Writing - Content VS Flawless Punctuation and Grammar
Someone said to me recently, "I didn't know you were writing a book" and I said, "neither did I". Let me explain. A year ago I had no idea about writing a book, well maybe I had a little niggling thought here and there. Previously I had blogged and enjoyed that tremendously. Then two years ago my life changed dramatically with the death of my husband Craig. In my grief I started writing letters to him every day, which I carried on with for weeks and months on end, before I began to find my way, and a new sense of normal for me. I also did a blog or two about him,
Then in March of this last year I found myself embarking on a journey I had never imagined, nor thought of before. I started writing a book.
Very quickly I was thrown into the world of "self publishing" . I parted with my money and started banging away on my computer keyboard. Two revisions later, one reading by a good friend and many readings by myself, I thought myself to be ready, and submitted my final proof to line up in the publishing queue. I thought it was perfect!
When I say "perfect" I mean of course I was very, very pleased with my story - my telling of my husband's and my life experience. I waited anxiously for word that my book was now in a queue for printing, and was so very excited to receive my first shipment of books - finally, a six month process all in all, from manuscript submission to printing.
The first thing I did, after racing over to my next door neighbour's house to show her my book, was sit down and read my own story from the perspective of a buyer. I wanted to see how it read, now that it was not just on paper, but was actually printed and bound in a lovely cover.
Somewhere along the way I saw that I left a word or two out, maybe two or three times throughout the whole book, but overall I was very happy with my story. Not to excuse myself, but I recalled reading published author's books through the years, that were not perfect.
A critic will also notice I have some punctuation errors - my bad!!
Written From The Heart
So here's a news flash, "My Book Is Not Perfect". The comma has escaped and hidden from me in total isolation sometimes. I confess also that I have on occasion, in the book, been guilty of "wordiness". Maybe there is a word in a part of a sentence, that would have been better in another part of the sentence. These are the flaws of my "imperfect book".
But I have written straight from my heart - a story that evoked emotion in those who have read it; even in those who have never met me before. This makes me extremely happy. Don't get me wrong, not that I want to see people cry, but I felt it was a testament to how my story was able to touch others.
What's More Important?
So I have been wondering about this. What do most people read for? Is it to enjoy a story, the content that makes us either laugh or cry? Whether it be fiction, true life, historical, autobiographical, thriller or romance; are we reading for the enjoyment of what we are getting out of the story line? Are we wanting to be entertained? Are we being critical as to whether the book is completely perfect in every way, grammatically correct, and appropriately punctuated? Does it truly matter if a comma here and there is missed, or a word is left out? Or, do we cut the writer a little slack in both poetic licence, and imperfection? That's my question.
While I was researching this topic I came across this "Peanuts" cartoon and it made me smile!
What do you look for when reading?
Lynda Matthews, Author of A Breath Away