Once upon a time, there was an aspiring author. She knew words were important, and that writing them down for others to read was where her eternal life spirit was leading her. Unfortunately, this would-be knight of the written page had a few debilitating shortfalls.
First, her sword, Spelling, had nicks and dings all along its edges. Two, to, too? Who cared? Sword corrected this apathy by stabbing her in the side each time someone misspelled her name. Liesa, Lisa, Liza. Who cared? She did!
Then those servants, Books, tended to be used to press flowers and other important chores, so who had time to actually read them? This, of course, led to several missteps in the land of Vocabulary. She got caught in the swamp of Pacifically, when she Specifically wanted to go to the castle for a nice warm dish of “stuff.”
At last, our heroine was faced with the deadly Grammar Monster (at the time appropriately misspelled “Grammer Monster” for the children’s book the aspiring author was composing).
Liesa knew that the key to letting her out of the dungeon of unpublished and unpublishable works was to learn her craft, build her arsenal of skills and stick to it through wind and storm, uphill battles and downward spirals, kids, spouse, work and life.
So she put her childhood dreams away and began working on plans to improve those skills. Thank goodness the personal computer with word processing came into being! Suddenly, misspellings were (if none too gently) pointed out with bright red underlines. Books like Jaws, Gone With The Wind and Harry Potter grabbed and held her attention so that the words within flew past her hungry eyes.
Eventually, as children left and jobs dwindled, our knight of the written word found herself with the time to return to her dream. Words flowed more easily, and stories emerged that the other knights of the round table known as “Critique Group” found promising.
But grammar and punctuation still lurk in the shadows of our heroine’s world. Where exactly does one put that silly little worm, the comma? How does one avoid passive voice in writing a story? What sort of copy “sells”?
I hope to add some stories of my fascinating journeys into conscious grammar and punctuation in the upcoming months and hope you’ll be there with me. We have all sorts of keys on the keyboard that are seldom used, and probably for good reason, but be ready to explore. We have punctuation marks that are over used and under applied appropriately. We have phrases, clauses and other bits of writing that call out for our editing attention.
Will you come on this journey with me? Perhaps you too are on a quest for better writing. Published authors and hobbyists alike need to slay their own version of the Great Grammar Monster as we travel the road to writing success.
Please let me know what you think. What are your favorite grammar rules? Which do you like to break? What are your pet peeves? Let’s start a lively conversation and see if we can build a kingdom of well-written verbiage. But watch out — The Great Grammar Monster is out to get you!