Don’t worry about grammar. That’s what editors are for.
1. Would you believe a lawyer who told you to go to your interview at the firm in your underwear because they’ll tell you the dress code after they hire you?
2. If an editor is holding one fresh, engaging story in each hand and one is clean and the other riddled with grammatical errors, which do you think she’ll buy?
You’re helping keep down ever other romance writer on the planet by taking a low advance.
If you believe the publisher you’ve chosen will right by your books and help you grown your readership and your career long-term, then you’ve made the right decision for you. Every other romance writer on the planet isn’t going to come to your rescue when your buzz-worthy deal crashes and burns you with a 30% sell-through, so let them negotiate their own deals.
Don’t worry about grammar. That’s what editors are for.
This one and “don’t worry about polishing because the editor will want revisions.” Now, I’ve turned in manuscripts that I’ve known needed work – as in EDITING – and asked my editor to HELP, but I make every manuscript as clean as it possibly can be. I’ve been going over galleys the last couple of days, in fact, and am still looking up things like whether “paper clipped” is one word or two because THAT’S MY JOB. Of course a copy/line editor will fix things, but writing is more than storytelling. It’s being professional every word of the way.
Yeah, I don’t get the don’t-worry-about-making-it-clean-because-it’s-going-to-need-revisions-anyway mindset, either. :gaah:
First off, why assume it’s going to need revisions? Depending on how well an author wears her editing hat, it’s not a given that all books need to be revised. :tomato: Or at least, not in any major way. :tomato: :tomato: So you might as well make sure it’s all purdy when you send it in, because why make unnecessary work for your editor? :shrug: As Alison said, that’s MY job. But what can I say, I’m a control freak.
The good news is, however, that my line edits also remarkably cross-out free. Since I’m usually in the middle of another book when I get them, this is a very good thing. :nod:
In defense of the other side, I get impatient with writers who think correct usage of its and it’s will determine whether or not they pass the Great Door of Publishing. Yes, it matters. Yes, you should make Strunk and White your best friends. No, you should not make needless work for your editor, especially if you want to keep her. But usually the people who go on about grammar tend to have other problems that are much harder to fix.
I would love to not have revisions, ever, and that’s always my goal when I turn in a book; to be ready to publish at that point. But there’s always something the editor sees differently and wants changed, taking out Bigfoot jokes, putting in more backstory, whatever. (Yes, those are real examples of my revision requests.) Not having to spend hours correcting my sentence structure, though, allows an editor focus on those points to take the book to another level. “Less of this, more of that” is what my editor should be thinking about, not, “holy crap, learn to write a clean sentence!”
I think Alison is responsible for everyone’s biz woes. And Charlene and Karen probably helped her.
I’d like to see writers blog more about books and less about television. I have never watched a single episode of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, but I know who all the contestants are and how they did and what their problems were, going back to season one for both shows. Which drives me nuts.
Not having to spend hours correcting my sentence structure, though, allows an editor focus on those points to take the book to another level.
I think Alison is responsible for everyone’s biz woes.
I do my best.
Iâ€™d like to see writers blog more about books and less about television.
Hence my post today. My blog’s even boring me lately. There is a balance I have to find, though, because readers don’t necessarily want a blow-by-blow of the process.
Okay, I should have more probably stuck the word “unpublished” before the second “author” in the title.
No manuscript is so clean it doesn’t need editing. But I’ve seen more times than I can count an unpublished writer asking grammar/house style/etc questions and being told not to worry about it—if they love the story, the editor will help them fix it.
When you’re trying to get in the door, you don’t want the editor trying to decide if she wants to spend that much time with a writer who struggles with grammar. You want her to tumble into the story and stay there.
Once you’re IN the door, then yeah—that’s the editor’s job.
(I’M KIDDING, ANGIE!!!)
â€œLess of this, more of thatâ€ is what my editor should be thinking about, not, â€œholy crap, learn to write a clean sentence!â€
Yep. I guess my point is…do the absolute best you can with the book before it goes to your/an editor. While I understand that some writers have problems with grammar/syntax (often because they didn’t get it shoved down their throats in school they way some of us did), most of those gaps can be filled in…if the desire to do so is there.
Like it or not, it’s not all about the storytelling, it’s about the craft, as well. And speaking as someone who’s unfortunately had to more than once correct a copy editor’s “corrections”…sigh. You really do need to know this stuff, because you can’t always trust that the unseen person doing the copy-edits does. :eyebrow: (My own editor is fabulous, BTW. But she doesn’t do my copyedits, which are a whole ‘nother animal.)
And it just makes so much less work later on for the author, as well, even if there are revisions. Of course there will be typos and the occasional homonym mix-up; that’s to be expected. But the last thing you want is for a potential editor to think you don’t care enough about your work — especially when the field is so damn crowded as it is — to go the extra mile to fix what you *can* fix. A good editor should be your extra set of eyes to catch the inconsistencies and plot holes and the like that might be in your head but that didn’t come across s’hot s’good on the page. She’s not there to teach you remedial English.
Language is the only tool we have to communicate our ideas. The more we keep it all shined up and in running order, the better work it does for us, yes? :thumb:
Yes, yes, yes. Editors are seriously overworked, swamped with projects. Why would they want to pick up an unpolished mess full of errors, even if the idea is good? Sending in a manuscript like that is just shooting yourself in the foot. I wouldn’t be surprised if most editors stop reading after one or two mistakes.
>>some writers have problems with grammar/syntax
I totally agree…and while I know I have some grammar issues *coughcommacough*, on every manuscript I try to do better because I totally get that the buck stops with me. It’s not my editor that’s going to get the emails from fans, it’s ME.