Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Word-Craft Wednesday Mea Culpa!

Cecilia is not happy that I forgot about today's post.

Oh, hey, was it Word-Craft Wednesday?  Oh…yeah, it was.  Great.

For those of you who were on the edge of your seats waiting for a detailed explanation of prepositions and conjunctions, I must apologize.  For the people who weren’t—what is wrong with you?

Just kidding.

So what on earth was going on that made me forget about today’s post?  Early this morning, I spent about five hours making soap. Yes; I make soap. Then, instead of doing useful things, I looked over and re-read a bunch of my Tower Key novel because I had a sudden inspiration for a scene from it. Great.  I’m trying to work on the Charybda storyline and now I have an idea for Tower Key? Thanks, Mr. Muse. Then, because I’m not feeling well, I slept for three hours after lunch.  After that, I realized I was up against a deadline for one of my clients, so I was proofreading and copyediting stuff. My client also happens to be a truly good friend, so I really didn’t want to let her down.

All of that is probably not much consolation for those who are bitterly disappointed about missing their date with conjunctions and prepositions.

It does bring up an interesting point, though.  Why on earth am I even blogging about parts of speech in the first place?  What practical application does it have?  Once can certainly write well without a total understanding of the technicalities of English linguistics. 

The practical application is this: proofreading and copyediting.  If you are going to edit a work, you need to understand what every single word does and why.  You have to be able to patch together broken clauses; you need to know exactly what part of speech is missing.  Or, you might need to remove something (“What’s this verb doing here?”).  I’ve been likening parts of speech to parts of the body. Well, editing is like dissecting the body.  Sometimes, it’s more like performing an autopsy.

Okay, that’s great if proofreading is a career you’d like to have.  But you want to be writer, not an editor. You’ll just send your work to an editor.

Give me a minute to stop laughing here.

One second.


If you want to be a writer, you have to be an editor.  There is no way around it.  You can’t remove all grammatical issues from your own work, but you certainly should try to catch as many as possible.  It’s not just about grammar, either.  It’s about style.  Plot.  Character development. It’s about the big picture.

And the big picture is made up of thousands upon thousands of little parts—parts called “parts of speech.”

So, NaNoWriMo permitting, you’ll be able to read all about conjunctions and prepositions next week.  If not, however, forgive me.

Now, onto the next proofreading project…

How important do you think it is for writers to self-edit when they are able (and frequently need to) hire an outside editor? Share and thoughts or questions in the comments.

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1 comment:

  1. Agreed. All writers should have editing skills. Though usually they shouldn't be employed at the same time as our creative skills. ;)