Here I sit, wanting to write, but nothing coming to mind. I opened up my writing software and thought to myself, “I can totally do this. Let’s get just half an hour of writing in.” And then I just sat there blankly staring at the screen. So I decided to do what you are supposed to never do and maybe make a few edits. I figured it might spark something. But no, all it did was show me that I’m not using as many commas as I probably should be. Which led me to think about needing an editor at some point to fix all my grammatical errors, which made me think about how I recently had downloaded Grammarly, which led me to here…writing this blog. I figured if I’m not going to write anything useful, I might as well rant about it on my blog. You guys don’t mind, right?
I sometimes think that I overuse commas. And I know for a fact I use them incorrectly, probably a lot. I don’t judge anyone on how they type online, whether it be on their blog or their social media…okay that’s not entirely true. But I don’t put much judgment in having perfect grammatical accuracy in such things. Although maybe I should.
Are some going to read my blog and judge my ability to be a great writer based on the fact that I don’t always punctuate the way I should, I may misspell words, and I definitely use the ellipsis too much. I guess I just hope that when people are reading my blog they are more into the content and also realize that this is basically just like the first draft of a novel, therefore in the great words of Hemingway, is shit.
I also know that I don’t always know if I should use a double or single quotation mark. And that when I’m using a quote at the end of a sentence sometime’s I don’t put the punctuation in the correct spot. I overuse exclamation points (but only in my personal writing, never in my book). I tend to be a very expressive person and the only way I can express my expressiveness is by excessively using exclamations!
I will overlook these errors in the day to day usage. I will never correct a friend’s status because of a simple punctuation error. I don’t think I’d have many friends if I did this. That being said, I will judge you hardcore if you say something like… “I seen that the other day.” Holy crap…even just typing it I got angry. It’s equally annoying when I see someone using the wrong form of to, too, and two. Or confusing their, there, and they’re. I’ll give a pass on who and whom, maybe because even I get confused on when I should use whom so as a general rule, I just don’t. I do wish I wasn’t so easily irritated by it because I will admit that I even correct my teenager sometimes in text messages. I can feel her rolling her eyes at me through the phones without her even having to send me the passive aggressive “annoyed emoji”.
I was reading a forum post the other day about how, when you are in character development, you should remember that your characters are unique people. So when it comes to how they speak, you should remember to switch up dialogue, tone, wording…etc. (i.e. very very few people speak perfect proper English, or whatever language you are writing in) This is great advice really. It would come across as much too dry if everyone spoke so precise. But this also does not give you permission to be lazy in your writing. Quite the opposite in fact. Use this as a way of getting more creative in your dialogue.
For example, one of my of character’s has a nervous stutter. At first, it was pretty easy to just write about the fact that she had a stutter but when actually writing her dialogue she was coming across calm and collected. You couldn’t really get a feel for her nervousness at all. So I added the stutter into her dialogue. Another easy example is showing someone’s class through their dialogue. You can tell a lot by someone’s education by listening to how they talk. If you had a teacher who started off class by saying, “I seen yesterday that we’re gonna need to be taking a test today…” I’m sure you would quickly question their credentials. So when it comes to my story I had to really take a look at how the nobles speak as opposed to the commoners. And actually even further how the peasants speak and how my magical creatures and people will speak as well. I can’t have my Queen sounding uneducated and I don’t want my magical characters to speak too “humanly.”
It will be neat to see how I can use this further in my writing. One of my main characters, a “magic creature” of sorts will be associating with mortals more than she ever has in her life. So I will be able to show a transition of her speech from her normal dialect to sounding more mortal. She might be able to go from sounding a little stiffer and almost proper, to being more laid back. I am excited to see how she will transition in her new surroundings. But I suppose that will take actually working on my novel…
So here I am, avoiding real work by once again rambling about something silly which actually ended up tying into my work. It’s funny how that keeps happening. I guess I will stop procrastinating now and actually spend some time working on Aria tonight. I’ll put the kids to bed and really dive in. Even if I just set the timer for 30 minutes, it’s a start.
One final thought though before I go… As frustrated as our editors can make us, be sure to thank them for all their hard work. Because of them, our stories go from good to great.