Archive for December, 2015
It’s another one of those tiresome, technical things that get in the way of the great story you want to write. Punctuation – yawn or what? Boring boring boring! And, anyway, haven’t you read books which have hardly any punctuation and no speech marks. Yes, you have. Problem is, they’re written by writers who REALLY know how to do punctuation – so much so that they can SUBVERT it for effect. I know, it’s not fair. A bit like those people who get praise for unmade beds and piles of bricks.
Consider this: “hi sharon how’s it going”
What’s wrong with the above? It’s clear that someone is addressing another someone, presumably (but not certainly) a female, and asking her how she is. You’re doubtless more used to seeing something like the following:
“Hi, Sharon. How’s it going?”
I would write it as follows:
“Hi, Sharon – how’s it going?” Just a personal preference. I think the full stop a bit much, but a comma not enough.
Once upon a time, this would have been okay: “Hi, Sharon; how’s it going?” And, of course, it’s perfectly acceptable now, and does the job, but it might alarm the modern reader.
So, let’s take “Hi, Sharon. How’s it going?” and say something about it.
Do we really need the comma between Hi and the name?
“Hi Sharon. How’s it going?”
I hope that looks odd to you. It should. People’s names, when they’re being addressed, are usually enclosed in commas. That’s the convention, and it’s a convention that makes sense.
“Morning, Mike. Did you have a good evening?” Mike as opposed to Morning Mike, the popular AM radio entertainer.
If you doubt me on this, and you REALLY shouldn’t, go and check any book on your bookshelf (or ereader). “Good evening, Mr Bond. Your reputation precedes you.”
You’re not going to find it without the comma. If you don’t know this – or GET this – then just do it.
“Morning, Mary.” “Hi, Jon.” Hello, Tom.” “Greetings, Sue.”
Argue the merits if you wish, but that is how it’s done.
“Hi Mary.” People will point out the MISSING comma to you, especially if you do it more than once. I usually let the first instance pass – happily assuming it’s a typo – until I hit the next one… and the next. Then I point it out, not because I want to spoil your day, or sneakily suggest that your work isn’t compelling enough to distract me from dull stuff like punctuation, but because I want to help, and you ASKED for my advice.
Yes, I DO understand – it IS disheartening giving ten pages of white-heat creativity to someone, only to have them go on about commas and quotation marks and proof-reading. That’s what editors are for, right? That’s what THEY do.
Okay, then. Next time, ask me what I think of the STORY. Read it to me. Better still, make a recording. If you give me the text, I’ll assume you want to know about missing commas and misplaced apostrophes. Because, really, I think you do. I think you just get angry with yourself because you wish you could do all this boring punctuation stuff.
Have you written a novel? Well done! Pat yourself on the back. That’s a BIG achievement. You’ve every reason to be proud. But maybe, just MAYBE, you need a little help! I’m Doctor John, your manuscript doctor.
Yes, in your enthusiasm for getting your story done and OUT THERE, you’ve neglected the boring but IMPORTANT part – the writing. That’s where I come in. For a modest FEE, I can take your novel and make it into a book ready for an agent or publisher and the world. Remember, it’s all about YOU and your most important creation – your STORY.
It’s tedious, isn’t it? Worrying about boring things like punctuation and grammar and (don’t be silly) style when YOU just want to tell your story. I’m here to help with that. Send me your three less-good pages – and, hey, why not consult your friends to help you decide – and I’ll send them back to you EDITED. Not PROOF READ (that comes as a happy incidental), but EDITED. For FREE. Yes, your three worst (sorry, least-good) pages edited to the high standard agents and publishers demand. And, you know what, where I can detect a style, I’ll bake it right into the EDIT for you.
Once you have your FREE, fully EDITED three pages, do with them as you wish. They’re yours. Read them, learn from them, show them to your friends (the same ones you consulted earlier). They’re my no-obligation GIFT to you. After all, it’s your novel, your story, your work; I just helped a bit here and there with the boring part. Enjoy your writing and your life.
HOWEVER… if you find yourself thinking, “Hey, wouldn’t it be REALLY great if all my novel were that well-written?” – well, hey, why not hire me. I’m yours for a one-off, flat fee of £10,000. Imagine. A mere £10,000 to make your novel, your story, your pride and joy, the best it can be. And while, of course, I can’t guarantee an agent or a publisher, I can guarantee you’ll have your special story as special as it can be.
But, hey, no worry, no obligation – read those magic three pages, talk to your friends, and ask yourself, “Is this story, my story, worth £10,000?”
I’m here for YOU! You know where to find me.
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