Should grammar rules bother authors?

Don’t let grammar hamper your writing

by Jennifer Frost

He said he wanted to stay on bed, err, in bed, uhm, at the bed?
What is the right preposition for this sentence?
You pressed the backspace button 11 times already.
And your protagonist, who has a critical mission tomorrow, couldn’t sleep yet.

When you are writing a book, grammar rules are nightmares. They haunt your commas, your italics and quotation marks, and even the spaces between words. There are two faces of grammatical errors among writers, especially fiction authors: one is when a mistake is made out of ignorance and the other is when a “mistake” is deliberately committed to achieve stylistic objectives.

The second one can be forgiven, especially if readers can easily identify the context or reason. The first one, however, is tricky.

What happens when you think of being grammatically perfect all the time as an author?

  1. Fear of starting – How can you begin when there are voices in your head discouraging you to write because you are not good with grammar?
  2. Low productivity – How can you continue writing a dialogue when you can’t figure out if the period comes before or after the quotation mark?
  3. Creativity blocks – How can you focus on developing your characters and keeping your scenes interesting when grammar ghosts won’t leave you?

On the other hand, what happens when you intentionally disregard grammar? Your ultimate worry—that people would say you are unprofessional and not good enough—might hit you hard.

  1. Your potential publisher might get the impression that you lack discipline and attention to details.
  2. The reading experience of your readers might get interrupted because of errors.
  3. The result of all this is not just about sales but your wonderful stories in the future won’t be read.

It can be frustrating.

But like in any story that you write, there is a resolution. And you, the protagonist of your own story, should take action and not get stuck on a corner.

What can you do?

  1. First, realize that grammar is not necessarily an enemy; it’s something to befriend. And friendships require efforts and attention. Grammar helps us to communicate our thoughts with less misunderstanding. What always matters is the message, but if we can’t deliver it properly, it might go to waste.
  2. Know the basics. Understand the ones you always use to connect your ideas and materials. A singular subject requires a singular verb. Use the preposition “at” to refer to a certain point or location, use “on” to denote the surface of something, and “in” is used to indicate a place, location or an enclosed space. When you’ve mastered the basics, you would be more confident to explore and experiment with your writing.
  3. Be judicious. For example, you typically hear that one should always use the active voice. But sometimes, using the passive voice can intensify an action, smoothen rhythm, or give the necessary attention to the receiver of the action because it matters to the next few scenes. So no matter how many grammar rules there are, the only thing that would always matter at the end is the relationship between your writing and your audience.
  4. Consult with editors. Do you know why you didn’t become a neurologist, a painter, or a web developer? It’s because we have different roles, skills, and interests. Sometimes, you have to let experts like editors do their work and help you give readers a more pleasurable reading experience.

When you’re an author, having a wild imagination is not the job. Communicating it to your readers is your job. If grammar is bothering you, and the fear of committing a mistake is the only thing that separates you from your dream of getting your book published, then take action, anything: learn one difficult rule a day, ask for the help of an expert, or attend writing seminars.

It may not happen overnight but at least you can sleep in your bed tonight knowing that you’ve done your best for your craft all day.

Grammarist Jennifer Frost

Grammarist Jennifer Frost

Jennifer Frost is a blogger, writer, mother, wife, and English teacher located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She’s an open-minded person who loves to travel, explore new places and foreign cultures, and learn new languages. You can read more of her work at englishgrammar.org.

20 Ways to Double Your Writing Productivity (Infographic)

Good Advice for any Writer

of grammarcheck.net

20 Ways to Double Your Writing Productivity from Best-Selling Authors (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

6 Reasons to Write an eBook for Your Business

Tell the world you are an expert


write book

Republished with permission from the author, Eileen Batson

By Eileen Batson, owner and founder of Batson Group Marketing and Public Relations

While there are a variety of reasons to write an eBook, here are six that are proven winners.

  1. It can establish you as an expert By sharing your knowledge you can help others while building your reputation as the ‘go to person’ in your particular niche.
  2. Write it once and it is there forever. You may need to update it from time to time but that’s not a difficult task.
  3. eReaders provide a movable feast for knowledge and entertainment and the demand is growing. By 2025, e-readers are projected to make up approximately 75 percent of the total market.
  4. An eBook is to your email list as plant food is to, well, plants. Make your eBook available to download for sale or as a freebie from your website – to get people to sign up for your newsletter. The buyer needs to enter their name and email address to download it or use it as bait (as a freebie) to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Either way you have a valuable new contact on your atabase who may go on to buy your product or service.
  5. Increase traffic to your website By promoting your eBook across social media platforms you will drive traffic to your website or blog. Seed your eBook with a call to action. Include your web address and special offers that direct readers to your site where they may buy more from you.
  6. Exposure is a good thing. The more you are seen around the internet the easier it is for you to be seen as an authority – exposure breeds credibility and being able to say you are an author takes you to the next level.
Batson avatar 100 (1)

Eileen Batson

EILEEN BATSON has been a publicist and owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 25+ years.

She offers consultation and implementation services for business owners, authors and artists to help them be well known, well thought of and well-remembered.

For more information contact Eileen at Eileen@BGMPR.com or visit her website at www.BGMPR.com

Writing may make you healthier

First published in Arts.mic

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write

Hands on computer

Rachel Grate's avatar image By Rachel Grate

The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vocabulary.

No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.

> Read the rest

Writing advice from the Master of Horror

10 Writing Tips from
Stephen King

By Yelena Melnichenko
Originally published by Mental Floss

This tip is my favorite because if you wait for your “muse” your whole life will pass before you.

Stephen King

The Master of Horror – Stephen King

“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.” – Stephen King

Get the other 9 tips here>