I
mentioned recently, that I’ve been pondering why some writers couldn’t care
less about the ins and outs of grammar and punctuation. In fact, some authors
tend to view grammar and punctuation as a rudimentary part of the art of
storytelling.
I
disagree.
When an
artist learns to paint, there are details he must study. I’m not an artist, but
light and shadow seem important. Also, a painter must have knowledge of the
primary colors and which colors to blend for a different shade. What about
perspective? An artist must decide what is best to bring into the painting.
Only then can he bring his vision to life on the canvas.
Likewise,
a musician who does not start with the fundamentals will never be able to truly
capture the music and make it his own.
Grammar
and punctuation are similar to light and shadow for the artist and scales and
chords to the musician. They are the basis for the art of storytelling. Knowing
the far from rudimentary portion of storytelling is the first step toward
mastery.
From an
editor’s standpoint, an author who presents a knowledge of grammar and
punctuation is an author who cares about his craft. He gets an edge up over the
competition.
Editors
will also be more understanding when an author breaks the rules of grammar and
punctuation if the author first shows a clear understanding of the rule. After
all, to break a rule effectively, one must truly understand it.
Authors
who don’t under the rules are often misled. For example, there are authors who
take out ever that in their manuscript.
Why? Because they were told it’s a weasel word. However, some sentences require
that for clarity of the sentence.
This and similar misunderstandings are a sign to an editor that the author isn’t
serious about the basics of his craft. How does it expose the writer? He didn’t
care enough to learn the rule himself. He simply mimicked the misunderstanding
of another.
In my
pondering on this subject, I reached a conclusion: an author who does not study
the basics of his craft must believe that he is a pupil in a lesser art.
Happy
editing.

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