Yesterday's post contained a list of things writers need to pay attention to to get the most appealing story they can for their readers. Today, let's zero in on just one point in that list. I stated:
Proper mechanics of writing--people notice when it's poor
I have seen many writers, especially those relatively new to the field, who have great story-telling abilities but they seem to have either forgotten or never learned the basics of writing. Remember those--the boring stuff? Oh yeah, lots of you thought English grammar, punctuation and word usage was the most boring subject in the world. Well, perhaps it is for a good many people but it's also very important. Doing it right makes you a polished writer.
I must admit that I sometimes cringe when I read posts on facebook that are filled with bad grammar, abuse of tenses, miserable punctuation and more. I know what you're thinking--What does it matter? It's just someone making a comment on a post or posting their own news. Well people--I happen to think it does matter. If a child reads a book filled with poor mechanics of writing--and yes they are out there, they sometimes do get published--they will take it for granted that everything is just as it should be.
How often did your parents or teachers urge you to set an example for others with your behavior? It's the same with the mechanics of writing. Set an example for others.
Notice that the books pictured here are for grammar school kids. Yep, that's where we all first learned these building blocks of writing but a lot of people seem to forget all that once they grow up.
So, what do you do if you need to brush up on your mechanics? You can't slip into a sixth grade classroom and soak up what the classroom teacher says. This time, you're on your own. There are books and online sites that can help. Use your favorite search engine to find. Purchase a book that you can refer to when you're not sure about a grammar question. Most of these books and online sites have exercises to re-enforce the lesson. Do them! Do them every time. We learn as children through repetition. Guess what? We learn through repetition as adults, too.
Don't overlook the helps you have whenever you write a story, article or poem on your computer. They're sitting at the top waiting for you to make use of them. They aren't going to jump out and grab you. It's up to you to learn how to use them and then do it on a regular basis. On every post I write, I use spellcheck. I find typos more often than actual misspelled words but I sure am glad I find and correct before publishing the post.
I've heard people claim that they never really learned all that 'stuff' in school. If not, that's too bad, but you can still learn now or brush up on what you absorbed all those years ago.
Review the mechanics of writing. Pay attention to spelling, punctuation, tenses, and word usage. Work on being a polished writer if you want your work to shine when you send it to an editor.