Making an aside

Let’s look at another snippet. What are the dashes doing this time?

Although she thought nuns were killjoys and she didn't follow all the Church's rules word for word—she treated the Ten Commandments more like the Ten Suggestions—Mom considered herself a devout Catholic and took us to mass most Sundays.

Here Walls uses the dashes to give us what’s called an aside—a little comment that’s related to what she’s talking about—before returning to her main point.

What makes the aside work is the word although:

Although there is this one factand here's an example thatthe truth is actually more complicated than that.

Read this snippet without although. Go on—do it now. How does it sound?

Without although the snippet is just a random collection of facts.

The word although sets up the expectation that the first part of the sentence is going to be contradicted by the second part of the sentence.

The aside—the part between the em dashes—works because it is interrupting the resolution of the although.

Although I always liked to buy my cheese in bulk—I figured it was a great way to save money—I did not like to store crackers or chips for longer than a few days.

Although he considered himself a pretty amazing tricker and he didn't think the wall was all that high—not compared to the football stand in the park he spun off that one time—he was still worried about hurting himself.

The snippet and the examples above use the aside to talk about the characters' attitudes. But asides can also give more detail about a character's behaviour.

Although I bought a wheel of cheese—Edam, I think, but I'm not entirely sure—I totally forgot to buy crackers and needed to combine it with potato chips instead.

Although the wall wasn't high and Connor was pretty amazing at tricking—he'd once back-flipped on a moving skateboard—when he jumped down onto the sand we all heard something snap.

Write your own variation, using em dashes to make an aside about a character's attitudes or beliefs.
Write another variation, this time making an aside about a character's behaviour.