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Old 04-24-2012, 01:45 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by DaringNovelist View Post
The answer to the question "Do indie writers need editors?" in that post was an unequivocal (and bolded): NO!
I beg to differ. Everyone needs an editor. Everyone needs to be forced to justify why they wrote what they did, and why it should stay that way.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:47 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
A lack of knowledge, or a lack of care for details.
This is actually the big deal.

And I should add to the previous post that the article in question was about whether indie writers should hire editors, not really about whether they should know grammar.

The thing all writers need is to take their craft seriously. They need to be attentive to detail, they need to be driven to find out what makes things work and acquire the skill to do it.

But I find there is often too much focus on window dressing when it comes to writing these days. Too many writers believe all they need is an editor to clean up the comma splices and it's all good. They should get a gold star for it. The only thing grammar is for is to reveal the story/message in the best possible way. That's it. It has no other purpose.

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Old 04-24-2012, 01:57 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
I beg to differ. Everyone needs an editor. Everyone needs to be forced to justify why they wrote what they did, and why it should stay that way.
If you don't read the whole blog series, you don't really know what I'm saying....

But you did happen to hit on the key to that "No" of mine: Nobody needs to do any such thing. I might see a point if you said "an editor is useful to everyone." It might be a really good idea, but needs?

Like it or not, someone who is self-publishing doesn't answer to anyone, and isn't going to answer to anyone. They don't have to justify anything at all, any more than you have to justify the color of your underwear.

I mean, "forced to justify?" Forced? Seriously? Come on. You can't force anyone to justify anything to you. And why the heck would want to?

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Old 04-24-2012, 02:00 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
I beg to differ. Everyone needs an editor. Everyone needs to be forced to justify why they wrote what they did, and why it should stay that way.
Everyone?
Forced?
Justify to someone else?

Thanks, but I prefer a gentler, more relaxed world. But everyone's mileage may vary...


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Old 04-24-2012, 02:07 AM   #80
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Obviously I didn't phrase my previous post very well. I blame the late hour and an abundance of snuggly kittens.

What I meant was that anyone who wants me or anyone else to read what they've written needs to have someone else read it before we do. Someone who's not afraid to call the writer on short-cuts, sloppy character development, boring interludes that add nothing to the plot, et cetera. You know what i mean. I'm talking about that one trusted person who reads your first draft, and then looks at you and says, "this makes no sense, why is it even in here?"

If you don't have a close friend in your life who will do that for you, hire an editor. Any moron can check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Forcing bad writing out so that good writing can replace it, is a different thing entirely.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:21 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
What I meant was that anyone who wants me or anyone else to read what they've written needs to have someone else read it before we do. Someone who's not afraid to call the writer on short-cuts, sloppy character development, boring interludes that add nothing to the plot, et cetera.
Ah.. here is where we very much agree.

This is actually why I have a bugaboo about the fussing over grammar: because so few seem to be able to handle pacing or character development, and such at all. They get an editor to fix grammar mistakes. There, all done!

I quit a certain other writer's forum because the writers didn't want to talk about that stuff. They only wanted to talk about how the key to "quality" was copy editing.

And the thing about that stuff -- the pacing and plotting and character development -- it can't be edited into a manuscript. You can learn from critique for the next one, but if you have lousy characterization, you can't just fix that.

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Old 04-24-2012, 03:19 AM   #82
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Yes, proper spelling punctuation and grammar is what make the text easily understandable.
Quitte a few time I went when reading, because of typo, missed punctuation and other.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:26 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by EowynCarter View Post
Yes, proper spelling punctuation and grammar is what make the text easily understandable.
Quitte a few time I went when reading, because of typo, missed punctuation and other.
You see. Now I understood every word of that.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:43 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
Obviously I didn't phrase my previous post very well. I blame the late hour and an abundance of snuggly kittens.
OK... I'll adjust for late and snuggles.

Quote:
What I meant was that anyone who wants me or anyone else to read what they've written needs to have someone else read it before we do. Someone who's not afraid to call the writer on short-cuts, sloppy character development, boring interludes that add nothing to the plot, et cetera. You know what i mean.
Yes, I do. You mean check the content. The spelling and the grammar come along with that, but when you talk about 'sloppy character development' and 'boring interludes you are discussing content and context, not grammar and spelling, and I agree with you 100%. If the story doesn't develop, if the characters become boring, if the entire piece doesn't come together, we the readers can't continue to read it. I certainly can't. It takes a good editor to insure that.

But if the writer misuses a comma, ends a sentence with a preposition, or splits an infinitive, it doesn't detract from the story... for me. Not in the least. I don't read a book to play policeman. I have no interest in correcting a writer's mistakes, nor do his/her mistakes lessen the quality of a good book... for me. However I'm well aware that there are plenty of people who will stop reading a book when they find the second grammatical error, regardless of how well the plot or characterization has developed thus far.


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Old 04-24-2012, 04:54 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by DaringNovelist View Post
Um, apparently you didn't read that post. (Or any of the other posts in that series -- which drew on my experience reading slush and judging competitions.)
The answer to the question "Do indie writers need editors?" in that post was an unequivocal (and bolded): NO!
Which isn't to say that indies don't need language skills, but what kind of skills are dictated by the story and venue, and writer's goals, not by style books.
Um, actually I did, and the previous ones too, plus the comments, which didn't universally agree with your stance You say indie writers don't need editors, which I agree with - very few things in life are actually needed, but you also point out that 'if hiring an editor helps you get on with writing those words, that's fine too'. And that is really the editor's job - to help the writer to get on with writing.

Also, despite your assertion in the article that writers (well, you) don't need editors, you then go on to agree with Scalyfreak that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
What I meant was that anyone who wants me or anyone else to read what they've written needs to have someone else read it before we do. Someone who's not afraid to call the writer on short-cuts, sloppy character development, boring interludes that add nothing to the plot, et cetera. You know what i mean. I'm talking about that one trusted person who reads your first draft, and then looks at you and says, "this makes no sense, why is it even in here?"
..which is exactly the sort of thing a good editor should do. This, plus your comments that 'they get an editor to fix grammar mistakes' and (in the article) 'hire someone to take over the annoying proofing jobs' lead me to think that I did misread the article in one way - that is, that I thought you had a better understanding of an editor's function than you do. An editor doesn't deal with the 'annoying proofing jobs' - that's a proofreader's role. Neither do they just 'fix grammar mistakes' - they work with an author on all aspects of writing, including all those enumerated by Scalyfreak, to help the author produce the best work of which they are capable. A good writer won't necessarily be a good editor, or vice versa, so most authors will consider it makes sense for them to concentrate on what they are good at, and hire someone else to do the bits they aren't good at (or just don't like).

Last edited by LuvReadin; 04-24-2012 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:55 AM   #86
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Good grammar along with good spelling are simply tools, with some written work it is absolutely essential yet with others it's not. Legibility and understanding the meaning of what is written is the most important part of any piece work, .
May not be essential in all cases, but it's important in all. In written language, we don't have the tone of voice, facial expressions and body language as cues to what the person is trying to communicate, so it becomes far more important to have the sentence structured in such a way that the need for these diminishes. This is one of the reasons why people tend to take offence very easily on internet forums, and why smileys made their debut - some people may love them, others hate them, but they do aid communication.

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self appointed grammar police can't wait to rip someones work apart yet never read it or enjoy it's message. Look back far enough to see where language came from and how it evolved, there is little to get excited about grammar.
And very often, the SAGP are wrong, or at least out of date. I disagree with the lack of excitement, though - the history of English, as with most languages, is actually very interesting. The argument is often made that people got along for centuries with different spellings (at least 8 variations of Shakespeare's name, for instance) and a very loose grammatical structure, but that ignores the fact that populations were far smaller, and except for a small elite, most people lived close to each other, spoke the same dialect, didn't travel and couldn't read. As soon as the population began to expand and the availiability of printed books widened the audience for information, the need for clarity of expression began to make itself felt.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:34 AM   #87
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Things seem to be getting a little out of hand here in places. The topic was about grammar. Editors are not (just) about grammar. Grammar is not (just) about commas in the right places. The right grammar can aid a writer to achieve much of what people have been talking about here as if it were somehow separate - character development and pacing. Pacing relies quite heavily on grammar to make the story flow appropriately at different stages. The subtle use of grammar can help to make certain aspects of character appear in the text without having to spell them out.

Grammar really is important. It's an integral part of what a writer produces, it's part of the story and cannot be separated from it, the same sequence of words with different grammar can tell a different story - or were you too busy eating Grandpa to really understand the point of that example? It was never about the comma, it was about how the reader understood what was written. If you get the grammar wrong but your message is still clear, then sure, the grammar mistakes are not important. But, if you get the grammar wrong and your story goes astray, then these are technical errors for which you only have yourself to blame.
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:12 AM   #88
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. Eats, shoots and leaves!
Are you sure it isn't "eats shoots and leaves"? Are you referring to a mobster having dinner and then working, or a description of an elephant having dinner?
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:16 AM   #89
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Are you sure it isn't "eats shoots and leaves"? Are you referring to a mobster having dinner and then working, or a description of an elephant having dinner?
That's the whole point ! The ambiguity depending on where the comma is placed. It's actually the title of a best-selling grammar book, and the reference is to a Panda.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eats-Shoots-...5262554&sr=8-1
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:22 AM   #90
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Good grammar along with good spelling are simply tools, with some written work it is absolutely essential yet with others it's not. Legibility and understanding the meaning of what is written is the most important part of any piece work, if you do that you are onto a winner in my book as all too often self appointed grammar police can't wait to rip someones work apart yet never read it or enjoy it's message. Look back far enough to see where language came from and how it evolved, there is little to get excited about grammar. Good communication and understanding is more important than grammatical correctness.
Communication originally was solely oral. Tone, inflection, facial expression, and the like were the grammar tools of oral communication and remain so today.

Consider email and posts to forums like MR. How many times have we read a post and misinterpreted the writer's intent because the cues to tell us the intent were missing or poorly expressed? We often impose a tone to a post that may not be the tone intended, for example, thinking a post was intended to be insulting and snide when the poster had no such intent whatsoever.

Grammar not only helps express clearly what is intended to be said, but also helps communicate the intended tone. Just as audible and visible expressions communicate intent and tone in oral communication, grammar does the same for written communication.

Grammar is not just punctuation; it is also choosing the right word. Whenever I read "due to", I wonder what the author means. Use of "due to" is often a poor grammatcial choice because it leaves to the reader to decide what is meant, when it is the author who should be clearly stating what is meant.

Good grammar ensures good communication and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication in the written word.
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