Sunday, July 27, 2008

Perfection

Country Bumpkin Jack said on AW:

How perfect does your manuscript need to be for an editor to consider it seriously? (Assuming that the story is good.)

For example, does every bit of punctuation need to be perfect? I'm as careful as I know how to be, but I tend to abuse commas. For example, in the previous sentence, should there be a comma where I placed it? (Between be and but?) If it doesn't belong there and I submitted a manuscript containing such an error, would an editor think I'm a dolt and just toss the manuscript aside?


How perfect do writers need to be?


I said:

Make it the BEST you can, then submit and forget about it.

There's no such thing as ABSOLUTE perfection. Trying to reach for that is a recipe for misery and insanity.

If you have a great story, great characters, and a great style, I'm sure the agent will look past the occasional grammatical and spelling errors.

If your writing sucks, it doesn't matter how great your grammar is.

But it doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to the mechanics. But don't let them distract from your story and characters.

Do the BEST you can.

7 comments:

Joe Iriarte said...

Commas are largely a matter of style and not correctness anyway. That said, yes, when you separate two independent clauses with a conjunction, there should also be a comma before the conjunction.

-o-

Hey Ray, I don't know if you can help me with this, but I have a stupid technical question. I like how your quotes look, with those light grey quotation marks. On my template, quotes are simply italicized, which I think is pretty weak. I don't want to switch my template, because I think mine suits me. But do you know a way to change just the qay quotes are handled to look something like yours, while keeping the rest the same?

Joe Iriarte said...

*way

I actually meant to hit "preview," but somehow hit "publish" instead. Argh. Irony, how I hate thee!

Ray Wong said...

I was just wondering what is a "gay" quote. :)

What you can do is to save a copy of the "Quote" image to Photobucket or Flickr or something. Then you can just change your quote font to gray, then add the graphic at the beginning of the quoted paragraph. Do you know HTML? It's pretty easy to do, or you can just use the "add picture" icon on blogger itself.

Joe Iriarte said...

Can that be done in the template, or are you saying each time I quote something?

I know a little bit of html; I know next to nothing about CSS though, which is what the template is in.

Hmm . . . off to poke around . . .

Ray Wong said...

I'm sure you can change your template to do this, but it's more involved and you need to know how to code CSS.

Joe Iriarte said...

Actually, I seem to have figured it out. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

(I temporarily switched over to your template so that Blogger would let me see the html, snipped the blockquote code from the html view, and then put my template back and stuck the code in. Then I tweaked the image, because it had a white background and I needed it to have a transparent one, and I hosted it myself.)

Ray Wong said...

That's cool and probably the best way to do it!