Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lies They Tell Writers, Part 8: Don’t Worry About Grammar and Spelling.



On more than a few occasions, I have heard people say before an audience of aspiring, and even accomplished, writers, “Don’t worry about grammar and spelling. The editors will fix that. Just tell your story. Get it out there.”
It could be that will work with some editors, sometimes. But I am more in keeping with Baxter Black’s view that an editor’s job is to keep you from getting published. And, to further that notion, the first thing editors look for when they pick up a manuscript is a reason to toss it in the trash and get on to the next submission.
It’s not that editors are mean. But they are busy and overworked and haven’t the time to wade through a lot of amateurish writing—whether it be poor spelling, bad grammar, awkward syntax, a lousy plot, awful characters, dumb dialogue, or whatever.
They haven’t the time to waste.
But writers do. And, in our case, that time isn’t wasted. We ought to be concerned enough about our work that we want to get it right. And getting the little things right is often an indication that the big things will fall into place as well. Not always. But often enough to make it worth the effort.
Sew, sea that you’re spelling and stuff is rite wen your righting.


8 comments:

  1. Speaking as an editor, thank you. :) We don't have a lot of time to spend fixing things that never should have been sent to us in that condition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tristi. Being an editor is difficult enough without lazy writers making it worse.

      Delete
  2. Writing is an endeavor that deserves our best effort. If you're too lazy to give it your best, don't burden others with the result. I was taught to cleanup my own messes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How right you are, Wallace. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. If writers don't need to worry about producing a clean manuscript, why spend all that time doing those rewrites? Call me silly, but I think a clean manuscript counts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for this advice, Rod. My words seem to fall on the deaf ears of those who don't edit enough. Did Don Quixote ever get tired of jousting with windmills?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Dale. I guess as long as there are windmills someone will have to keep tilting at them.

      Delete