I’ve just been reading Issa Dioume’s post, one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing exercises. This one is to write a short piece (paragraph to a page) without using punctuation of any kind. I’ve taken two scenes from the novels I’m rewriting and used them for these pieces without punctuation.
What comes over, I think, is that it’s possible with careful word choice and structure to just about get away with lack of punctuation in a straight description, but much more difficult (maybe a really good writer can manage it) with an action piece. See what you think.
Ever since he was a child hiding in the cupboard underneath the stairs where the sanitation workers stored their buckets and mops for keeping the stairs and hallways clean Quirino had felt at home in dark enclosed spaces the kind of places that hid him from his father the man with the hard heavy fists who dealt with Quirino’s mother in a way that was painful and definitive leaving Quirino at the tender age of ten years with no alternative but to deal with his father in the only logical way possible by making him the first criminal he reported to the Pure Ones building his own road following the light of duty around this turning point to a future that was so different and so much more rewarding than that of metalworker for which his birth had destined him and creating from the dust of the workshop floor a sharpened, polished instrument of the Wise God’s justice.
The car swung into the avenue treeless and completely straight like all of Providence’s arteries and the driver aimed it like a missile at the couple hurrying ahead towards the wasteland swearing quietly when they disappeared up a side road accelerating taking the turn on two wheels even then not in time to see where they’d gone doorway perhaps but nobody would let them in nobody ever did especially not when they heard the squeal of car tyres where then there was nowhere else he thought casting about left right rear view mirror and caught a flutter of fabric pale instantly gone whipped out of sight he grinned and swung the car around slamming it back down the empty street braking hard at the suspect entrance of a dilapidated building and saw all he needed to know the door with a broken panel and obviously a broken lock he slipped his pistol from its holster and leapt from the car.