Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

On Spelling and Grammar…

Yesterdays wordcount: 0.   I’m off to a flying start!  Good thing it’s early in the day, I have time to make up for it.

Ok, so something that’s been bothering me lately is spelling and grammar.  Now, I know I’m no expert.  I admit freely that I make a mistake or two here and there.  But at least I go back over my work, and fix things when I see it.  And if it’s an important piece of work, I’ll double check it before I send it out.

So tell me why these big time advertisers can’t be bothered?

I watched an ad for an exercise machine today that promised to work all of your “abdomials”.  What are abdomials?  I know we have abdominals, but abdomials?  Think about how much the team got paid to make that commercial.  True, it may not have been the ad copy writers’ fault.  It could have been just some schlub whose job was to type up what they gave him.  But then, why didn’t the film editor catch it?  Or the director?  Did they play the commercial for the company?  That means, if they did, that the company reps missed it as well.

And they make big bucks.

That is just one example.  I think the funniest ones are the lawyers who misspell things in their ads.  Their message goes out to potentially millions of people (depending on the market their ad plays to), and yet they can’t even proof-read thirty seconds worth of film?

And it isn’t just TV advertising, either.  The publishing mills are doing it too.  These days, a lot of publishers (not all, mind you) will buy anything just so they can build up a catalog of books.  It doesn’t really matter if the author wrote anything good, so long as they can sell a few copies.  Generally, the bigger, older publishers do a better job of evaluating prospective work.  Of course, they have a bigger reputation to hold onto.  But these mills that snap up anything anyone writes, go through the production process so quickly they can’t even copy-edit the manuscript before shipping it off to the printers.  I’ve picked up so many books from the library and other venues that were a struggle to read just because I was taught how to spell, and how to look things up if I couldn’t spell it correctly.

And again, they make big bucks.

Maybe it’s just me.  My son calls me a grammar nazi.  Look at it this way:  proper grammar is like obeying the speed limit.  Tons of people ignore those limits every day, but the one time I do it, I’m the one that gets pulled over.  So of course I’m going to be irritated when people don’t follow the rules.  I can’t do it, and no one else should either.

Now, there are a few things I want you to take from this post (and here I’m trying to stop any arguments/flame wars before they begin):

1:) Yes, there are publishers that buy up everything they can, but that does not mean that getting published is easy.  Take your lumps, accept your rejections, move on.  It happens to everyone.  Good luck, and I wish you the best, but don’t expect to pour out 100,000 words and sell it within a two week span.  Won’t happen.  (If it does, let me know where, so I can send some of my stuff in!)

2:) You can break the rules of grammar, but only once you are absolutely certain you need to and know what you are doing when you do it.  This post is completely about laziness, not skill.  If you can pull it off, great!  But it usually takes a long time to get to where you can set aside certain rules, and you certainly can’t do it on your first novel.  Take the time to double-check your work.  Or triple, or quadruple…  I revised one story seven times before I got it the way I wanted it, and I was still picking up spelling errors even then.

The bottom line:  Please for the love of god, if you are going to put a message out there for millions of readers or viewers, make sure you check your spelling first!


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