Friday, March 06, 2009

Bad Manners in Writing

Are you a writer? Then act like one!

Here is a general list of bad manners in writing:
The number one thing that is a big turn off in writing is SPELLING ERRORS!
Spelling errors are not acceptable in the writing world. Maybe in an amateurish setting spelling errors are okay, but when you need to be perceived as a professional, you need to spell right. And no the chat room acronyms are not acceptable in the professional writing world. Not all readers are familiar with the lingo so please don’t assume that your peers or editors are either.

TWO: Over wording your sentences with long descriptive images and explanations.

ex: The tall, lengthy brown, uneven tree stood in the bellowing soft dappling sun rays.

Some claim the use of cumulative sentence structure, I call it laziness in bringing home a point that you intended. If you don’t know how to structure a cumulative sentence correctly, by all means, LEARN before using them. Big words, too much imagery is a big turn-off!

THREE: The passive use of structuring your sentences. Something as simple as WAS can be switched to IS, making your writing much tighter that the reader is in the moment. Pass up the passive, I say!

FOUR: Punctuation! If you’re not sure about it, then look at a grammatical site that will give you the right answer. Showing sloppy work is for the lazy. When you are a new writer, you want to show your BEST. So learn the correct punctuation. And this goes for the over use of ellipses too.

The punctuation should be INSIDE the double quotation marks. The single quotation mark is not proper (in our English grammar.) Learn grammar!

FIVE: The over-use of exclamation marks! I have the tendency to drag my exclamation marks out to bring home a point, but never in my story would I use more than one. If the reader doesn’t get that you mean to amplify your point, don’t add five more and think they’ll get the point then. The same thing for question marks, no editor wants to see five question marks glaring at their face. One will suffice.

SIX: The use of colons and semi colons should be used in their proper place. Remember use a colon when logging articles of facts. The semi colon is to add an additional thought to a sentence. It’s not that difficult to remember.

SEVEN: I have come to like parentheses. I use them to set my thoughts separate from the sentence. But in writing a story, the off setting of words in parentheses is merely a distraction. Try your best NOT to use them.

ex. She wandered down the lonely street (I would have never gone down that road) and found herself lost.

EIGHT: Modifiers are another turn-off. No I’m not saying not to use them, I’m saying use them properly. Modifiers are essential in making the reader live with you in the moment. When over-used you run the risk of losing your reader and having them toss the book aside. Learn when they are to be used.

NINE: I’m against the over-use of the word AND. I see alot of new writer’s building a paragraph with over twenty ANDS, connecting sentences. I say finish the doggone sentence, conclude it so the reader or editor isn’t dragged through the mire of cleaning up all of those AND’s, BUT’s and OR’s

TEN: SPELLING SPELLING SPELLING! Did I say this one already? Well it needs to be said again. There is no excuse for your lack of spelling skills if you’re going to be a writer. I don’t mean a typo here and there, I mean the inability to check for the correct spelling of there and their, want or went, hair and hare.

Proofread your work! Make it sparkle and shine like the noon day sun. Then and only then can you consider yourself...a serious writer.


Anonymous said...

Yikes Joni,

who's been tossing bad grammar into your pie? :)
Tis a sad fact of life that writers need to learn the rules in order to break them.
But there's always the kid in the back of the classroom pointing at Flaubert and claiming he broke a rule.
Of course, kids will be kids. Grammar sucks and nobody wants to learn it. Until they figure out nobody will publish you unless you get your grammatical ducks in a row.

Nice Essay. Good points.


Anonymous said...

Misused apostrophe in Rule 6.

joni said...

Thanks Raven.

Lord knows I'm not perfect and I think we all have a little gnome in us somewhere that goes around switching letters AFTER we hit post. lol

I'm certain of it! Especially on these web pages, you never know who is in THIS machine.

I'm still learning and it is worth it! Well worth it.

Thanks for visiting,