As I complete the final edits on the manuscript that will be my debut novel, The Confessions of Adam, I thought I’d—I thought it would be helpful to share one of the key fixes that my editor, Lindsay Franklin found. I have spent 6–8 hours replacing hyphens with em dashes—not en dashes. When I started, I didn’t know the difference. You can Google the difference. And you should. It is important. Here are a few of examples from the novel:

Incorrect: Amat gently helps the sniffling boy tie his soaked smock up in a knot at his back and wraps a strand of bells just above each of the child’s elbows and knees. This done, he pats the boy’s head – no doubt a knot has risen from my reprimand – and ushers the child to the river’s edge, watching over him as he eases into the water and wades back in among the other boys.

Correct: Amat gently helps the sniffling boy tie his soaked smock up in a knot at his back and wraps a strand of bells just above each of the child’s elbows and knees. This done, he pats the boy’s head—no doubt a knot has risen from my reprimand—and ushers the child to the river’s edge, watching over him as he eases into the water and wades back in among the other boys.

Incorrect: “It was she. If she had not been so insistent–“

Correct: “It was she. If she had not been so insistent—“

Incorrect: There is a servant who aides Enosh and works the stable. Have you seen him – a thin, muscled, tan young man with loose, curly hair?

Correct: There is a servant who aides Enosh and works the stable. Have you seen him—a thin, muscled, tan young man with loose, curly hair?

Consider this your introduction to the world of dashes. Use them wisely.