The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

this "— Options
Jigneshbharati
Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2020 3:35:54 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2016
Posts: 3,092
Neurons: 16,523
“A short story is a different thing altogether — a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” — Stephen King
How to Write a Short Story
What does this "—" mean? Please explain the use of this in the given context.
thar
Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:33:15 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 21,644
Neurons: 87,554
Pause - and here comes the simile to illustrate what he means.

You have two ideas.
The first is an opinion.
A short story is a different thing altogether (from a full-length novel, I presume)


The second is imagery, a simile to paint an image and make you think about how that feels.
A short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.

So, how do you want to link them?

Not separate sentences - they are too closely connected for that.
You could use a colon but the second part is not an explanation or consequence.
You could use a semicolon but these are not separate ideas. The subject is the same, and the second part is an illustration of what he means by the first part.
You could use a comma but he wants you to pause, take a moment, and then take in the simile. That is not enough separation of two different modes of thinking.
A dash links them but spaces them out. It makes you pause and gives you time to take in the second part separately, but still links them together.


There is no right answer here. You can give justification because that is what he used. But another writer might not like using dashes, and might have used something else.
Jigneshbharati
Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:40:58 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2016
Posts: 3,092
Neurons: 16,523
Thanks
tautophile
Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:46:06 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/14/2018
Posts: 362
Neurons: 8,471
The "—" is a dash, and strictly speaking there should be no space before or after it. It's sometimes called an "em-dash" because typographically it is the width of a letter M. Traditionally it's made by typing two hyphens "--". Don't confuse a dash with a hyphen. Generally hyphens join words together; dashes set them apart.
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.