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Post Reply When it comes to writing stories, do you sweat the small stuff instead of writing?
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/6/14

S10TH wrote:

When typing, I always worry about grammar because It's better to know and not do it again than to not know and do it all the time. Secondly, I think its best to practice showing rather than telling by doing exactly that, i used to take time everyday to describe, explain, and work on getting a general image of what i was writing. Then, I would leave where ever i wrote about, and have someone else read it (now that i think about it, i sound kind of crazy).


Thank you for that.
Ever since my days of English class, studying, and practice, I feel my stupidity growing. And I don't like that feeling to be honest.
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Posted 2/7/14

qualeshia3 wrote:

I mainly dwell on grammar and trying to show what goes on in the story rather than telling it. People say "don't worry about the grammar so much" still it doesn't feel right to me. Can I really not have both perfect grammar in a story that isn't textbook boring?


Much like the use of poor writing skills, I would say there is likely a limit to how much "perfect grammar" a reader is willing to tolerate. From my own personal experiences as a graduate student pursuing a Master's degree in English, I have had professors mark me down for being so inflexible with sentence structure (it has haunted me since). Characters, for one, most certainly should have their own speech patterns and mannerisms that most likely do not abide by proper grammar usage -- who really speaks that well all the time? Allowing someone to speak incredibly well isn't an impossibility, but to create a world in which each character flaunts a flawless tongue would be somewhat exhausting. A carefully articulate narration is probably expected in most cases, but its creations should be dependent upon the role of the narrator. A wholly externalized narrator with no investment in the story may be perfectly crisp. However, narration from a character involved in the narrative itself should also reflect that character's nuances, speech, intelligence, and whatnot. Just look at the beginning of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, which exposes either Holden's immaturity, his manipulative and lying nature, or his lack of intelligence (depending on how you want to read it) when he claims to be in the hospital for breaking his "clavichord" (confusing it with "clavicle," which would presumably be a lie as well). Or the "intense concentration of self in the middle of such a heartless immensity" by Ishmael in Herman Melville's Moby Dick that romanticizes experiences that are otherwise mundane for the other characters. ...This is starting to drift away from the idea of grammar, but what I mean to point out is that characters ought not be reduced to the intonations of a mechanical recording.

This isn't to dismiss the need for well-groomed grammar, but to suggest that what is written should be aimed towards readability, particularly in the use of punctuation. While it still ought to be employed in its standardized usages (like here), punctuation is fundamental in the development of the reader's/speaker's/story's flow/atmosphere. It's poetry, which takes whatever liberties it pleases with punctuation anyway, but look at pretty much anything from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass for an example of what I mean: letting thoughts run into one another through the use of commas (or no end-stops at all) instead of periods can deliberately disorientate the audience and/or generate a sense of unified linking in all that is expressed. Nathaniel Hawthorne was apparently obsessed with exclamation marks in some of his short stories, presumably to indicate the anxieties of its narrator. "Perfect grammar" shouldn't be seen as what is found in textbooks, but as what is functional; by some cynical twist, textbooks generally aren't all that functional.

I'd never be one to say that grammar doesn't matter, but following the guidelines of practicality is far more effective than the wry instructions of any archaic composition class. Well, in my mind anyway.
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/7/14



True about the character's monologue fitting the way they would speak. I mainly dwell on the trying to narrate the story by showing it as I struggle to use good enough grammar. I slowly care less how good the story sound due to wanting the grammar to be flawless. My floetry will always be off unless I do something. I want to stop worrying so much then I read it over to get annoyed. I don't have someone to read over my work and critique it. Forget about using big words since I don't know many that can fit in with the story.

Don't judge me when I say that I have a book to help me out with my grammar. That's how much it worries me along with books to help me write well too. I-I got problems.
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25 / M / Sydney, Australia
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Posted 2/7/14
i want to create characters that are different from me and don't have any of me in it.

but when i write a story, it always has aspects of me in the characters, i hate that.
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/7/14

GayAsianBoy wrote:

i want to create characters that are different from me and don't have any of me in it.

but when i write a story, it always has aspects of me in the characters, i hate that.



When I try to work on characters, I worry a tiny bit able if they'll become Mary Sue/Gary Stu type characters. I also worry a little about not wanting the story to be all about the main character, while every other character is worth knowing.

I get where you're coming from with that.
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Posted 2/7/14

qualeshia3 wrote:

Don't judge me when I say that I have a book to help me out with my grammar.


Hey, there's no shame in using the tools available to you. In actuality, everyone ought to do so in any given aspect of life; it's commendable and sensible that you approach what you deem to be a weakness as cautiously as possible. Still, I would advise that your own writing is generally sculpted by your literary influences; what you read often becomes what you write. Relying exclusively upon static rulebooks may minimize the opportunities for your own writings to be dynamic. Personally, I'm not a fan of most of the writers that I've mentioned in previous posts, but their works have survived the years for a reason and reading any such time-tested texts may prove beneficial in recognizing functional usages of grammar. The notion of "perfect grammar" is not necessarily a myth, but its existence is deceptive; functionality ought to trump technicality -- at least my opinion. Your style should always be your own, and that is of the utmost importance upon this topic, so use whatever is necessary to create as you see fit.
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/7/14



Thank you.

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20 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 2/8/14
It's more harmful than helpful to worry about every little detail when your getting all your ideas out onto the page. The first priority should always be getting everything into some kind of physical format. This can be as simple as an outline or a general synopsis. After you have your entire idea fleshed, THAT is when sweating the details becomes extremely important. Honestly, the quality of detail both in grammar and in pacing can change the difference between something that a few people like to something that a large audience is attracted to. But it's pointless to try and fix every little thing and have a gorgeous beginning and middle and then have nothing for the end. There are exceptions and such of course, but that's the general rule I tend to follow.
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Posted 2/8/14 , edited 2/8/14
Things like proofreading can come after it's written and it goes through successive drafts it's more of a post production concern for me over something i worry about when writing it initially. I'll usually not only read drafts myself but hand them to people i share ideas with to look through too so any mistakes in grammar or typos get picked up rather quickly. If i worried about that while writing it i would be very slow getting my ideas onto a page and it'd hinder me.

Showing rather than telling is a pretty standard practice anyone should follow. If you have your characters explain every little detail it becomes kind of irritating to read. Usually my major concerns when developing a story are to make sure i know my characters and the world they live in perfectly because if i can't believe it then nobody else will.
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/8/14 , edited 2/8/14


I don't read have someone to review my writing like I want them to. Writing a story on paper is tedious and makes me want to cry because it's not the same as typing on Mircosoft Office. I'll try...I'll try.

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Posted 2/8/14

qualeshia3 wrote:



I don't read have someone to review my writing like I want them to. Writing a story on paper is tedious and makes me want to cry because it's not the same as typing on Mircosoft Office. I'll try...I'll try.



I don't write a story on paper lol. Nobody has for years. I'll just paper for idea but i write all my drafts on the computer and well we all have the internet so it's easy to send a draft to somebody and have them proofread it for me.
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23 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 2/8/14



I would do my drafts on the computer, print it out, have someone review it, and redo it again to edit the mistakes.
Granted that was so long ago that now I don't have anyone for that and it's only me. Normally, when I write on paper it's for jotting down ideas. Sometimes I really don't need any notebook since I have my laptop.

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20 / M / Hertfordshire, En...
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Posted 2/13/14
For me the first draft is for just getting everything down with no regrets. I'll worry about editing things like style and all that when it comes to the next draft.
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50 / M / State of Confusion
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Posted 2/17/14
It sounds like you are trying to create a finished story in just one attempt.

You need to make at least 1 rough draft of any story, in that draft don't sweat things like grammar, spelling, or even the rules of the English language. In your rough draft your are trying to create your feeling for the story and turning of phrase.

Sweat the small stuff in your final draft.

Then give it to an editor who you trust to read it before releasing it.
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26 / M
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Posted 2/17/14
As much as I understand everyone's faith in rough drafting, how do you (anyone willing to respond, that is) manage to write without concern for grammar and the like in the first place? Perhaps my experiences and writing practices (almost exclusively essays/theses and poetry) differ -- seeing as I've read the responses on here to implicitly refer to creating prose (which very well could be my own misleading assumption) -- and therein the problem may lie, but I have trouble imagining that such integral processes of writing could be intentionally neglected. Of course, there is always a great deal of value in rereading/revising, so it may not be of the utmost importance to sculpt everything in one swing of the chisel, but why leave the stone unnecessarily uncut? I mean, when you make any sort of craft, you try to be as precise as possible before you have to sand and polish it, right? The final act of beautification is already long and arduous, why leave any excessive bulk? Though it has its quirks and is plenty flexible, I just assumed basic (not "perfect," but functional) grammar was somewhat natural within writing. That being said, if we're talking about writing poetry, no draft is ever complete as grammatical/lexical choices and line/stanza structures will forever tempt their creators to toy with them.
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