Repost from WEBLAHG: Why Know?

I hoped to have a guest post for today, but that didn’t happen. So I’m scraping this from my old, defunct WEBLAHG for your reading pleasure. Please note, EEL’S REVERENCE is no longer available (I think) until I rewrite it because people DID find errors and DID let me know.

I’ve had this discussion with people recently and I’ve read discussions in various fora (plural of forum is fora, not forums. You’re welcome.) lately.

YES, an engrossing story and compelling characters are important. Being able to tell a story with impact and heart cannot be taught, and is the soul of moving and memorable writing.

But that thing somebody told you about, “Don’t worry about the spelling and punctuation and stuff–that’s what editors are for”–you know, that thing? NOT! Let me put that another way: WAY NOT!!!!!

I’m currently doing line edits of EEL’S REVERENCE. That means, my children, that I have to go through the copy, embarrassed about how many technical errors I didn’t catch the first sebbenty-lebben times I went through it. Punctuation errors, spelling errors, words left out (or left in, after I changed part of a sentence)…. I’ve been SO irritated, when reading a published book, to find sloppy editing, and I’ve growled at the “editor” about it. Now I find that I’M supposed to be the one to catch those things!

So remember: If you should buy a copy of EEL’S REVERENCE, and if you should find any technical errors in it…. Um, yeah, um, BLAME MY EDITOR! Gosh, why didn’t he catch that stuff? Yeah, yeah, I have been ill served. Not my fault. Totally.

The good news is, spelling, punctuation, word choice, grammar–all the technical skills–CAN be taught.

Get yourself a good current style book or book about writing. Look on the internet. Here are some good sites I found in a few minutes of Googling:

Do your best, but write with heart and clarity and you’ll carry most of your readers with you.


A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Have a character write another character a note which has a different meaning than intended because of a spelling, grammatical or punctuation error. The classic example might be a note from your wife, who has left to visit her mother: love you leaving you turkey. “Love you? Leaving you, Turkey!” is quite a bit different from “Love you! Leaving you turkey.”


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Repost from WEBLAHG: Why Know?

  1. Bob Sanchez

    November 11, 2013 at 3:36pm

    Yes, the author should never blame the editor, IMHO. Get it read by friends, fix what they find, and re-read several times–not for the beauty of your words, but strictly to find errors. Make believe the author is someone else, and you’d love to find all her mistakes.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 11, 2013 at 4:38pm

      Bob, it seems it doesn’t matter HOW MANY TIMES I have a piece edited, as soon as it’s printed, I find an oops. ~sigh~ But, yeah, ultimately, it’s MY responsibility. Hey, maybe I can HIRE somebody to take the rap! 😉

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