I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’m grammatically challenged. I can blame it on a thousand things, but the truth is I’m a numbers person. At work no one can stand credit accounts because they can’t understand them. I on the other hand work backwards in my thinking because I’ve always loved zeroing out accounts that have a credit balance.
There are no acceptations to the rules when it comes to numbers. Patient accounts need to be zeroed. All the money dispersed to the correct line to close the account. Then all is right in the world.
Words on the other hand. Have rules like i before e except after c unless you’re talking about science. In fact I’m sure there are words I use that follow that rule, maybe receipt, but truthfully I always spell that word wrong and auto correct saves me. I do know I’m not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition but the phrase “Screw off, mister.” Isn’t as forceful as “Screw off!” Or you could replace screw with something that rhymes with truck and have the same effect.
As someone who won speech competitions growing up I thought I could write like I spoke. See above reference to prepositions. I figured I had the story there and an editor, agent or publisher would clean up my-words-no-good. Oops. Guess not.
After almost two years of ‘self-editing’ I finally bit the bullet and hired an editor. It was an interesting experience, but I got a deal with the first publishing house I sent the ‘edited’ book to so it had the desired effect. The editor I chose helped with verb tense and punctuation, since I seem to be afraid of commas. She hated clichés…obviously since earlier in this paragraph I put “bit the bullet” I didn’t listen too much.
Sadly she also took out my contractions. I spent about thirty hours putting them back in over the last few days. Fiction verses non-fiction writing I guess, which was her background (hey poor authors can’t afford to be choosy). There were other things I had to put back in or take out that I added after the initial editing.
Now I’m going through the rounds of editing with my publisher. Outside of the day of recontracting, I’ve learned to hate the word THAT. It seemed like such a small word. It never hurt anyone…but me. At least nine hours of my life were spent reviewing and removing the word. I may never be the same.
The positive thing I’ve found I agreed with almost every editing comment my publisher’s editor gave me. And between the two editors I’ve found tools to use moving forward. The more that my editors teach me the less they have to do. I guess it is like my job. If people in the front end do their job right, there is very little to do on the back end. It does make the book easier to read and I love that she’s going to help my book shine. So maybe I did get what I wanted in the beginning. Someone to help with my-words-no-good.