Got back my book with the latest run of edits and discovered that I have a hyphen fetish. Turns out, I used a lot of compound words that needed a hyphen to make sense to the reader.
For those of you not in the know (and don’t think you are alone here, I’ve been having to bone up on the hyphen lately) a hyphen is used in many compound words to show that the component words have a combined meaning. Like mother-in-law or day-to-day.
Unfortunately, rules for using a hyphen vary — of course they do. No one said writing was easy! Check out this link for some of the standards of hyphen use: Oxford Dictionary on the Hyphen
In addition paying attention to being grammatically correct, in fiction it’s important to keep punctuation like hyphens and semicolons to a minimum because they are distracting for a reader. Semicolons stop the eye; break up the flow.
Hyphens do the same thing. A man-about-town is correct and also visually disrupting. Particularly if you use hyphens too much.
So far my solution has been to re-write my more ambiguous sentences and hold my nose when nothing but a hyphen will do.