Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scott's Horse Has A Word About Grammar

This is Sharper Eagle, here. I have taken over the blog today because I need to vent about things. BTW, I hope you love the selfie I took. Grabbed Scott's phone when he wasn't looking. Anyway, I am off the point here.

I took over today to vent about the poorly written stories, queries and synopses you have been sending to Scott. My bet is you are punishing a lot of other editors and agents with this same stuff. No, this is not necessarily a complaint about the stories you have written. I am complaining about the grammar and the fundamentals of writing.

I am sure you have no problem telling people you are a writer, but I have to say, in far too many of these submissions, you are simply not proving it and it all comes down to the grammar. Look, just because the publishers out there have copy editors and line editors looking over you work, this does not give you permission to simply disregard the basic rules of grammar.

You do understand that Scott is an English major. You do understand that he still does teach the basics such as English 101. So, when you send him a project with mistakes such as:

  • Fragments
  • Run - on's
  • Comma Splices
  • Subject-Verb agreement issues
  • Misuses of basic punctuation such as semi-colons and commas are not making a good impression.

To add to this, the formatting is atrocious.

You should be submitting your queries in a business letter format. There are styles for both e-mail business letters and snail mail business letters. You need to follow those formats. This is what a professional writer would do.

I have heard Scott make the comment before that writers need to "Care enough to send the very best." I think he said something about Hallmark using that line. I don't know who, but it is right on the money. If you are not clear on those basic rules of grammar - the stuff you were learning starting in the 4th grade - then maybe this isn't the business for you. If you do want to be a professional writer, then maybe it is time to start taking some courses in grammar. Heck, my bet is Scott will teach a session for you. I'd even give him up for a weekend so he can come to your writing group and teach a full weekend of grammar. Just ask him.

Maybe you should consider this. If I can write this post today, without fingers and only my hoofs, and I am doing this remotely using the Wi-Fi from my stall and typing it all using the keyboard on his phone, then I am sure you can do just the same with just a few resources:

  • Read grammar books
  • Go back to school if you have to
  • Know how to really use your spell checker and grammar checker
  • Proofread things before you send those submissions out
Who knows? Maybe you might reduce the number of rejection letters you are getting.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have an itch that needs some serious scratching and some hay that needs eating.

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