Holy !@#$ and WOW! Man do I suck at grammar. I just finished an extraordinary book by Brian Shawver titled ‘The Language Of Fiction: A Writer’s Stylebook’
that deals with, what is probably, some of the most boring, yet more prominent, aspects of creative writing: grammar, punctuation, syntax, and writing style. Now before you roll your eyes and skip on to the next website, I’m here to let you know that this guy deserves a freaking’ medal or statue erected of his likeness because he takes a boring subject such as grammar and punctuation and turns it into a page turning phenom that will inform, amuse, and enthrall the reader—no kidding. For example, he illustrates his points with quotes from the Faulkner and Hemmingway side of the spectrum, all the way over to quoting Cady Shack. That’s pretty cool in my book. You’ll learn about participial phrases, dialogue formatting, diction, comma splices, run-ons, semicolons, verb tense shifting, and so much more that has probably never crossed your mind while writing.
At one point he states, “I generally advise my students to disable Microsoft’s grammar-check function when they write fiction. It’s not an anti-technology statement — I’m all for anything that gives you a linguistic advantage, such as the spell-check and the thesaurus features. My problem with grammar-check is that it’s often incorrect.”
Shawver, Brian (2012-12-08). The Language of Fiction: A Writer’s Stylebook (p. 123). UPNE. Kindle Edition.
I was stunned to read this—I greatly depend on Word to find and fix my grammar mistakes. Not now. So, with this in mind I searched the web in hopes of finding a reliable grammar-checking program and came across Grammarly. I started with a 7-day free trial and ran some of my short stories through it and couldn’t believe the mistakes it caught that Word let slip by. Grammarly is a little expensive but well worth the money I believe.
I would recommend both the book and software to any new fiction writer.
Once again, I apologize to those that have read any of my stories and had to deal with my lack of grammar skills. I’m slowly learning day to day.