Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Grammar, Miss Molly!

Dear Diary,

My WIP is stalled as I try to figure out the next section of the novel. This is mental work, not writing work. So while I do that, I shall work on a couple of other projects which have lain by the side too long. The first is a novel that is almost ready to submit somewhere -- I have one last pass of entering corrections to do -- plus the addition of some extra scenes. The other project is a self-published book that has a large number of errors, and these errors need to be corrected.

Many of these errors point up the difference between storytelling, which I am good at, and writing, which I am not good at. I tend to tell my stories in my speaking voice. Unfortunately, a speaking voice is not usually gramatically correct. We use inflection and facial expression to convey meaning in our speaking voice that is not there in the written word. Thus the written word needs to be more grammatically correct than the spoken word.

Thus stories must be combed over and over for gramatical mistakes.

I am working with two books which are as entertaining as they are useful. There is The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed and The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook For The Innocent, The Eager, and The Doomed. Both are by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.

Please do not take the errors in this blog as evidence of the worthlessness of these books. I'm writing this blog in my natural voice. Take it instead that if these handbooks can clean up my writing, and they do, then they can help anyone!

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