By Paul F. Murray
Writing your first novel—grammar and punctuation. Writing your first article.
So you want to make legitimate money through a work-at-home project? One way is Wealthy Affiliate. See my article post “Wealthy Affiliate–Legitimate, non-scam moneymaker” for further information about WA and a link to their website. Another way that many people think of, is writing the great American novel, or writing articles for online or magazine publication. Is this the right choice for you? The first and most important way to determine if novel-writing or article-writing is the right choice for you is to determine your ability to write. Seems almost too logical, but as a book reviewer for over two years, and an author of online articles, I have seen some great writing, some so-so writing, and some novels and articles by authors who should never have written that first paragraph, let alone an entire opus.
I’m talking about grammar and punctuation. Did you pass your English composition and reading classes with A’s and B’s (at the worst) in third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades? Most newspapers are geared toward a seventh grade reading level, and you should be at least able to write at that level before you start work on a novel or article. No article or novel—I mean NO novel or article—is enjoyable, regardless of the plot or content, if it is written with poor punctuation and grammar that is going to distract a reader, maybe even halt a reader in his or her tracks and take the reader out of the story or topic.
Take this example, which is typical of what I have seen from some “authors” who simply cannot write at a professional level: “he’s just nt wright for her. Jack said.” And anyway what does, Tom that I dont have,. Muney? Oky, so Tom has muney. I still, think “ he’s nott wright for Jeny.
I’ve seen entire novels written with sentences that bad! Believe me, when a reader has to saw through misplaced quotation marks, misplaced commas, misspelled words, missing quotation marks, missing commas, missing question marks, periods where they don’t belong, lack of proper capitalization, and whatever else, the reader is severely hindered from forming a picture in his or her mind’s eye of what is happening in the story and instead is focusing upon all of the mistakes the author has made.
The solution for an author with poor grammar and punctuation? There are plenty of grammar and punctuation guides for adults available online through a Google search or another search engine, guides for adults that either need a refresher or who had trouble learning proper grammar and punctuation in grade school. Another solution is to spend the money to hire a professional editor, or even hire a ghostwriter. (Ghostwriters don’t come cheap.)
It goes without saying that no reputable publisher is ever going to accept a manuscript that is not pristine in its writing. Many publishers get hundreds of queries a month for, maybe, a dozen or less publishing slots.
Paul F. Murray is the author of “Freedom’s Long March”, “The Gifts and The Fruits”, “West of the Sunset” and “Against the Wild Green Range”, all of which are available on Amazon.com. He is currently working on several more novels for his publisher.