Non Grammar Divas, Unite!

Moonday Mania

today a blog on writing, tomorrow a blog on who knows what

I’m starting this blog with full disclosure. I am a romance writer. I write hot, sexy, paranormal romance with edge. Frequently about New Adults. What I’m not, is a grammar diva. I have trouble even spelling grammar. I have to think about it. Are there two a‘s or is there an e at the end. I did graph sentences in seventh grade, so I’m pretty good with telling whom the subject of a sentence is. And I’ve learned over the years how to use “whom” vs “who”, although I have to tell you I never ever used whom until I became a full fledged writer about six years ago. Who uses whom? Who cares?

flowers lynn kelley author

These flowers have nothing to do with grammar, mistakes, or who/whom. I just wanted to throw in some pictures and I love what Lynn Kelley posts on Flickr!

Writers care. And once you start hanging around with people who care, and who tell you they are looking at all those tiny things when they read, you start to care too.,

I got through school with good grades in English because here is the trick they never tell you. If you can muddle through, if you write correctly for the most part, if you speak well and act as if you understand, they put you into the higher level classes where they don’t do grammar.

That’s right. At the higher levels of schooling it’s all about writing and reading and understanding, but they won’t let you go there until they think you can do the grammar stuff. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be right a higher percentage of the time. So I did my time in seventh grade and learned how to diagram and passed the tests and moved on to classes where no one really worried about it as long as your papers were readable. And mine were readable because I read higher level writers.

From Sci-Fi to classics I read everything, so I naturally learned how to write like the people I read. And I absorbed correct grammar. For the most part.

That’s why I have an editor, a copy editor, and a line editor. They are the magic behind my writing, the people who wave their wands and make sure that what I have to say comes out in a cohesive fashion.

DISCLAIMER: I have no editor for my website or my blog. That’s you, dear reader. I make mistakes. Thankfully, some kind reader will point them out to me and I’m able to fix them. Whew!

Back to the blog:

I appreciate my back up team in endless ways. If they were at my house I would bring them donuts. They aren’t, so they don’t get any, but I THINK about giving them donuts. And considering how unhealthy a donut is I am sure they are thanking me for NOT giving them any crullers, long johns, or honey dipped glazed.

But sometimes, even with all their help. And all their knowledge. I don’t like what they do. What happens when the person who knows grammar does something to your manuscript that you, the author, hates? Do you have the right to speak up? Do you take the risk of offending these people who have done nothing but help you with your writing. After all, they are the smart ones. They passed grammar 101, 202, and 505. Classes I didn’t even have to take to become a writer. All I had to do was sit down and type. They’re the ones that know what’s right. Right?

Not necessarily.

Cana Lillies

Some rules are more flexible than others. Some have more than one right way to do them and it may not be your “voice” to do them the way your copy editor or editor wants you to. That’s why they send you the corrected copy for you to look over. It’s because they are not only imperfect and human too, but there are discretionary powers in being an author.

You have the right and the responsibility to make changes, to ask your editor for a second opinion, to consult grammar books until your fingers get calluses and you actually understand what a dangling participle is. In fact it is not just a right, it’s your job.

I got so excited about this topic that I have written a mini-novel about it, so this blog will be continued. Tune in next time to find out when it is permissible to argue with your editor, the wrong way and the right way to do so, and when you should just roll over and accept the inevitable. 

Meanwhile, leave your comments in the box, sign up for my new release only email blasts, and make sure your writing is clear, concise and donut worthy.


Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

5 responses to “Non Grammar Divas, Unite!

  1. Amen, Jessica, grammar is our job. Every job has its highs and grammar is my low. Administrators get to file, aestheticians get to wax sweaty armpits, dentists get to smell tooth decay, and I get to do battle with lay, lie, laid.

    I’ve recently mastered its/it’s and who’s/whose. A fellow writer helped me with the former, Shania Twain the latter. ‘Whose bed have your boot’s been under? Out with it, who’s she?’ (I know, who is she sounds better, cadence, as the great Margie Lawson would say, but that makes me think about the who-‘-s which is the contraction of who is. Yes, my mind is a scary place.)

    Understanding the difference doesn’t keep me from singing the song wrong every time. Whose boots have your bed been under….

    I digress. Good post, great observation.

    • Love it! I’ll be singing along next time I’m wrestling with whose/who’s. Too funny! And as for not so pleasant jobs, I’ll stick with dealing with lay and lie instead of someone else’s sweaty armpits. No thank you!

  2. Love your grammar digression, Jessica! Of course, I was that nerdie girl who got the parsing perfect, the its bits beautiful, and, Sherry, I can lie, lay, and laid with the best of ’em. My personal feeling is that our brains are different for one thing. Don’t ask me to memorize Geometry propositions. My long-suffering Geometry teacher back in the dark ages when we were supposed to memorize that stuff can attest to my ineptitude. But words? I love ’em. And I love to use them correctly and I actually understand the grammar stuff. My brain eats it up, as you know.
    So I say vive la difference! We need both kinds of people. Aren’t you glad we’re not all the same?
    We just have to learn to adapt using the brain we have. Looks to me like you have done that pretty well, you published author, you!

    • I have to say I think it goes to getting someone else to do those jobs for which (witch) we are unfit for. I’ll come measure your lines when you decide to build a table and you can correct my grammar whenever you so desire. So glad I have buddies who will let me know if I mess up too badly on the blog!

  3. Pingback: Non Grammar Divas Unite! (part deux) | JessicaAspenWrites

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