We’re also trying to get you into the 21st century. Good grief, man, I’m 67 myself, and I’ve upgraded my reference books as they came available and relegated the old ones to my antiques collection.
Let me make it simple. Your punctuation reference books are out of date. Lose them, because they are giving you an excuse to punctuate incorrectly. Use current punctuation rules (which are almost identical in the USA and the UK, except for terminology – points vs. periods, for example). Stop ignoring our critiques and repeating questions that we’ve already answered – such as what is strong and what is weak? And quit using incorrect punctuation in new posts if you don’t want to hear about it from us. (In fact, to anyone who is reading this, if I ever see you state that you intend to send badly-written and incorrectly-punctuated works to editors to let them “fix” your mistakes, I will send updog-the-pitbull to your home so she can affix her incisors to your ankle until you swear to shape up; no wonder agents are so overwhelmed with slush that they cannot seem to send rejections to the rest of us. That includes anyone who fails to use the Oxford, or serial, comma.)
In fact, lose your reference books altogether and start reading current fiction. When you’ve read your first 100 YA novels, you may have absorbed enough to be able to write YA fiction at a skill level which would allow your work to be considered for publication. (Hell, I’ve read that many novels in their UK editions, Pan books and such. And again I state that I’ve never seen in any of those books the oddities that you perpetuate here.)
Your war stories are interesting. We don’t mind taking a few minutes from our volunteer critiquing duties to read them. And then we move back into the present, where no agent is likely to accept improperly-punctuated submissions and those which are not salable because they need more work. Why are you still resting on your 50-year-old laurels and not at this moment writing?
We appreciate the fact that you were well-published 50 years ago; but this forum is not an admiration society; it’s a fiction critique forum. I’ve published non-fiction feature pieces and photos, too, but those mean little if anything to agents nowadays. As I’ve stated before, I have seven YA novels that are selling on Amazon and other venues, and I still am learning to learn how to write fiction. Stephen King is on record as saying that the first million words are part of the learning process, and I’m maybe halfway to my first million. And still learning how to write. You’ve written, what? Several thousand words of fiction? Maybe ten thousand? Keep writing, sir, keep writing.
Cast your eyes to the upper left corner and read: “Writer’s Digest” “Write better, get published”. If you goal is not to learn how to write better and get published, as I’ve stated before, you’re merely using this forum as your personal vanity press, and if you’re not trying to learn how to improve your writing so you can publish fiction … move on, please. You’re wasting our time.
Finally, as updog says, lose the pissy attitude here. I got enough of that during 34 years of teaching secondary English and journalism plus some Spanish, and I’m not going to put up with it here from you or anyone else, named “harris” or whatever.
And now I’m going to sign off from here and proofread a 102,000-word book – not mine – which needs some punctuation help, especially with hyphens and Oxford commas.