Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Every Careless Word by Andy Scheer



Yes, you’re judged by your spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
 
Last week, several authors’ Facebook posts took issue with grammar-shamers. They wanted to be judged by their online substance, not their delivery.
 
They’re missing the point.
 
If an error — of any kind — distracts a reader from your message, then you’ve failed to communicate clearly. Authors are judged by their written words. Once you put out your shingle as a professional, anything you write can be used as evidence: for you or against you.
 
The same day as the Facebook rant, I saw this post from professional writer Bob Hostetler: “I don't care how brilliant your meme is, if it contains poor grammar or a misspelled word, I can't like or share it.”
 
And this from publishing executive Dan Baker: “Job hunting tip: Applying for a position at a publishing house? Try very hard to submit a cover letter that's free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
 
A few posts below Dan Baker’s was this (in ALL CAPS) from a novelist:
 
DONE - SENT NOVEL TO MY AGENT TONIGHT WITH ALL IT'S CHANGES - TIGHTENING - DEEPENING - STRENGTHENING- and a BIG DOSE OF SIGH-WORTHY ENDING - whew -
Now I GET to write two syonses for the next to stories in the trilogy.
 
I hope her agent likes the syonses — whatever those are.

Not convinced? Consider this from Julie Powell in Cleaving: A story of marriage, meat, and obsession.



“Many people will argue that email ... and instant messaging and all the rest of it have destroyed our capacity as a race for gracious communication. I disagree. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we’ve entered a new golden epistolary age. Which is another of the reasons I hardly ever use my phone as a phone. Why stammer into a headset when I can carefully compose a witty, thoughtful missive? With written words I can persuade, tease, seduce. My words are what make me desirable.” 

6 comments:

Diana Flegal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Flegal said...

I have been guilty of not pre-checking some of my posts and am thankful when someone who knows me catches it and lets me know.
Like when we have broccoli in our teeth. I want to know. Too often we are posting on the fly, in between lunch and getting back to our desk, or tweeting while stuck in traffic. (I am extra careful while doing that. Honest.) I give you all permission to let me know, but please, do it in a private message. :-)
Great post Andy.

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Thanks. For major posts, I always print a copy for proofreading first. I find it's easier to see mistakes on paper than on a screen.

Diana Flegal said...

Andy, that is a great idea. Problem is, I am always in a hurry. Though my Heavenly Father is working on that with me. :-)

Ryan Fraser said...

I thought about misspelling several words in my response just for fun, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Great and timely post! Thanks!

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

As I wrote it I also thought about planting a few.