Wow, there's not a lot I can say about the brouhaha going on over at AAR. As an aspiring-to-be-published author, I'm reading with rapt attention, let me tell you. And these ladies terrify me. I'm an English major and I hope like HELL I can find dangling modifiers and split infinitives and all that jazz. But I just know that some are bound to get past me (hell, they get past me on this blog). And then what? Here's Adele Ashworth defending her book, but according to the Smart Bitches, it isn't defensible. (Bear in mind that I have not read the book, nor read a sample, so I'm not coming down on one side or the other here.)
FOR THE RECORD, every single reference you sited as incorrect, in this post and the other where you copied sentences, has been taken out of context. It's like reading a love scene aloud, by itself, over the radio or to a bunch of non-romance-reading friends. It sounds silly, and yes, maybe even pornographic. But when read as a whole, romance novels are neither. You've taken my sentences apart, and although I suppose I'm flattered that you spent so much time on it, I'm a little unnerved that, although you haven't said so in words, you're apparently touting yourself as a far better writer than I — with my sentences and words taken apart piece by piece, and most importantly, out of context. Frankly, by your comments, I seem like a totally inept writer who, along with the publishing community, is attempting to “bad-grammar” you out of your hard earned money.
Is the author responsible for every misspelled word, dangling modifier, split infinitive, etc, in her text? Does the reader have the right to demand perfection, or as near to perfection as possible, in the book she plunks down her cash for? (I know that typos irritate the crap out of me. Grammatical errors usually make me stumble, but not always. Damn, I'm doomed….). Can grammatical errors be taken ‘out of context'?
Still, you have continued to take apart my FICTION novel as if it's YOUR duty to expose me as an incompetent writer who has written a foolish story. I have to say, I kind of resent that. If you don't enjoy my books for what they are, please don't read them anymore. Since you think you know the English language so well, please, write a book yourself. It's not as easy to do as you may think.
So what do you think? Is anyone right? Is anyone wrong? Is there a middle ground here? I don't know about you, but this stuff makes me want to hang up my pen and go play in the ocean all day. I'm already an obsessive proofreader, but sometimes it takes days for me to understand just why a particular sentence I wrote bothered me so much.
In truth, I feel for Ms. Ashworth. I also feel for the readers who demand quality and feel they didn't get it. Oh man, that ocean is looking good right now…….
Frankly… I think the whole brouhaha is silly. If she was sending her novel to an academic venue, then yes, she needs to worry about grammar. BUT, when the grammar is part of the story… NO, No, and NO…
I try not to write dangling modifiers, but that is how we talk. So if you do not let the thing happen, then the writing becomes stiff and… academic.
🙂 And, I have used fragments to good effect in fiction and in essays.
It does sound ridiculous, I agree. I haven’t read a sample, but the readers seem to think the errors are over the top. If that’s the case, you have to wonder what happened during the editing process.
OTOH, I think anything goes in dialogue. 🙂
After reading through the different threads over on AAR, the thing that struck me most was that the whole thing could have been avoided had Ms Ashworth not responded negatively to a negative review in a public forum.
I has always been my understanding that one of the unspoken rules of author etiquette was: Never respond to a negative review.
Sheesh… here part of your post was about grammar and typos and authors getting it right and I go and make typo in my reply.
That last sentence should have read:
It has always been my understanding that one of the unspoken rules of author etiquette was: Never respond to a negative review.
You hit on a good point, Lynn. Is there any editing going on anymore?
I agree, Sue, though I don’t blame her for getting upset. But you’re right, it got worse when she spoke up. I thought her response had some valid points, but it didn’t do her any good in the end.
Terry, I’ve heard yes and no. So who knows which it is, really? I guess it depends on the house, though someone I know who writes for Dorchester says they are KNOWN for not editing much.