Discovering a Story Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘grammar’

Authors Show Poor Educational Background

apple-256263__180I do quite a bit of editing for other authors. These authors write every genre. But I’m also finding that most have very poor educational backgrounds. They don’t know the basics of the English grammar.

Too often, I look at a piece I’m editing and shake my head. What was this author thinking? What they wrote is nearly gibberish. A second grader writes better English. Yes, these are the authors of our day. Again, shake my head.

Who writes and doesn’t know that you put a comma after, or before depending on location, a name when used as an address in dialogue? Most authors don’t. I had one argue with me. She said that she had never heard of doing that before. Not even in school? Nope. How about in the books you read? Well, she reads only those written by people with as little education as her. Again, shake my head.

Another author kept mixing past and present tense. As I tried to correct them, the author protested. Said I was messing with her voice. I pointed out the basic grammar rule. She called me a liar because she never heard that in school.

I was in a group and noticed a post by a fellow author. It was two examples of formatting. He asked which one was right. One was clearly wrong as it broke most rules. Some paragraphs were indented and some were not. Dialogue had it’s narrative that was to be with it in a separate paragraph, including the dialogue tags. One author pointed out how that one was the correct one. When we pointed out the issues, she said that dialogue is not supposed to be in the same paragraph as what the characters say. What? I reminded her that dialogue is what the characters say. She began screaming at me (virtually) and said I was wrong. Her publisher had told her that what characters say should always be in paragraphs by themselves. Then I was told off and reported for attacking her. Yep, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

One author continually wrote either sentence fragments or run on sentence. I pointed them out. She said what are those, she had never heard of them. I explained. Then she said, “How do I fix them?” Really? And you’re a writer? I don’t think so.

If you don’t know the basic grammar rules, please don’t try to write a book. Learn them. Learn how to use them in your writing. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but then don’t argue with anyone what what is obvious you know nothing about.

Quotation Marks for Dialogue

letters-1122421__180You normally see quotation marks when used in dialogue. They are the standard punctuation used in that scenario. Though most of us recognize that and accept it, let’s review it so we are all on the same page.

What is Dialogue?

Dialogue is the spoken exchange between characters as written on paper. It is the actual words exchanged. It is not the actions or descriptions. It is all talk.

If you were watching a movie, the dialogue would be the words that come out of the actors’ mouths. Now on that screen, you can see the lips moving and hear the words. On written paper, you need those quotation marks to do that job for you. They help you ‘hear’ the words.

Double or Single?

When it comes to dialogue, always use double quotation marks (“) before the speaking part begins and when it ends. Single should only be used if you are quoting something within dialogue so you don’t have too many double quotation marks to confuse the reader as to what is being spoken. Remember that all punctuation is directional signals for reading traffic.

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