Thoughts from a grammar freak

1302224042209627I’ve earned something of a reputation as being a grammar freak in my writing group. This surprised me because I don’t feel I’m an expert on the subject, being I’ve had issues with grammar and spelling in the past.

So here are my thoughts on the subject of grammar with writing a book;

I feel as writers we need to learn and master the craft of writing. The craft (or art if you prefer) incorporates the weaving of words to paint pictures of characters and plot, to invoke emotion in the reader, and to somehow grasp the eloquence and beauty of the written word.

Misspellings and grammar mistakes only serve to illustrate a lack of caring for the words. This is my opinion, of course, but when I happen upon stories or any form of writing where I find glaring mistakes, I cringe. How can the writer who makes such mistakes say they are a writer if they don’t bother to edit their own work, or be mindful of the craft as they work the story?

The writing tip that says loud and clear to write without the editor to get the story out is fine- for the rough draft. National Novel Month in November teaches us to get those words out, ignore the concern for grammar and spelling and focus instead on the story and characters. You get the work done, and then you edit and fix the errors.

This is fine- providing you fix those errors. I happen to like being mindful of writing ALL THE TIME. It was a valuable goal I set for myself one year, where I would focus on such things, and what I find is that it improved my skill considerably.

I’m not saying writers need to be perfect. Mistakes are part of the process. Despite my efforts I still make mistakes, but I fix them when I see them. I want to earn the respect of readers as a ‘real writer’, showing off my writing skills.

On that note, I would like to add that writing is a complex, difficult process. Good writing isn’t good grammar- its characters, conflict, symbolism, eloquence, sentence structure, plot, tension, humor, and so many elements that good writing incorporates a few or even many altogether. You can be perfect in spelling and grammar and still suck as a writer, but I do find if you write a wonderful story, poor grammar/spelling weakens your work.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Should writers be mindful of spelling and grammar?

4 Replies to “Thoughts from a grammar freak”

  1. I agree with you that not being great at grammar doesn’t make you a bad writer. I try to be mindful of grammar and such as I write, but I don’t really get serious about it until the final drafts. I find that being too much into things like grammar and punctuation can stifle the creative spark of a story in the early stages. But if you learn the techniques of good grammar and punctuation before hand, then you’re less likely to make a mistake even in the first draft.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s