The Mad Author
Jean Tennant


Posted Friday, April 1, 2011, at 7:22 AM
View 10 comments
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  • This makes my head hurt just thinking about it. I wouldn't have noticed the apostrophe without you mentioning it. I think it looks ok with it.

    -- Posted by farmergirl.sp on Sun, Apr 3, 2011, at 8:42 PM
  • I have 3 half finished manuscripts and just started a new one. Your comment about determination hits home.

    I think it looks like it needs the apostrophe in the title. But frankly I would have just chosen a different title rather than worry about if it was right or wrong. :)

    -- Posted by ggilmore on Mon, Apr 4, 2011, at 10:12 AM
  • I didn't notice the apostrophe. But I did notice you start some sentences with And and But.

    Back (way back) to my high school English, I thought that wasn't supposed to be done?

    -- Posted by DHarris on Wed, Apr 6, 2011, at 8:25 AM
  • ggilmore, I honestly thought about just changing the title. In other circumstances I might have, but in this case to shy away from something I was uncertain about felt like a cop-out.

    I'm still not sure which is the right way, and I've received several emails with opinions that are divided pretty much down the middle.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Apr 6, 2011, at 7:01 PM
  • DHarris,

    I tend to start sentences with "And" and "But" on a fairly regular basis, and from what I understand it's considered less formal. And since I write in a conversational tone, it seems appropriate.

    At the website www.dailywritingtips.com, I found this:

    "While it is acceptable to use such conjunctions to start a sentence, you should still use them carefully and efficiently, else your text might become choppy."

    Sounds like good advice to me.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Apr 6, 2011, at 7:06 PM
  • About the title: if i were to get my work published, isn't something like the correct punctuation something the editor would take care of anyway?

    -- Posted by charliegarrett on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 9:27 AM
  • Speaking as someone who makes her living, such as it is, editing books and other documents -- yes, the editor will "take care of it," but that doesn't mean the writer shouldn't make the effort to know and understand the rules of punctuation and grammar.

    Correct usage makes the words flow better and makes it more likely an agent or editor will help you get your work published.

    The latest novel I edited, I almost didn't take on the project because there were hardly any paragraph breaks on any page, his use of quotation marks and other punctuation was just crazy, and the descriptions and everything else were heavily over-written.

    I took the time to see through all that and see that he had created beautiful, funny, heartbreaking characters, one of good and one of evil, but each with their fascinating histories.

    Not everyone will hunt for the treasure in your work like that.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 8:51 PM
  • I couldn't have said it better myself, Amy.

    Few editors will turn away a well-written, engaging story because of a couple of punctuation errors. But the writer who wants his/her work to stand out from the rest should take care to present it in as professional a light as possible.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 9:32 PM
  • I worry in the extreme about grammer correctness. I believe the publisher should not have to wade through my lack of professionalism. I do make errors and appreciate a good editor who is able to make the written word better and keep the focus of the sentence clear for the reader.

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Sun, Apr 10, 2011, at 11:32 PM
  • I like the title in lower case. Using all upper case, and there are times when that is required, e.g. ATTENTION: (in a business letter) appears as a writer shouting at the reader; but I can appreciate the feeling of consistency in using all upper case in your titles.

    -- Posted by Firstogo on Mon, Apr 11, 2011, at 10:00 PM
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