08 April 2013

G is for....

Hello, and welcome to day seven of the A to Z Challenge!

Today's topic is grammar.

Oh, quit your bitching. It's not a grammer lesson, just some of *my* thoughts *about* grammar. Sheesh.

The English language is a complex, intricate thing. It's rules are contradictory and confusing. Writers are often left gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair, trying to simultaneously express a thought while also expressing it clearly.

One of the biggest challenges I face, not only as a writer but also as an editor, is the idea that not all fiction is "literary fiction." In other words, it doesn't matter (so much) if a comma is out of place or there are a ton of standalone dependent clauses; it's okay if commas are as frequently interspersed as glo sticks in a rave. Gerunds? Whatever!

I say why should a writer settle? So my genre is fantasy or horror or paranormal romance. This now means that, just because I didn't write "the great American novel," my writing should look like crap? I don't think so. What happened to pride in our work? What happened to being a crafter of words, when time was spent not just on what is said but also how it is said? I can write my story... no, I can craft my story as eloquently as any literary fiction author, whether my content is earth-shattering or simply a fantasy escape.

I see authors with great stories publishing through smaller companies and I wonder, where the hell was your editor? How on earth did she miss THAT? And that? And... seriously???? I wonder where the editor's passion went and why he or she doesn't take more pride in his/her work. For me, in my role as editor, I want to make sure that I have put my best effort forward with an author, to help her polish the work so it shines. Anything less than that is disrespectful of the effort she has poured into her novel.**

Where do you stand on the importance of grammar in your story? Should all fiction be a little more like "literary fiction"?

**Okay, so I got tired of he/she but I hope that you, my beloved reader, can understand that I do acknowledge that men are authors and editors, too.


  1. I've seen horrific editing, and sometimes what appears to be a complete lack of it, from the Big 5, too. Yup, it takes me aback.
    I don't claim to be a grammatical perfectionist, because perfection doesn't exist. I do my fair share of creative punctuation, mostly on purpose. ;-) I will admit to having higher expectations of books put out by traditional publishers, but I don't expect or even want literary fiction from every book I read.

  2. Personally, I care very much that my writing is clean. Of course, there are occasional fragments, as a part of voice, but they must be done on purpose.

  3. As someone who feels the need to follow every sentence with multiple exclamation points, I'm sure there are more than a couple Editors out there breathing a sigh of relief that I don't write :)
    (Because, let's face it life can never have too many exclamation points!!!!!) :D !!!

  4. Gotta love Grammar - happy "G" day!

    AtoZ Mighty Minion giving you a visit.


  5. I agree with you about putting effort into polishing a manuscript. A lot of time has gone into writing it, so it deserves excellent editing! Sometimes one or two things just get missed, but when too many grammar mistakes jump out at me from someone's book, I find it distracting and disappointing.

  6. Ellen, you are too right. It can definitely still happen with the Big 5. It is very sad!

  7. Matthew, absolutely when it's part of a character's voice, fragments are on purpose. The sad part is when it's not voice and they're everwhere. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. So which twin was visiting today????? :-) (Do you feel the same way about question marks, lol!)

  9. I'm with you, Jennifer, excessive mistakes are totally distracting!