things to the side. “Get out of the boat. It doesn’t belong to you.”

“Who might you be, little lady?” asked a man with dirty blond hair and a slight southern accent. He seemed to be supervising the men. He sucked on a cigar, blowing out a cloud of vile-smelling smoke.

“None of your business, that’s who. Tell your men to get out of my stuff,” she snapped. “You’re trespassing.”

“Trespassing is a matter of opinion, especially since your boat’s a derelict. We claim salvage rights.”

“The Dinki-Di is my home. It’s not a derelict.”

The man from the tent snatched her basket and stepped over to the blond man, stuffing fruit into his mouth. Juice dripped down his chin.

Startled by his hyena laugh, she took a step back. “Jerk. You guys are no better than thieves, you’re pirates.”

The blond tossed his cigar, took out a fruit, and shined it on his shirt before he bit into it. “Pirate is such an out of date word. I prefer the term entrepreneur, and these men are my employees.” He frowned at the plundered plum. “Ugh, it’s overripe.”

Madre de Dios,” exclaimed the one in the boat, standing up as he dropped one of Seth’s huge sandals.

“Who else is here with you?” demanded the blond man, pitching his fruit to the side and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Megan glanced around at the strangers’ hard expressions. All at once, she realized what they saw; a short, unarmed, scantily clad female all alone on a deserted island. They even took my basket away. I could have thrown my produce at them and ran. God, there are no police! No people. Just us. They can do whatever they want, and who would stop them? Feeling like she had just swallowed a lump of ice, Megan took a deep breath and yelled, “Seth, help. I need you.”

That’s all I have for now. Before I go can you please like and subscribe. Thank you for watching.

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Janice Seagraves’s website: http://janiceseagraves.org/