Thursday, June 25, 2009

Learn the Basics

“...good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style)...” -- Stephen King in On Writing.
When I began writing seriously, I spent some of my writing time learning about grammar and style elements. If I wasn’t sure how a sentence should be punctuated, I looked it up. For suggestions on how to write dialog, I consulted the books of some of my favorite authors. Increasing my vocabulary took nothing more than a healthy curiosity.

Now I feel cursed. When I receive a submission, or critique a short story or novel chapter, misplaced/missing commas, run-on sentences, and spelling errors jump off the page and spoil the tale. I delete stories submitted for critique that begin “I’m not good at grammar. Any help is appreciated.” If the author knows he’s no good at it, why doesn’t he take the responsibility to fix the problem? These authors don’t realize how much competition there is for publishing spots and how poor writing technique lessens their chances of having a work accepted.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Thank you for the advice.