Food for thought. There have been, and will continue to be, numerous discussions/arguments about topics such as using italics for thoughts/flashbacks/telepathic conversations, the oxford comma, the semi-colon and when not to use it, the capitalization of Mom/mom and Dad/dad, how effective are ellipses', should we use en-dashes or em-dashes. When do we start a new chapter ... and that ever challenging question, what constitutes good writing? until the end of time. BUT, for all the time we spend here discussing the above (and more), has anyone ever given a thought to what the readers themselves actually want? And I'm not talking about us lot, published, SP'd or hobby authors. I'm talking about readers. From the readers who dip in and out of a book maybe once a month to the one's who would devour any novel in a week. The ones who have nothing to do with authors and who - to a certain extent - don't even have an inkling what it's like to sweat and cry over a laptop/pen/typewriter and pour out your soul. So, has anyone ever asked if the odd dangling participle bothers the general reader? Have they ever been stumped by an author's decision to use italics? Does an abundance of prose put them off the story? Can too much dialogue confuse them or do they actually 'get it', 'it', being whatever it is we are trying to get across. Do they research diligently every little thing we write to try and catch us out on the controls of a helicopter? Do they look up facts and figures based on the probability of a shoot-out between our bad characters, armed with machine guns versus three good police officers armed with Walther PPK's? Do they even question whether or not our police officers should have Walther PPK'S? Maybe, from time to time, we should go find a pure reader, a reader who has no knowledge of what it's like to be an author, and ask them. I know some of you will think this is just an excuse for authors who "write badly", but my guess, is that if you did talk to a pure reader, you would be totally surprised by their answers!