When I think about it, I got a good grounding in basic grammar in junior high, which disappeared in high school, as we began focusing more intently on Shakespeare and reading novels. But, unlike Ms. Wrede, I had a teacher in Grade 12 who was incredibly enthusiastic about creative writing. We had weekly creative writing assignments, which I enjoyed much more than I expected to. She taught and encouraged and made public mention of people who had done well.
This is what crit partners and beta readers are there for as well. To let us know where we’re on the right track, where we have strengths that we may never have suspected. And to prove that not everyone is going to be put off by a few poorly used commas or em-dashes.
One of the things many new writers struggle with is the, apparently, mistaken idea that a grammatically perfect manuscript automatically has a better chance of being published.
I’m living proof that that is a complete crock of *bleep*.
Not that I would send in something where I hadn’t done my absolute best with my grammar, because that’s also a matter of respect for the editor’s time, but I don’t stress about it as much. During Before You Hit Send, I even got a qualified ‘okay’ from Angela James for my tendency to write sentences where ‘he did this, then he did that’, which I know is a comma splice, but ‘and then’ drives me mad sometimes. And I’m a big believer in saving words wherever I can, in case I need them later for pretties.
On the writing front, this week was pretty much a write off. I’ve started reading First Footer, by Jules Jones, which was edited by the lady I will be working with. And now that line about her choosing to work with me makes sense–there’s a fair bit of ‘raised eyebrow’ in First Footer already, and I’m only on the first chapter.
THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! (Sorry about the exclamation marks, Angela. But I really needed them!) (That one, too.)