GRRRR-rammar!!! #atozchallenge2017

Grammar. The bane of many, the pride of word perfectionists.

Grammar is the way in which words are put together to form proper sentences.” (OxfordDictionaries.com)

In writing, proper grammar is important. Unless the writer is driving a point, such as adding the use of wrong grammar in dialogues for better characterization, it must not be taken for granted. It makes things clearer and less confusing. With it, the writer is more able to convey the message s/he wants conveyed.

I admit to being a bit OC about grammar. I especially hate that I also often catch myself committing grammar mistakes. Sometimes, I write and re-write and edit, then I go away for sometime, only to go back and re-read and find those mistakes. Ever experienced that, too? (Yes, I know I should add “Have you” at the start of that last sentence). It’s annoying, yet I don’t beat myself up about it. English is not my mother tongue, after all, and it’s not the language I grew up using at home.

I am more forgiving when others make those mistakes. Not all are writers and not all writers are keen on grammar, anyway. Prime example is William Shakespeare, that famous Englishman we (well, most of us) know. What most consider as his time’s old English wasn’t as old as we like to think.

“William Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn’t always align naturally with the story’s plot or characters. However, Shakespeare was very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and creating a freer flow of words.” (Biography.com)

He wrote in what others called as street language. That just goes to show that not everything stays the same. What is taboo now may be considered as quite acceptable in the future.

I am not saying forget grammar. I repeat, “It makes things clearer and less confusing.” To be clear, proper grammar is not exclusive to English. Whatever language you use, make sure to avoid mistakes. For a writer, it is very important especially when something is essential to the story.

It’s not something to fight over for superiority’s sake, though. These days, it seems there are people who are always ready to point out others’ grammar boo-boos, despite the original words being easily understood already and the message not being lost in translation. They want to prove their points when others just remember them as know-it-all bullies feeling high and mighty, which is usually true. No wonder they are called Grammar Police and Grammar Nazis (forgive me if this is politically incorrect as I am just using a popular term).

It’s okay to correct people, but quit doing it at every turn, every occasion and just wherever (like social media). Do it in private as much as possible. No one wants to be corrected in front of everyone else. If it’s just a little mistake, leave the person alone and get a life! Unless that person is a writer and you’re his/her editor, your unsolicited advice is very likely unwelcome.

That said, I have compiled several YouTube videos that are quite funny. ENJOY!!!

“Weird Al” Yankovic warns against committing Word Crimes. Hit it, Al!

Commit a word crime and you meet…the Grammar Police (NOTE: I am NOT endorsing anything)

I couldn’t let go of this “serious” vid (seriously, quotation marks when Weird Al said don’t use them for emphasis???):

Stephen Fry fries and roasts grammar buffs here.

Lastly, here’s the cute Grammar Love Song created by students for their English Language class 🙂

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I tried not to talk about the obvious G word to use, but grammar is just really perfect to talk about when it comes to writing! So I wrote something brief and decided to make the post a bit fun by sharing vids.

Did you enjoy the vids? Are you a grammar nerd? Tell us!

G for “Grammar”

This piece serves as my Letter G post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

If you’re interested:

A for Alibata – How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

B for Block – “How do you personally deal with writer’s block?”

C for Contents – Contents with all the Feels

D for Dialogue – Why Dialogue is Important

E for Edit – Mark Your Words!

F for Fictional Characters – “Which fictional character that you created is your favorite, and why?”

“Which fictional character that you created is your favorite, and why?” #atozchallenge2017

So I was late with my F post. Blame it on my very slooooow connection (very slow laptop, actually). And admittedly, I was pretty much preoccupied. The slowness was getting on my nerves on top of that. Anyway, on with my post..

Fictionists, as we know, create characters from their own imagination. Yes, maybe the characters are loosely based on other existing book/movie/TV characters or even actual persons. However, they still have their own personalities, backgrounds, battles to win. Now, being their creators’ brainchild (brainchildren???), for sure, they are special. Do these writers also have favorites, too?

Mine would be Maya, who has been with me, so to speak, half my life, I think. At first, I thought I had a clear view of what I wanted her to be, but I wasn’t ready. I got stumped. For years, her story went on and off, longer than I care to admit. I do feel a bit thankful that I waited because now, she is clearer to me. I know what she is now, I know what I want from her. She is part-me, part-Brennan of BONES, part-Abby of NCIS, and part-whatever things that are unique to her. She is as I have planned long ago, my own contribution to Philippine literature and my own way of introducing the Filipino to the world….Now, if I can only finish it now, that would be awesome! Will carry on, of course.

I was curious about other writers and their creations. I, therefore, posted this question over at Quora:

“Which fictional character that you created is your favorite, and why?”

Luckily, I found people who were willing to share. I think they deserve to be featured simply by sharing. Find out their answers below. Maybe you’ll like their books. Click on the screenshots to get to their respective pages.

 

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Do you have your own faves? Please share and don’t forget to leave your relevant links in the comments! Meanwhile, working on my G post.

F is for “Fictional Character”

This piece serves as my Letter F post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

If you’re interested:

A for Alibata – How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

B for Block – “How do you personally deal with writer’s block?”

C for Contents – Contents with all the Feels

D for Dialogue – Why Dialogue is Important

E for Edit – Mark Your Words!

Mark Your Words! #atozchallenge2017

Editing. It’s the process of correcting, revising and adapting a film, soundtrack and, often, a written work prior to launch or publication. The point is to prepare and modify a work so that it would be error-free and acceptable to the target audience. In the publishing industry (print and online), it is particularly essential.

Before I continue, let us first differentiate editing from copyediting, they are often interchanged or thought of as the same. They are very much related, but definitely not the same. Editing happens first and takes a lot of time; copyediting simply follows.

The actual editing involves the editor going through the contents to correct misleading, confusing and wrong information. It requires teamwork between the editor and the writer. The focus is more on the writing process. The editor suggests and sometimes directly gives improvements for the writer to work on. They collaborate until the editor decides the work is ready. It ain’t over till the editor sings! (And yes, an editor could give you a scolding for using “ain’t” unless it’s for dialogue purposes.)

Copyediting, on the other hand, may only be started once the actual editing is done. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make copyediting less important. This is another type of editing that is more on the technical side, correcting copy rather than contents.

Nobody wants to read copy that is full of mistakes. Once is okay, twice or thrice, maybe. But much more, then we have a problem. It can be rather annoying and may even affect the book’s impact itself. What good is a beautiful story if readers get confused due to improper copyediting?

According to NY Book Editors, a copyedit…

  • Corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax
  • Ensures consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
  • Flags ambiguous or factually incorrect statements (especially important for non-fiction)
  • Tracks macro concerns like internal consistency.

Copyediting includes proofreading, “To read (copy or proof) in order to find errors and mark corrections.” If you’ve ever experienced having your work copyedited, you may have encountered what are called as editing marks. If it was your first time, it may have been confusing. In my personal experience, it was not confusing as we had tackled these marks in journalism class. I use this whenever I get the chance to edit copy, especially when I copyedit my own work.

You will find tips and proofreading exercises if you click on this image

For a little more on edit marks, CLICK HERE.

Lastly, there are Three Basic Rules to consider when working on proof so you don’t miss anything. You read…

  • as a reader
  • one (sentence/paragraph) at a time
  • backwards

Well, those are your tips for the day! Why not try and do those exercises?

 

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Hope you liked this, guys! I’m not able to post early due to work and stuff, but I promise to always give it my best shot. Love you!

E for “Edit”

This piece serves as my Letter E post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

If you’re interested:

A for Alibata – How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

B for Block – “How do you personally deal with writer’s block?”

C for Contents – Contents with all the Feels

D for Dialogue – Why Dialogue is Important

Why Dialogue is Important #atozchallenge2017

I learned to write fiction first by writing in script form. That means, except for a very few and brief inclusion of actual descriptions enclosed in parentheses, my stories were 95% dialogue. Some friends liked the stuff I wrote, though. Well, they were kids, too, so it was not hard to impress them.

The nice thing about it was even with the absence of actual storytelling, the dialogues worked. My few readers understood the stories, liked them even somehow. Why? Because the dialogue has its own specific and important role in literature.

The Whys of Dialogue

Years ago, I learned of this. I cannot recall from whom or where, but I learned that dialogues are essential in a story. Novels need them, be they fiction or non-fiction.

Here are what I know:

Dialogue makes interaction between characters more natural.

Without dialogues, can you imagine how it would be like? Sure, you can write them this way: She told him he was very wrong. Fair enough. But if you were a reader, how would you like to read something like this one?

She told him he was very wrong. He told her that he was right. She answered back saying he had to prove it. The man then accepted the challenge and said he would be back. Before he left, she reminded him that….

Oh, my. Major headache, that’s what one will get if he reads a whole book without actual dialogue. It’s not just boring, but rather annoying. Even if the character is supposed to be mute and doing sign language, you must be able to let the readers know what it is the character is telling somebody else. This is in written form, folks. There is no other way for your readers to see the actions. It is up to you to make them see–and hear–the character in their heads.

Dialogue adds “character” to the character.

It makes the reader understand a character better. Dialogue gives him personality, background, attributes, etc. If he talks with a certain accent that is recognizable through how the words and even grammar are written, the reader can immediately gauge from where he’s been, maybe get an idea of what his morals are, his beliefs, other things. Like if he sounds Texan, maybe he carries a gun.  This is not merely stereotyping, rather a part of characterization. In fact, you can make him more interesting by making him different, like he’s a guy who has never held a gun in his life–that would be an interesting angle.

You can even let details about the character be known through his indirect words. For instance, one of my inspirations for Maya, the main character in my story, is Dr. Temperance Brennan a.k.a. Bones. Brennan is a genius who likes to share and insert trivia and stuff  in conversations. So by letting Maya talk and talk about trivia and stuff that she learns from her doctor-friend (who does most of the forensics talk, naturally), I let the readers know that Maya’s got the brains, too, and that she could also be a tad like a know-it-all sometimes, like Brennan.

Dialogue fills in the void.

When something about the character or what is happening to him is not explained clearly, whether done by the writer intentionally or not, dialogue reflects the character’s thoughts and feelings. It makes him more human, or in the case of fables and children’s stories where animals and non-living things talk, more human-like.

Through his words and by the way he says them, that gives the reader an idea of him. How does he communicate? How does he speak to others–is he rough, angry, soft-spoken, prone to using coarse language, gentle? How does he treat particular characters? Those maybe clues to things the readers have yet to unravel.

Of course, there could be twists in stories. The well-mannered gentleman may turn out to be the murderous psychopath after all. So how can we say that his dialogues are the reflection of him? They are. He is deceitful, cunning, malicious, and his next dialogues will prove how cold, horrible or conflicted he is.

Dialogue provides white space for the reader.

Not unless a dialogue is turned into a whole speech, it allows for white space. It is literally that empty space on a page that lets your eyes “breathe” or rest. They will need rest after reading loooong paragraphs. I even learned this in my journalism class in college. Dialogues being often shorter allow that break, which then allows the brain to more clearly process what has been read.

 

Alright, so far, those are what I know. I did do a research and found more valuable information. I have collated resources and listed them down below. I suggest you pay them a visit.

Importance of Dialogue to the Readers

It mentions about dialogue also being…

  • critical to plot advancement
  • a tool of foreshadowing
  • one way readers learn about the setting and conflict in a story’s exposition

Reasons for Using Dialogue in a Story

It listed down more ways dialogues help in stories, such as in making the story advance, developing the characters, increasing the story’s pace and dynamics, and showing what is happening rather than telling it.

“How important is dialogue in a novel?”

Writers shared what they know about dialogues. They may echo what have already been said here, but there are more valuable nuggets of knowledge and wisdom to be found.

 

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It is always my pleasure to share, so I am hoping you gleaned at least one thing from this post. Be back tomorrow!!!

D is for “Dialogue”. Like you don’t know it yet. PFFFT.

This piece serves as my Letter D post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

If you’re interested:

A for Alibata – How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

B for Block – “How do you personally deal with writer’s block?”

C for Contents – Contents with all the Feels