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Bella_Angel1988
10-07-2012, 11:09 PM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

shakeysix
10-07-2012, 11:14 PM
I'm an English teacher. I don't think editor's are itching to do my job. My editor catches plenty of my mistakes and then we confer on what I was trying to say, before deciding on punctuation, grammar or word choice. The important word here is confer--If you don't care much about learning the ins and outs of grammar, how are you going to be able to confer with an editor?--s6

Kerosene
10-07-2012, 11:21 PM
If you'd like to hire an editor, to do most of the job of a writer, feel free to. They are expensive.

I say that, because I can see no possible way an agent/publisher will even touch a book if they can't read or make sense of it. And that is what grammar helps the reader with.

Grammar is important, because its important. It's the way you're reading this sentence and helps you understand what I'm saying. I like way if like write this--can't you sense not of it.

shadowwalker
10-07-2012, 11:24 PM
Unfortunately, part of being a writer is learning how to write well technically. At least you know (and acknowledge) where you have problems; that puts you ahead of many. Now you have to put as much effort into those areas as you do your story-telling. A great story will sometimes allow readers to overlook technical problems - but very few of us can write a great story. :)

BenPanced
10-07-2012, 11:39 PM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.
You really can't leave everything to an editor, considering the number of errors I've spotted in the above post and the thread title. As a writer, you are expected to know the basics and if you can't demonstrate that you'll be rejected outright, no matter how amazing your story might be. Take a look around the threads and learn as much as possible; it can only help in the long run.

Stacia Kane
10-07-2012, 11:41 PM
Not sure how the correct placement of commas isn't a detail, that would be important in detail-oriented writing?

There are different kinds of editors. What you're talking about is generally done by copyeditors. The editor who acquires a book will do story/content editing, like "This scene is a bit long, maybe?" or "Her motives here seem a bit unclear."

But for an editor to want to buy your book and thus work with you on it, s/he will want it to be properly written to begin with. If you don't know how to write--if you don't know the basic rules of grammar--you won't be able to effectively communicate through writing, and that's what this is all about. A copyeditor adds polish. They look for the occasional missed typo, or suggest a more grammatical way to say something. They don't "fix" your grammar, they make suggestions, and you as the writer need to know whether or not their fix works.

It's not an editor's job to make your work readable and understandable. It's yours. You're the writer. You're the one with something to say. You need to be able to say it.

Amadan
10-07-2012, 11:47 PM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.


Copy-editors are supposed to catch the occasional typo. Editors are supposed to point out structural problems or sections that could use more flavorful text, a bit more clarification, etc.

It's not the editor's job to transform badly-proofed error-ridden text into something readable because the author is such a literary genius that her prose blazes with the transcendent glory of the shining sun and therefore she feels she need not be bothered with trivial matters like punctuation and subject-verb agreement that concern lesser writers.

blacbird
10-08-2012, 12:22 AM
Learn it. Stop making excuses for not doing so. Grammar isn't cosmological physics.

caw

buz
10-08-2012, 12:25 AM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. Those are details...what do you mean? I put the periods at the end of each sentence but you may have some trouble locating the end of the sentence...the first sentence you used here should have been broken up by a period or a semicolon...;) , capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer so you should know how to play with words, and how canst thou play with words if their full potential remains at a distance? and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

You can't divorce grammar from writing. Writing is about the manipulation of language; grammar and spelling are what make it understandable--they are the boundary lines in which you have to play.

When you ride a horse, the horse is the one who appears to be doing the work. The horse is the expression: the horse is what you see running and jumping, the horse is what you see prancing and trotting. That horse is the focal point, and a good rider will make it look like the horse is doing everything.

But the reason the horse is doing the things it's doing in that particular way is that it's responding to the rider's body, and how the rider uses his/her body to manipulate the horse. A rider's leg pressure can mean the difference between a horse sailing over a jump at the right time or stumbling. You can't just say "well, my job is to steer; jumping and gauging distance is the horse's job, isn't it?"

No. You and the horse are in it together. :D The expression is a result of the whole.

You are a motherfucking centaur. ;)

Writing is an expression of "the whole," so to speak. It's not enough to just slap words down and making sure they go in some semblance of order. The manner in which they are slapped down affects the expression, the rhythm, the flow, the sound, the delight the reader takes in reading. Your objective is to make them your bitch. :D

Writting like this is hard for miny people to read it takes more werk and so your not letting people heer you're voice they dont know what you mean why would you want to enflict this kind of that I'm doing now on the people what are reeding?

BenPanced
10-08-2012, 12:31 AM
Learn it. Stop making excuses for not doing so.
Especially when you recognize your flaws.

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2012, 12:38 AM
Grammer Grammar is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

:welcome: Bella. :)

Well, if you are not well versed in grammar, you need to take a class or get a good English book. You cannot leave anything up to the editor. As a writer, it is up to you to write a good story, use proper spelling and punctuation and to adequately edit your own work. An editor is a team member of the publication team only, not a fixer, if you will. As others have pointed out, you have many errors in your post. :)

Anninyn
10-08-2012, 12:42 AM
Grammar isn't a strange, arcane science only learnable by a few. Mine's far from perfect, but I'm learning every day, just from the books I read and the things I read here. You at least need to know the basics before you submit - it's a presentation thing. You wouldn't show up to a job interview in your house-cleaning clothes, so don't send your work out in the equivalent.

Chase
10-08-2012, 01:20 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with each poster above. They all have your best writing at heart. As a teacher of English for a quarter century, I've always puzzled at the notion that content is somehow separate from spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

One depends on the other.

shakeysix
10-08-2012, 01:47 AM
Why don't you post on some of the other threads and get a feel for the place? It really is a fun place for creative minds to learn more about writing. No one is going to redline what you have to say in Office Party, for example. You will be trading thoughts with some nimble minds and you can see good, solid writing without angsting over commas. If you have questions someone will help out. --s6

Ken
10-08-2012, 02:05 AM
so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

_ _ _ that's how it went with Hemingway, I think. His stories and novels were full of grammatical errors. His editor (or agent?) fixed them all. Someone even told me that the editor was to be more credited than Hemingway for the stories as they did most of the work! That sounds a bit much though and I doubt there's truth to it. That was also some time back. Publishing worked a bit differently.

Stacia Kane
10-08-2012, 03:43 AM
Bella Angel, I just want to add that it's true what others have said. Grammar and punctuation are not that hard to learn, if you pay attention.

Think of it this way, and I apologize if the analogy is a bit silly: When you meet a hot guy, you want him to see the real you, right? To see what a great person you are. But don't you have a better chance of him seeing that if you can actually speak to him and communicate, rather than if you simply giggle and grunt?

Editors are the same way. If you want them to see how good your story is, it must be written in a way that shows it to its best advantage. It must be clear and understandable.

Perhaps a hundred years ago or even fifty years ago there were few enough aspiring writers that editors had time to read even the mss filled with errors. Not so now.

But like I said, we can help you. And I bet you'll feel much better about your writing when it says exactly what you want it to say, clearly and cleanly enough that anyone can understand it. :)

IceCreamEmpress
10-08-2012, 08:26 AM
Your post is very difficult to understand. It isn't simply a matter of "detail"---you're not expressing yourself clearly. If that is the case in the creative writing you're doing, then you need to work on developing your technical skills before your manuscripts will be ready for submission.

Some of the ways people improve their technical writing skills are by taking classes (either for-credit classes or classes at an adult education program), working at their own pace through online courses (Steven Barnes has made a very solid writing course available for free through his website (http://www.lifewrite.com/html/class.htm)), or reading books like The Writer's Options by Morenberg and Sommers or 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost (I'm sure other folks here will have more up to date suggestions!)

Yes, editors will do things like put in semi-colons or correct subject-verb agreement on occasion, but they need to start with a clearly written, easy to follow text. Unless this post isn't a good reflection of your current skill level in terms of writing mechanics, I would encourage you to put in a bit more time with that.

Fallen
10-08-2012, 09:41 AM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

Good to meet you, Bella. ;)

May I come at this from an editor's perspective?

Some copyeditors will have three writing styles to deal with when it comes to working on a single manuscript: your style, house style (how the publisher prefers certain things written for typography purposes (eg: how best to make all fit together on the page), and a style guide (usually a universal guide for editors to have as a reference, like the Chicago Manual of Style etc).

They won't expect you to know everything about house and style guide usage, that's their job, but if your style is the base they're starting on, it's always good for the author to recognise the basics of their own craft. A copyeditor will suggest a change if the grammar / syntax / punctuation isn't being used to it's most impactful, and if you want to return a comment and say you'd like something to stand, it's always good to let the senior editor know why you want something to stand. And that means understanding how a clause pulls together (even if you don't know the technical terms :) ).

I'm a contract editor working for a good epub, and I've been taught to respect author style above everything else; I also respect the authors I work with. I'd also hope that an author would return that respect and not hand over the roughest draft they can find. Copyeditors do so much more than just correct GSP issues, they'll be working through trademark, copyright, formatting etc.

But in general, working with an copyeditor through a publisher, they're not there to teach you grammar, but to prepare the script for the next stage of publication for the house they work with.

Torgo
10-08-2012, 01:50 PM
Punctuation isn't decorative - it conveys and clarifies meaning. So if you don't know how to use it properly, you will have problems being understood. This is a major problem for someone who wants to tell stories for a living.

You don't actually need to have perfect grammar to be a writer. There is indeed stuff that a copyeditor will fix, because their specialist job is to be better at it than anyone else, including you. But you need to be competent.

When I was a kid of about 9 I had an English teacher called Mr Campbell, an awesome old guy with a big beard that made him look like Badger from the Wind in the Willows. I remember turning in a piece of creative writing to him once, and it came back with basic grammar flaws corrected in his green ink. There was a note in the margin that said, "This is a good story, but pay attention to your spelling and grammar. There won't always be an editor/JC [his initials] around to correct your work." I have never forgotten that.

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2012, 06:27 PM
Some of the ways people improve their technical writing skills are by taking classes (either for-credit classes or classes at an adult education program), working at their own pace through online courses (Steven Barnes has made a very solid writing course available for free through his website (http://www.lifewrite.com/html/class.htm)), or reading books like The Writer's Options by Morenberg and Sommers or 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost (I'm sure other folks here will have more up to date suggestions!)


Excellent link!

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2012, 06:30 PM
Bella,

This website (http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html) contains grammar lessons. It's one of my favorites. You might want to give it a try. :)

Bella_Angel1988
10-08-2012, 06:50 PM
Thanks everyone for your wonderful posts and advice! I understand better what the jobs are and the relationships between writer and author. I didn't mean to sound like I wasn't interested in learning how to correct my mistakes because I do. I'll take a look at the links and at the threads everyone has suggested. Thanks again for all your help!

shakeysix
10-08-2012, 07:01 PM
good luck. you'll like this place--ss

absitinvidia
10-08-2012, 07:05 PM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.


The simple answer?

NO.

As an editor and as a reader, my reaction is this: If you don't have enough respect for me to learn your craft, why on earth should I give up my valuable time (as an editor) or my money (as a reader) to reward you for that disrespect?

ArtsyAmy
10-08-2012, 07:10 PM
Hi, Bella Angel,

I found your post to be understandable. (Although I suppose it could be the case that I misunderstood, and merely think I understood it.) I understood you to say that you have the ideas for the stories, and you write the stories down (that's your part of the job), and that you use grammar that is far from perfect. And you questioned whether it would be the job of an editor to bring your grammar up to perfection. Seems to me that's a reasonable, sincerely asked question.

Others have pointed out a couple things, and I'll add to them. Yes, your job as a writer is to come up with the story and to express it in writing. But to express the story clearly, you do need to have a certain level of competence with grammar--probably more than you already have. Otherwise, the points you're trying to get across won't make it all the way to the reader's understanding. You, the writer, may think something comes across perfectly clear, but the reader may take away a different meaning if the grammar isn't correct. We really can't separate competent grammar skills from good storytelling. While editors can offer some corrections (and others have described this better than I could), their job can't be to correct problems that have inhibited basic understanding of your story.

Improving your grammar probably won't be nearly as difficult as you may think. My suggestion is to get yourself a copy of Easy Grammar. The exercises are very brief and easy. You could get through the whole book in a month or less if you put the time in. Then you'll be better able to express your stories in a more understandable way. :)

Jamesaritchie
10-08-2012, 08:47 PM
Grammer is probably one of the most important pieces in writing however I am very poor when it comes to handling the correct way to use. My work is more detail-oriented then placing commas where they should go or where do the semi colons fit. I put the periods at the end of each sentence, capitalize where it needs to be, and use quotations when they are needed...so couldn't I leave the rest up to the editor? After all I am the writer and if I present my work to the editor shouldn't he or she be doing their job now? Unless I'm wrong and that isn't what they are designed to do.

No, you can't leave the rest up to the editor. Saying you're a writer is saying you know grammar and punctuation. If you don't know these things, how can you be a writer?

It's like saying you're a carpenter but have no clue how to use a hammer or a saw.

We all make mistakes, we all have brain farts, but grammar is, to semi-quote Stephen King, in the top drawer of the writer's toolbox, and you have to know how to use it.

Unless the grammar is intentionally used incorrectly, as in Huckleberry Finn, bad grammar is bad writing.

An editor's job is not to correct all your poor grammar. An editor's job is to find good writers who already know good grammar, who know how to tell a story, who know how to build good character, and who know how to write good dialogue.

An editor will fix your minor mistakes, and repair your brain farts, but if you don't know grammar well enough to not to need an editor, you don't know grammar well enough to tell a good story.

Grammar isn't rocket science. Little kids, those who want to do so, learn it very, very fast. So can you.

Thump
10-08-2012, 08:57 PM
Editors' and proofreaders' time is precious and expensive. No matter how good your story may be, the very busy editor will not take twice as long reading it to try and understand what you're trying to say and will certainly not pay a proofreader a fortune to fix problems you should have taken more time to fix yourself. It all eats at their profits. Grammar is really not that hard, you don't need to know all the ins and outs of it. No one expects you to have it perfect but you need to know enough to communicate effectively.

An example off the Internet:

Let's eat grandma!
Let's eat, grandma!

Grammar is the difference between spending time with granny and cannibalism... All it took was a comma and the meaning changed completely.

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2012, 11:57 PM
Let's eat grandma!


Why? What did Grandma ever do? :roll:

Rufus Coppertop
10-09-2012, 10:07 AM
Why? What did Grandma ever do? :roll:
Immerse herself in a nice marinade?

shakeysix
10-09-2012, 03:59 PM
you snot nosed whippersnappers better be well armed when you come after this grandma. i ain't gonna be nobody's barbecue without a fire fight! --s6

Jamesaritchie
10-09-2012, 04:22 PM
_ _ _ that's how it went with Hemingway, I think. His stories and novels were full of grammatical errors. His editor (or agent?) fixed them all. Someone even told me that the editor was to be more credited than Hemingway for the stories as they did most of the work! That sounds a bit much though and I doubt there's truth to it. That was also some time back. Publishing worked a bit differently.

Hemingway's grammar wasn't that bad, though he never could be convinced that "alright" wasn't a word. And it's complete nonsense to say editors did most of the work on his stories.

About the only famous writer I can think of where that was probably the case was Thomas Wolfe.

Ken
10-09-2012, 04:33 PM
Hemingway's grammar wasn't that bad, though he never could be convinced that "alright" wasn't a word. And it's complete nonsense to say editors did most of the work on his stories.

About the only famous writer I can think of where that was probably the case was Thomas Wolfe.

_ _ _ had thought as much. Maybe why some think so is because Hemingway's writing is so crisp and flawless. It has the stamp of an editor on it. And on top of it, he was an awesome storyteller. Whenever you get an overpowering combination like that people begin coming up with explanations to account for it.

Thump
10-09-2012, 07:30 PM
We should probably mention that Hemingway was a while back and publishing is a much different business now. Editors back in those days could afford to spend this kind of time of a very talented writer. Nowadays, when everyone has a computer and can write a novel, there is so much competition that they don't have to bother, they can just pick the next guy whose writing is more polished.

It's a tough world but what can ye do?

Also, it's grandma's fault if she spends the day baking cookies and smells like sugar and cinnamon.

StephanieFox
10-11-2012, 01:27 AM
You are probably a woman in her early 20s. If so, you attended school during that regrettable period in public education when many English teachers thought it better that you express yourself than you expressed yourself well. It's true that if you are writing for your journal, you don't have to write well. But, if you are to be a writer, you must learn to write clearly, and that means you need to learn the rules of grammar. If you don't, no one will want to read your work, no matter how creative you may be.

What you want to do is to knit without knowing how to do the stitches. You want to drive without knowing the rules of the road.

Really. I speak the truth. You can still learn how to write using proper grammar. We've given you a lot of places to find and to learn about this skill. If you are truly creative, you're smart enough to do this. In the end, when people (other than family) tell you how much they love your work, you'll know it was worth it.

Roxxsmom
10-11-2012, 01:46 AM
As someone who is plowing her way through a stack of student papers right now, I can tell you that a lack of punctuation makes some sentences incomprehensible. Even though I teach biology and not English, I can't give students credit for content I can't understand.

I'm always saddened and amazed when some students use "I'm just not good at this" as an excuse to not even try to improve. The only way anyone ever got better at anything is to work at it.