As we begin to talk about Grammar and all the ‘rules,’ I want to take a moment to make sure you understand that I KNOW this is not the most exciting thing about writing.
After all, the tough part is coming up with the idea. After that, you need to develop the characters and their arcs, along with the plot of your story.
Well, yes, all that is true.
However, most of us write, craving an audience for our work.
Ultimately, you want to know that what you wrote is appealing, right?
Grammar is the key to helping you have your work read. Oh, sure, you can post your writing anywhere you want – the Internet has made that incredibly easy. BUT – poor Grammar, lack of attention to spelling, and sloppiness give you AND more importantly, YOUR WRITING, a BAD REPUTATION.
Here’s the real kicker – IF you plan on submitting your work to an agent, a publication, a contest, or you simply want to self-publish, you can’t go wrong by putting your BEST foot forward. Proper Grammar and word usage go a long way in proving yourself as a writer.
Over the past ten years, I’ve joined several writing communities. There are some I’ve remained a part of, and somewhere I left after a few months. No, I’m not a complete snob or anything, but it is challenging to be a part of a group that isn’t serious about their writing. (At least for me.)
In one of the groups I belonged to for over three years, I would read and review at least fifty stories from other people. I would take the time to make constructive criticism regarding the plot, characters, and then I would do a modified line by line edit where I pointed out errors in grammar or spelling.
Several people told me they didn’t worry about ‘that stuff.’ After all, isn’t that what editors are for?
There are two answers to that question:
- Editors are not going to correct your sentence syntax or paragraph structure – UNLESS you pay them as a Ghost Writer – EXTREMELY Expensive.
- Editors will go through your MS with a fine-tooth comb and fix all of your grammatical and spelling errors – IF you pay them to do a Line by Line Edit – VERY Expensive.
I concluded that if I didn’t want to spend the little bit of money I make from the sales of my books on editing and other professional services, I needed to learn as much as possible about the mechanics of writing.
So, my friends, I’m going to talk about the dreaded comma and share one way I found to deal with the comma in a compound sentence.
We will also talk about other commas – like the controversial Oxford Comma.
We are going to take a look at using the ellipsis and the semi-colon.
We’re also going to talk about hyphens and capitalization.
I will share my list of the most misspelled words, along with difficult words AND homonyms that are one of my personal pet peeves.
Now, I know what I know, but I also know what I don’t know. So, I will give you the names of some great reference books to have on your shelves for when you are doing the most crucial step in writing: