Think of it as one-minute professional development.
You spend time learning how to structure your plot, how to research and win an agent, how to balance life and career, how to market...the list goes on. Among all these writerly musts is the craft of writing itself. When an agent sees a manuscript with excellent grammar, it adds to the author's esteem. "Here’s someone," they think, "who took the time to master the language as well as tell a story." It’s a professional bonus.
You know who else appreciates it? Readers.
If you're going the traditional route, you'll be assigned an editor. The publishing house will make sure that your book is as error-free as possible. But if you're an indie or hybrid author, then it's largely up to you. You want to offer a quality product, to be known for your characters, story-world, and whiplash-inducing plots. You want people to talk about your book like it was an experience—but not about your typos and your grammar.
Of course, the best thing to do is to hire an editor.
I'm here to tell you I understand that it's expensive. Plan for it from the beginning. Budget for it. Research and find an editor you trust. And this: make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before you send it off.
If you find someone who charges by the hour, realize that it will save you money if they have less to do. Sure, I might be shooting myself in the foot here, but I'm a writer first, editor second. I get it. I'm also a grammar nerd. (It's okay. I don't balk at the title. I bask in it. If you've read my bio, you've heard this before.)
I've decided to launch a new series: Get Your Grammar Fix(ed). Life is busy. Nobody wants to spend their spare time dwelling in grammar land—not even me. But I do love grammar, and I want to see it used well. Starting next weekend, I'll post a new bite-sized lesson each week. We'll cover sentence structure, verb tenses, comma splices, and anything else you need. I'll even address passive voice (as in not active voice). Dull writing skulks around introducing himself as passive, but we'll tackle him in a different post.
Understanding the rules and seeing an example are all you need to learn to do it correctly on your own. I believe all writers should know the language well-enough to bend—and occasionally break—the rules with flair.
Take a minute to bookmark this baby (and share it, too!) Let me know in the comment section what topics you need me to cover, and I'll do it. We'll never run out of grammar, but if there's something that's particularly irking you in your writing, and you can't nail it down, ask me.
Right now, if you sign up to follow the blog and comment below with a grammar topic or common mistake, Erynn and I will choose a random winner for a $5 Starbucks gift card. Jump into the conversation!
Affect v. effect :-/ReplyDelete
Thanks for the input! Will do.ReplyDelete
For me, it is about grammar and voice. How to do right by the Grammar Fairy and still sound real!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your input. Voice will be tackled in our other (not one-minute long) series, but I'll be sure to equip you with enough grammar wisdom to give you ammo for that.Delete
there, they're, theirReplyDelete
Ugh. Roll my eyes when I skim past them in Facebook posts. Wince when I see them in a book...
[any chance for Amazon instead? No coffee for this girl ;)]
M-hm. I hear ya. I can take those on. I wish I could simultaneously promise to make them all go away...Delete
Amazon is definitely doable.
Subjunctive mood. I was totally humiliated when I got my manuscript back from my editor and realized I'd completely ignored that little "if I was/if I were" question (which I notice you used correctly in the first paragraph. :)) It's a mistake that I'll never make again, that's for sure...ReplyDelete
Oh, yes! That's one that gets a lot of people. Fear not. I am unafraid of it. I will make it clear! :)Delete
Irregardless. But I don't need no, gift card.ReplyDelete
Leo! Glad you stopped by. I won't edit your second sentence. (If you weren't my b-i-l, I wouldn't have even mentioned it. Since you are, I believe it's intentional.) Few things bother me more than irregardless. *shudder* I'm on it.Delete
I hate when people use "passed" instead of "past" (as well as the other way around), your/you're, there/their/they're, etc...ReplyDelete
So, so, so many homophones to mix up. But you're right. It's very important to write what we intend to communicate--and not something else entirely. Thanks, Sally!Delete
I'm with April (1st comment). I know the rules of affect/effect, but I have to think long and hard sometimes. Even then, I'm not sure I'm right.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I'm not sure I'll explain well enough that you won't have to even THINK anymore as you do it, but I'll give it my best. *wink*Delete
Ooh! I agree, Sally. And wonder/wander. My favorite misheard word though was an in a book I read in which the author repeatedly used the phrase "flock of hair" instead of lock of hair. Talk about jarring me out of the experience.ReplyDelete
And Lora, great one. The trick is remembering 'A' is for action. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun.
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. These are great!
Oooh, great idea for a series! This isn't grammar, but something I have a heck of a time with are lie vs. lay and affect vs. effect. Blech!ReplyDelete
Oh, yeah. DEFINITELY included. I hope it'll clear things up for you. That's one a LOT of people struggle with. Thanks for swinging by.Delete
Literally vs. figurativelyReplyDelete
"I literally peed all over myself when he said that."
Wow, how awkward for you.
How awkward, indeed. I literally snorted when I read that suggestion. (Not telling whether that's literal or figurative.) You got it, Rachel.Delete
Less and fewer. I know I don't always use them correctly. A pet peeve, people not using good and well correctly.ReplyDelete
Ah, GOOD ones. A lot of people don't even think of those. And I like when people use "good" well, too.ReplyDelete
Split infinitives: to boldly use, or avoid.ReplyDelete
Ha! I see what you did there. :) Good suggestion. Thanks for stopping by, Suzy! We did Lie vs. Lay this week. Did you see the new post?Delete