J.J.'s WritIng Blog


Speling, Gramor and Punkchuation.

May 09, 2018

Any successful best-selling author will tell you (for $150 at a writer’s conference) that regardless of how good your novel is, it will never get by that unpaid intern at the literary agency if you didn’t mind your P’s and Q’s and dot all your I’s in the manuscript. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are annoying little deer ticks that try their damnedest to stifle your creative prose with their stops and starts and red and green underlines, announcing loudly to the reading world all your writing limitations.

My spelling sucks. I admit it. But I am fortunate to have a spell-checker in my house that not only spells every word correctly but also feeds me, washes my clothes, and makes love to me. You’re probably thinking, where can I get me some of that software, Best Buy? No, it’s my wife I’m talking about for God’s sake. She, (Pamela) has been able to spell any word in the Webster English Dictionary since she won her fourth grade spelling bee without asking the judge to use the word in a sentence. So good for me since I have never spelled relief and believe the same way twice.

I write everything by hand and Pam types, corrects, and edits my work as she goes along. By correcting, of course, I mean the dreaded spelling, grammar and punctuation. I seem to be unable to use their, there, they’re, too, to, and two in their proper context regardless of my repeated attempts. So rather than learn proper English, find a spouse who has mastered the language and you too will be able to write, “They’re going there to eat their food too at two.”

Forget about punctuation, the famous say. Steve Berry has written ten best sellers and he says to use as few commas as possible. He believes they slow down novels, especially thrillers. He also says never use colons, semi-colons, ellipsis or exclamation points in novels. My writing group disagrees but they haven’t written ten best sellers either. You can use an em dash though instead of ellipsis. To create an em dash, so called because the dash is the width of an m, hit the hyphen key twice and then enter— Like so. There, you’ve learned something useful, my invisible readers.

I’m tired of instructing. Screw punctuation, grammar and spelling. That’s wot dey pay dem big shot edeters for.  Like Toby Keith, let’s talk about me.

I once sent a query to a dog. Seriously. The Aaron PriestAgency has a dog agent named Golda. Having no luck with humans, I sent a query to the Golden Labrador. I figured I’d get more of a response from her than I would the other agents I had been querying. I was wrong. The Priest Agency not only didn’t respond, they were so pissed off they kept my 44 cent stamp from the self-addressed stamped envelope. I bet that bitch Golda put them up to it. I mean bitch in a good way, you know, the dog way. I wonder though if Golda actually wanted to represent me and Aaron pulled her choke chain. Que sera. Hopefully they’ll be some other dog working for a literary agency who will see merit in my prose and sell my manuscript like an alcoholic Amway salesman.

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