At one time I liberally sprinkled all my writing with semi-colons. Not anymore.
For one thing, I think they tend to stick-out and be far more noticeable than a comma. An if you really think a semi-colon should be there, why not just make the phrase into two sentences?
What really cured me was when I had an agent many years ago and he scolded me for using semi-colons in dialogue. What he told me was, "People don't speak with semi-colons."
When I'm writing dialogue, I hear the character's voice in my head. When he or she would pause for a breath, a comma seems to work best to convey this. Of course a period follows a complete sentence.
Frankly, unless someone sprinkles semi-colons throughout his or her writing, I seldom notice. The key really is if the writing captures my interest enough that I don't pay attention to things like the use of semi-colons.
What do you think?
Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith
Coming soon, A Crushing Death, #12 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.