I read a blog post recently about the use of correct grammar in creative writing, where the author was questioning if there are any hard and fast rules.

It depends…

Are you writing only for pleasure or a hobby? If so, it doesn’t matter whether or not you use the correct verb tense, misplace a modifier, or use quotation marks when you should have used italics, or vice versa.

But if you are a serious writer, are self-publishing or looking for an agent, you can’t pitch the rules out the window. Some think if you tell an engaging story, your manuscript will be snatched up, and an editor will fix the poor grammar; that’s not going to happen unless you have a unique angle, such as being raised on a remote island by a family of seals. A few grammatical mistakes and typos most likely will be overlooked; but a manuscript littered with errors will not. And as for self-publishing, yes, you can publish your book sans editing. But do you really want your sloppy grammar out there for all the world to see?

It all boils down to whether, for you, writing is an avocation or vocation. If it’s an avocation, you can throw caution—or nouns and verbs—to the wind. Write with impunity. But if writing is a vocation, tread that grammatical minefield with care, even on your personal blog. When considering whether or not to take you on, literary agents and publishers have been known to google your name or byline, with many asking outright for the address of your blog/website. So it’s best that any piece of writing with your name attached to it is as error-free as you can make it.

Some use blogging as a pastime. Some use it to stretch their creative legs. How you use blogging should dictate your adherence to proper grammar.

©2019 KT Workman

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KT Workman

KT Workman grew up in the rural South without the benefit of cell phones or the Internet, a time and place that has heavily influenced her writing. To this day, when she puts pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—nine times out of ten her mind veers south onto that old, familiar road. It goes home. KT resides in Arkansas where she writes a wide variety of gothic and speculative fiction, poetry, and dabbles in watercolor painting and amateur photography.

11 thoughts on “Rules”

    1. Amen to that!
      Years ago, I read somewhere that you first have to follow the rules, then you can break them. I guess it boils down to knowing when you’re taking “creative license” and not ignorance of the rules.
      And I’m still learning…seems as if The Rules can be open to interpretation at times.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is what I find too! The rules are open to interpretation and everyone likes theirs the best 😉

        I think you hit the nail on the head in the fact that you have to at least know the rules enough to follow them before you break them.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thankful am I that my writing is nothing more than writing using heart more than mind.
    I have found the best of writers on a Goodwill shelf. Thankful mine won’t make it that far.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You hit the nail on the head KT! That’s about as accurate a piece as they come. I feel like I’m always learning when I visit your blog and I love the positivity you spread in your comments. BTW I now know the word avocational exists and I know it’s meaning thanks to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think there is also the matter of respect. Both for oneself, as well as one’s reader. If you don’t have enough respect, for what you are writing, to take the time to correct those grammatical errors, how can you expect your reader to do so? Sloppy is sloppy. It suggests that you don’t care, not about the writing, not about your topic, and perhaps not about your reader. I go back and reread everything I write, several times. And yet, might go back and read something written four years ago that includes a misspelling, or some minor misuse of punctuation. Something I missed even though I am careful about rechecking. When I find it, I take the time to correct it. If you want to keep your audience, it’s best to put your best foot forward.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you 100%, Elizabeth. I do my best on every piece I write, reread everything multiple times, and still an occasional mistake slips past. I hate that, and fix it as soon as I become aware of it. And like you, I’ve made corrections on things I wrote years ago. I don’t think a lot of people much care anymore how they present themselves. It’s a changing world.

    Liked by 1 person

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