I admit it…I’m a Grammar Nazi. Just ask my kids.
Maybe it’s from nearly 25 years of writing professionally. Maybe it’s from being deaf and the written word being my main form of communications. Maybe, as has been suggested more times than I can count, I’m just a bitch.
Bad grammar and spelling irritate me to no end…especially when it comes from so-called professionals. The reason really doesn’t matter all that much.
Have a look at this article: http://news.yahoo.com/ny-school-issues-reading-list-riddled-errors-105330935.html
That’s right…professional educators screwed it up royally. And some say the education system is just fine. But I digress…
For the readers…does bad grammar and/or poor spelling in a story bug you? Do you just toss the book aside in disgust, or do you even care? I suspect most readers fall someplace between the two extremes.
Authors…how much do you focus on grammar and spelling? This is really two questions in one, and I would love to hear how much you worry about it as you write, and how important it is to you in the final release.
And, authors, what about editors you have worked with…how much emphasis do they put on such matters?
As you can probably guess, both are important to me, and I try to get it right from the first draft. But let me tell you a story about an editor at a major house I hooked up with many years ago…
The story was set in rural Arkansas during the depression, and the leading man was a poor farmer with almost no education. He used the word “ain’t” in almost every sentence. The misguided copy editor assigned to the book insisted that I remove this “…offensive and non-existent word…” from the entire manuscript or he would tell the acquisitions editor to drop the book. My representative and I talked about it. She contacted the chief editor and made it clear they would publish the story with the dialog as written. If they wanted to muck around with dialog, another publisher would be more than happy to leave it alone. The chief agreed, and pulled the copy editor from the project. By the way, the book spent 17 weeks on the NY Times Best Seller List.
The moral to the story is not to fear the editors.
What say you?