Grammar-Get It Right!

4QYYI7VIf you think grammar is just a small child’s mispronunciation of “grandmother,” and if you think syntax is a tax that the church levies on sin, maybe you should consider becoming a nuclear physicist or a neurosurgeon or just about anything at all except a novelist. Dean Koontz

Maybe you’re inexperienced, or perhaps you have been writing for a while, but still haven’t produced a publishable piece of work. You probably have a few things to learn about writing a novel, but grammar should not be one of them. Writing grammatically sound prose has nothing to do with creativity. It is a mechanical process.

You don’t need extensive experience to produce prose that meets minimum standards of correct English usage. You don’t even need a formal education. Grammar is something that can be self-taught. While a publisher may understand your deficiencies in characterization, shaky plotting, and an overblown style, he will not excuse poor grammar.

I remember my first few rejections. One of the reasons cited had nothing to do with the story  and everything to do with the grammar. One of the literary agents stated, “It’s not ready. Your work is full of grammatical and structural errors.”

You should not expect a copyeditor to strip away your poor grammar and replace it with grammatically sound prose. This is one of the myths that I believed. I had a great story, and while it was a little rough around the edges, I thought the idea was enough to carry my work.

Remember, no one cares about your work and your future as much as you do. If you don’t care enough to write well, you are destined to fail.

A hard truth and something to think about.

-Jan R

 

Grammar-Get It Right!

10 thoughts on “Grammar-Get It Right!

  1. What frustrates me (sometimes to tears — I’m not exaggerating) is how so many authors (and readers) these days seem to think that there’s some sort of absolute dichotomy about good writing. They seem to think that you can have a good story or good grammar, but never both. (I don’t know where this belief comes from. If anyone has a possible explanation, I’d like to hear it.)

    Story has to come first, because without the story, there’s no point to having those sentences strung together anyway (and you can’t edit a blank page), but even the best story concept in the world is useless if the reader can’t find the story under a mess of wonky punctuation and bad grammar.

    Liked by 1 person

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