My name is Kristi and I have an addiction. Technically, I have several if you count chocolate and coffee, but in terms of writer-ly things, I have a small problem with em dashes. One of my critique partners called me out on the em dash addiction, and I went through my manuscript and removed a TON of those puppies. The problem is--they're so much fun. All you have to do is type two hyphens into Microsoft Word and the em dash appears--it's like magic. (Unlike Blogger, which is apparently not magic and won't let me transfer the formatted em dashes into this text)
Here's when it IS acceptable to use the em dash:
1) To indicate an abrupt change in thought. This can also include a parenthetical statement that needs to be set apart. The em dash is used here when you need more 'oomph' than a regular ole comma.
(e.g. One of the best ways to determine which em dashes to remove is--did somebody say chocolate?)
2) To indicate that a sentence is unfinished because the speaker has been interrupted.
(e.g. "If you think I'm just going to stand here, while you point that Taser at me--")
That's pretty much it. Me? My motto has been "Why use a comma when you can have the excitement of an em dash instead?" I haven't deleted all of them, but there was a serious em dash massacre in my house last week.
What about you? Anyone else have em dash love? Any other writing-related addictions you'd care to admit?