1. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    How Many Want To Write To Be Published?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gloria Sythe, Sep 29, 2014.

    I know this is a broad ranging, if not a personally touchy subject with some; however, whenever I scan through the posts on this Creative Writing forum, I often wonder if some of the posters are actually serious about having their work published.

    If some of these posters ever sent their posts to an editor, the editor would look at the first sentence, scratch a huge red X on the entire post and send it back with a note telling him/her to find another career.

    Writing for publication is so fiercely competitive one has to wonder how serious some of the posters are about writing for publication; as they so often indicate. It could be that some of the posters do not realize how bad their written grammar actually is.

    I will admit openly that my grammatical skills need a lot of work; however, I really do try to learn how to use a higher level of grammatical skills before posting or submitting any work for the public to read. This even goes for writing a letter to the editor in our local news paper.

    Okay, now I am ready to eaten for lunch by a dozen or so posters .
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you say "submitting any work for the public to read" are you including this forum?

    I do think that posters here should make their posts as correct as they know how, rather than just typing pellmell and posting without fixing errors. But I don't think that it would make sense for people to have to improve their writing skills before posting to a forum that exists for the purpose of improving one's writing skills.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm writing to be published.

    Do you mean their comments or their work? Because posting comments is hardly a sign of a great writer as far as I'm concerned. Forums are little more than conversation. It's informative, but no black tie, it's casual.

    Grammar isn't so much an issue ( in my head ) as style. ( I'm not advocating throw it out - mind you ) But if you have no style only perfect grammar what's the point? If you have style but you're grammar isn't perfect whose to know or care? As far as the reader is concerned it could be intentional.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't agree; you need 'em both. Errors throw me completely out of the story.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't know. I've been reading The Glamour of Grammar and he put two paragraphs from two award winning novels. Both paragraphs ( if you didn't know who wrote them ) would've been called on for their run-on sentences and fragments. But to clean them up would've lost some of the style. I'm not saying throw out grammar but sometimes I think being militant about it can deaden style.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't say that run-on sentences and fragment are errors; I'd say that they're nonstandard, which I treat as a different category.

    What do I mean by errors? I hesitate to look snarkish, but your post had an ideal pair of examples:

    If you have style but you're grammar isn't perfect whose to know or care?

    I read that as

    If you have style but you are grammar isn't perfect whose to know or care?

    My brain asks, "You are grammar? How can someone be grammar?" It only asks it for a fraction of a second, and then it corrects to, "Oh, she means YOUR. OK, read the sentence again."

    And then, "Whose? What...Oh, she means who's. OK, read it again again. OK, now I know what she meant in the sentence, but I've lost track of what she was saying. I'll read the whole paragraph again. OK, got it. Moving in..."

    So I can figure out what you mean, but reading is in large part about flow, and those issues disrupt the flow If there are one or two of those per paragraph, or even one or two per page, the reading of the book is a constant stop/start/stop/start, and soon I'm going to give up, because it's no fun.
     
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  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    You're/ your.
    Lol. Typical that I look goofy, trying to say grammar isn't that important and then get one of those ( for me ) tricky words. :rolleyes:
    Back to my grammar books and my list of confusable words.
     
  8. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    I definitely do not mean posting bad grammar in this forum , or any open forum discussion. This is where -the want to be- or -the never to be- writers can get an honest evaluation of their writing. Being that this is a forum for those who are interested in writing, shouldn't their mind set to be to put their best foot forward?


    When I pick up a book to read, if the first few pages show bad grammar, it spoils the entire story line for me. I find I am constantly on the look out for other grammatically bad sentence structure or word use.


    Anything that interrupts or stops the flow of a story is a huge negative when trying to captivate the reader’s attention. I read somewhere within this forum that a good author creates a moving picture in the reader’s mind and anything that stops that movie can be or should be considered a flaw in the author’s work.
     
  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no need to compete in that game because I simply write in order to present something to the public. I try to present it well because that which I present to the public deserves a good presentation.
     
  10. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I'm glad someone else brought it up but you know what? it bugs the hell out of me too.

    Saying that, no-one's perfect (least of all me) and at the end of the day, this is, as someone said, a place for informal chats about writing, it's not a group of elitist people who won't accept anyone who happens to confuse their whose/who's, you're/yours and their/there's.

    As conversations go, you don't repeat them in your head, editing for grammar and syntax before opening your mouth and speaking so why, on a conversation forum, would you want to super-edit your posts?
     
  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do so because a forum is a permanent record available to the public. It is part of the web, and the web deserves to be taken seriously. The audience is more than the people posting; it includes people three years from now who happen upon the thread in a Google search.
     
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree.

    This is why I hate it when a very good friend of mine (who is absolutely fabulous with Facebook) decides to post on my behalf on my book page. She has some great ideas for posts but grammar and spelling are non-existent which makes me look like a dick until I can log on and edit the post.

    I've now got her into the habit of sending me the post via private message so that I can edit it before it goes "live".
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Ideally, every post should have correct spelling, etc. But there are two things to consider. First, this is just a forum, so not many people care if their posts are stylistically beautiful or whatever. Some posts have awkward phrasing and unconventional grammar, but it doesn't bug me that much. Second, some of our members didn't grow up speaking English. They're still learning the language and make mistakes as a result.

    That being said, if you're submitting to an editor/agent/publisher, you should absolutely make sure your work is polished. I just don't think this criterion should be rigorously applied to forum posts.
     
  14. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good observation that is important but easy to overlook. Interestingly, though, it often seems to me that the experienced ESL people actually write better English than those whose heritage language is English.
     
  15. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gloria, I believe you are immersed in a damaging relationship with the semi-colon. However we should not be too snobby with each other hereabouts. For I too, for many years, I, indeed, placed a comma, after every breath, that I took, in fact I often, give myself a headache, with these, most necessary commas, until I remove, them all, in draft number, thirty.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  16. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I get what the OP is saying and agree to an extent. That said, I don't just use this forum for it's social aspects, I come here to learn also ... especially through mistakes. My posts are far from error-free but I'm not one to nitpick on others unless it's for a critique. When it comes to forums and conversing, my typing usually gets ahead of my brain so grammatical mix-ups and typos are bound to happen. I'll do a quick skim before hitting that post button but that's it and I generally extend that forgiveness to others. I'm more aggressive with my corrections with posts on Twitter or Facebook that reach an audience with my real name, but here, where the environment (IMO) is more relaxed and casual, I (perhaps mistakenly) assume that free pass is reciprocated and that there is a mutual understanding of "hey, it happens."

    The only time I raise an eyebrow is if a poster is continually making the same error, leading me to believe they don't actually know the proper spelling/rule/etc. Even then, this is a learning environment and I see that as an opportunity to help, not criticize.
     
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  17. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It drives me batty to go on any writing forum and read posts that obviously haven't been looked at before posting. We are writers, at whatever stage of the game. Why on earth would we not practice our craft every time we set words to 'paper'? I edit e-mails to family and friends, for heaven's sake!
     
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  18. Michaelson345
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    Michaelson345 Member

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    I write only because I feel like writing, it is not my occupation. But if I write something good, then I don't have any problem in publishing my story. I never write intensely to be published.
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    After going through my grammar books I think I'm confusing stylistic choices for pure grammar rules. So I'm all for grammar but I'm for flexibility on style which sometimes - especially on some other sites I'm on - get confused with grammar issues. Rules vs 'rules'.
     
  20. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Agree, agree, agree. I don't care if you're writing the Great American Novel, a forum post or a grocery list. It's all practice, and we are what we repeatedly do.
     
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  21. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think grammar is present for functionality. If I am being functional but not grammatical, then I don't much care. In writing some thing (novel, short story, what-have-you), I feel it is different, as immersion and a different meter is applied. The placement of a comma, either here or there, in my partially informal communication is as asking whether the Sun rotates about the Earth or the other way. To borrow another's words; it is profoundly indifferent to the way I experience reality.

    I am not saying that gross errors are meaningless; but instead, that slights against ideal English (whatever that means) are generally only significant to the point of suggesting they ought be significant.

    ETA: There is a different story when speaking about those who are entirely ignorant of their mistakes. If one wishes to pursue this idea of writerly craft, it would be in one's best interests to understand when one is making the grammatically false.
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think there is a lot of difference between careless typos and the kinds of grammatical mistakes I think @Gloria Sythe, the OP, was referring to. Sometimes when I'm posting on the forum I construct awkward sentences, mistype a word, or forget that I used a singular pronoun at the start of a sentence, then shifted to a plural one at the end. However, a quick-read through will uncover these mistakes and I can correct them. Forum postings, because they're conversational in tone and often put up in haste, can contain mistakes like this. I don't get too bothered when I see one (unless it's mine!)—as long as the posting isn't rife with them.

    BUT ...if the writer doesn't understand these things ARE mistakes, they have a problem.

    I'm in total agreement with the people on this thread who said that grammatical (and spelling) errors drag them right out of a story. These errors should not appear in anything you plan to submit to an agent, so it's a good idea to get into the habit of correcting them before you post something on the forum for critique. Any writer who truly doesn't care (or doesn't understand) about these kinds of mistakes is going to struggle to get published by conventional means. Grammar and spelling are basic tools of the writer. The writer needs to use them well. There isn't any shortcut, really.
     
  23. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The best way to deal with bad grammar (or bad writing for that matter) in the workshop is to deal with it critique by critique. It's the only way people are going to see it. When it's our own work being scrutinized, we become bats.
     
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  24. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    In some ways I agree with all the posters in this thread. I am bothered by the OPs: "Okay, now I am ready to eaten for lunch by a dozen or so posters", closing line. It is something that a little tip from Peachalulu gave me that helps avoid that type of error, simply read your words aloud, of course it helps to have some time between when you write it and when you read it back, but posting in a forum doesn't allow that in general. I have typo issues and more importantly grammatical problems such as when to put a comma inside or outside a quote e.g. One of my first queries on this forum was if there is software to help with grammar when writing and the general reply was not really. That was very disappointing to learn.

    Chickenfreaks post: "OK, got it. Moving in...", throws me off track, I am pretty certain he meant 'on' but maybe I am unfamiliar with his usage of that common saying. Generally his posts are very accurate, so I am thinking maybe there is a usage I am unfamiliar with. For me this forum is a tremendous wealth of knowledge so I usually read the posts carefully and think I understand the OPs concern.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, you were right--I meant "moving on." Typo. :)
     

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