Em dash or parenthesis?

In other words, would you write it as,


The parenthesis read like you're being whispered a secret by a shy confidante, while the dash is more like you're being told a secret by a salesman eager to show off his knowledge.

Personally I use em dashes because that's what Brandon Sanderson uses, and for a long time I tried to copy his style. I like to think I've developed my own style since then, but some habits stuck around.

I consider them rhythmically/musically different. The em dash is like a rest combined with a fermata -- it causes you to pause, and the preceding part of the sentence lingers for a bit, setting up a contrast with the part that follows. When an em dash is used twice (as in the example you use) it works very well as a Hegelian device (thesis/antithesis/synthesis). The pause itself becomes part of the rhythm of the entire sentence. The parenthesis is more like a change in pitch, and doesn't change the rhythm nearly as much.

Either works, it just depends on what you're trying to compose. :-)

Em dashes are mid-sentence punctation--just a short aside--and I don't think are that similar in usage to parentheses in a fiction context (I do like them both though!).


you use the mccarthy and or bust