I’ve now been posting these “writing glitch” things for four weeks. If you’ve been reading those posts, do they help explain/clarify anything for you? Do they even make sense?
I think I need the practice explaining this stuff to other people. I know how it works, but I sometimes don’t have the jargon, and regular people — even writers — don’t usually care about the jargon anyway, just how grammar and punctuation and all actually function. (I agree. Knowing how to use an -ing verb as a noun is a lot more important than knowing that it’s called a gerund.)
I have a large collection of “writing glitches” (thanks to Pinterest, mostly), and I can continue posting one each day for… at least a year, I think. My question for you, O readers of my blog, is whether or not I should keep posting them. Do you find them helpful? Entertaining, at least? Or would you rather I dropped the whole thing and got back to important topics such as my personal outrage at idjits who didn’t pay attention to what was actually said in that study supposedly proving that “grammar nerds have no friends”?
Maybe you’re wondering, What’s the point of these exercises for YOU, Weaver? Well, let me tell you…
As I said, I do need some practice explaining this stuff to other people. Also, I would like to think I’m doing a little bit to, y’know, help a few writers get better at what they do. I was a reader long before I took up the Red Pen of Doom (DOOM, I tell you!), and like most readers (or at least all the cool ones), I prefer that the things I read not be riddled with blatant errors. Go figure.
And then there’s the part that’s even more selfish, I guess: I want to show writers (and readers) what’s involved in correcting even the “simple” stuff such as punctuation and grammar and spelling in a manuscript. Look at theses “glitches” and imagine making those sorts of corrections on a 100K-word manuscript. Suddenly it doesn’t look quite as easy, does it? Suddenly it may even look like the sort of thing that the person doing it ought to be paid more than minimum wage for… (That isn’t me being mercenary. I hate seeing other editors asking for only fifty dollars or so for editing a novel-length manuscript, as if their skills and time just weren’t worth much. If you’re a fellow freelance editor, please don’t listen to anyone who tells you that what you do isn’t necessary or useful or whatever. Sure, it isn’t necessary the way growing food is necessary — the human body will survive without books to read — but stories are important, and that means creating stories is important, and that means it’s kinda important to make sure the written stories are written well enough that the readers can reap the full benefit from reading them. And the truth is, even writers who are themselves very good at the mechanics of writing need a second set of eyes to look over what they’ve written, in case they miss anything. Anyone who tells you editing is useless is either too stupid for words — almost literally — or they’re trying to shame you into charging less for your services because they want your valuable skills for nothing. Sorry — it was my intention not to go off on a tirade in this post… I know it isn’t exactly easy to resist the pressure to give away what we ought to be getting paid well for, but at least think about it, okay? Value your skills in your own head, even if you can’t do anything about how other people see you.)