Tuesday, 16 October 2012

So I'm Not That Awesome, Yet

So I mentioned yesterday some problems I had when it came to writing. Some, rather quite frankly, prevalent problems that really should have been dealt with. I have two major ones; sentence fragments, and rushing things.

A sentence fragment is basically something that doesn't stand alone as a sentence. An incomplete sentence, if you will. Yesterday I actually did some reading up on them, and some exercises to try and recognise and correct them. Some are really obvious, and they tend to be ones that I do deliberately. Others are not so obvious, and tend to be ones I make accidentally. Though, it seems, sentence fragments should never ever be used except in the first person, when doing some kind of stream of consciousness monologue. Those are probably something I do incredibly well. I'm quite good at the whole stream of consciousness thing. The thing is though, as grammatically correct as I am (and boy am I) I tend to write in a rather informal fashion when writing fiction. When writing blog posts too for that matter. They're more fun. That's probably a sentence fragment but fuck it. Informal text, while accurate, is boring and monotonal. Sadly though it seems that I am destined to write like that, if I wish to be taken seriously as a writer, or even regarded as a good writer. I think another thing I can do quite well is incur emotion and evoke it, even when I feel like I'm being monotonal. I guess that if I try, I can do it. I also guess that if you can put emotion into something that comes across as boring, then you are truly good at conveying emotion. If I think something is cold and unemotional because it's formal and monotonal, and you disagree, then it shows what a writer I can be. Take the last IS update, inside I was thinking "People aren't going to like this. I'm introducing a random new character and returning Geoff to his base values. Fucking with all his character development." But people didn't really see it like that. What I really wanted to get through got through, no matter what I thought of it. That seems like an almost entirely different problem really.

Another, perhaps lesser, problem, is of course my tendency to rush things. See I thought that all the stories were complete, but my editor disagreed. He said that it was obvious I was rushing them and if I took the time to look over them again, I could probably add more to them. I'm not a massive fan of letting something sit, and then going over it again. I need to go back and edit IS but I keep putting it off. I don't edit podcasts. But this is something I can't just accept as perfect straight away. I do see the point of going back to something and adding to it later. He also mentioned inconsistencies. I don't remember any of those either, but it's more than possible when you're rushing something. Sometimes I think that I think differently. Everything just comes to me as I write. It's like I become someone else in a way. Someone who can actually write. (more God damn sentence fragments. Burn in Hell whoever invented the sentence fragments rule! Fucker.) Because it's like a whole other state to me, one I can only really be in when I'm writing, it's hard for me to go back and look at my work. My lack of confidence in it just adds to that problem. I do plan on going back to the short stories though, and giving them another read. He said he fixed it for grammar, but he couldn't do everything and returned it to me how it was. Hopefully by adding more to it I don't just undo everything that he did for me.

So, when can you expect some kind of release date? I don't know. Some time after the pressure causes me to off myself and I become a smash hit in death and they release my book posthumously and everyone buys it because the profits go to charity instead of lining my pockets.

Okay, things aren't likely to be that bad, but it really is a good sign that I took the time to learn, and wanted to try and improve my writing, rather than breaking down and just telling myself how much I fucking suck at something I thought I was good at.

P.S I'm not actually really mad at anything. I thanked the editor for being honest and sincere with me and letting me know. We even had a laugh over grammar because I missed a comma. A GOD DAMN COMMA. But I'd tell someone else off for missing a comma. My sentences are either too long or too short. I love my editor though, in a totally manly way mind.

I never got that phrase. Surely gay love is the manliest love of all? I mean, have you seen some of those guys. Some are very fanciful sure, but some are jacked up and the manliest things I've seen this side of Chuck Norris' beard.

Anyway, I'll be going now. This was, much like my sentences, far too long. Congratulations if you read all of it.

Sadly you win no prize.


  1. I'm the complete opposite of you I guess. I edit the crap out of everything I do, mentally and physically.

    If it doesn't look perfect to me, I'll sit there until it does.

    Theresa's even worse, even after an edit session I can hand whatever I was working on and get it back covered in red.

  2. I'm exactly the same. I have a tendency to fragment my sentences also, but I think that's more down to the style of writing I go for. It tends to be rather "stream of conciousness", but I also try to make it a punchier to highlight jokes and punchlines. This mean I quite often include shorter sentences which probably don't make a lot of sense out of context. Sometimes I'll use a fragmented sentence for a stark contrast from the previous sentence.

    I wouldn't worry about it unless your editor thinks it's a big problem. From what I've seen of your writing, the fragmented sentences don't detract from what you're doing. That's just my opinion though.

  3. You just had me laughing, Mark! "the manliest things I've seen this side of Chuck Norris' beard."

    I'm screwed when it comes time for editing. No, wait, I'm fucked. My style of writing is this - "Hey, this just popped into my head, I'm totally writing it down." I have zero sentence structure, I ramble, I use a million commas, my characters all use horrible grammar and short sentences because that's how I picture them speaking in my demented brain. So, if I were to turn my stuff over to an editor, once it returned, I'd be in a puddle on the floor crying.

  4. I just write. Whether I'm using proper grammar, I don't know. I just do it and the end result turns out ok.

  5. Well, it's good to have your own style so that people can readily indentify you. If the sentence fragment and go on without a hitch are being too disruptive, then I see no problem with it. It's be a different story if you were writing a thesis on the relativity of farts or something, but I feel as though short stories can take on the style of their authors. Then again, I've never released any of my work to the public, so I'm not the best source of judgement.

  6. You have to remember Mark that you're still young and obviously will have a lot of improvement to make, that's unavoidable and isn't even a bad thing because learning is part of life and you can't really change that. I'm glad that you're learning and you'll continue to improve man, you're a great writer, this just might take time or more than you had been anticipating at least.

  7. As one of my professors once said in college, "writing rules" are for people who are not writers.

    I like your writing, whether or not you use run-on sentences. You have a distinct style and a strong voice, which makes it easy to read. :)

  8. Bear in mind that proper grammar should never feel like a cage. Mich is correct in his comment; the greatest writers always pushed the limits of what was considered acceptable. The key thing though, is the flow of the writing: it's best for a written piece to flow from sentence to sentence within a single paragraph, because a paragraph represents a single idea. I'll admit, I'm tainted by academic writing, where grammar is necessary and an important part of the stylistic foundation, but across everything I have ever read that is in the third person narrative, the over-arching similarity is the utilization of proper English grammar (other than The Road by Cormac McCarthy. That Dude hates punctuation). It can be avoided in dialogue, due to use of vernacular and humanity's predisposition to single word responses and sentence fragments. And of course, the way to completely not care about grammar is utilize the first-person: like Addman said, Stream of Consciousness tends to completely ignore grammatical guidelines because it reflects direct thoughts (or it's supposed to). The key, though, is and always will be flow. A choppy piece of writing is tougher to read

  9. Pfft, whenever I do my blog posts I go overboard on the sentence fragments. I write my blog posts in the same manner that I talk. Short, choppy, digressive.

    But I can see what your editor was getting at by trying to get you to correct things.

    I tend to rush things with my art, but I think that's just how the creative process works. We just get so excited to get our thoughts and ideas out that we forget to take our time and pace ourselves.

  10. Is this your editor?


  11. >fucking with Geoff's character development
    Throwing him back to how he first was is characters development man, and you're doing a reMARKable good job at it.

    Also, cool it in the sentence fragment hate. Your blog posts are your stream of consciousness, so they're allowed.

  12. There is always room for improvement in one's writing. Though I have read many articles or whatever, by professional writers, that could have easily been written by a high school student. Yet, these people write for a living. It is a career that has a lot to do with who you know. Most people in general, don't have much use for me (because I am very low on society's totem pole), much less big shots in powerful positions that could help me get published. I would never even bother taking my writing to those types to try to get published anymore. It's all a matter of opinion anyway. Some people will like your writing, and some won't. I myself, find it much more realistic to take my case directly to the people, and hopefully gain some notoriety that way. Unless, you do know some "big cheese" that can help you get your foot in the door. I sure don't, and don't think much of "big cheeses" anyhow, unless they are on my Burger King sandwich.


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