Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting Clear about Grammar

Grammar.

We love it, we hate it, we wish that we could write without worrying about it. The good news?

Art by: fin5bjh, courtesy of Flickr
We can, but only for so long.

When a story is new and fresh, we write until we can't write anymore. We get it all out. Not all of our sentences are perfect; they shouldn't be. We are waiting for that spark of inspiration, that plane that will take us soaring through the universe, and we know it won't come in for a landing unless we are willing to write.

I try not to edit as I write. The process stunts my thinking and creates a stop in the creation process. Instead, I focus on getting it all out even if I don't use all of it or I have to rearrange the paragraphs later.

The key here is LATER:

Much later I am going through my manuscript and working out the kinks. This is when I look for flow, depth, intrigue, or whatever else I want my work to be. This is when I make changes to sentences and word choices. This is when I get someone else (perhaps many someone else's) to go over my work to see what I've missed.

Because I ALWAYS miss something.

Photo by Mike Baird, courtesy of Flickr
Grammar is important in those final stages of your work; especially when you're at the publishing stage. Especially if you are publishing your book yourself or going through POD, you need to make sure that your grammar is as good as it can get.

Yes, I've heard of folks getting published without cleaning up the grammar, I've even heard authors say that the message is what is most important, and that the grammar issues can be overlooked, but I disagree. Yes, your message is the MOST IMPORTANT THING, but in order to get your message across to the most readers, your grammar needs to be seriously looked at and changes made. If not, a great reader may decide that their time is far too precious to continually wade through your work.

And no great writer wants that.
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