Monday, March 17, 2014

Commas ... Whatever

You guys sure know your grammar errors! 

Commas are the number one grammar-related error literary agents encounter. 

Does that mean that you should all log onto Amazon, buy the best grammar book in the world (i.e., Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares), and study Chapter 5.

Yes and no. 

You should all totally buy the book, but don’t bother reading Chapter 5.

It turns out that literary agents don’t care that much about commas. Here are quotes from three different agents:

“The improper use of the comma is probably the most common error I see. But commas are also one of the most complicated pieces of grammar, so this is often very forgivable.” 

“Commas seem to confound many young writers. I’m fairly flexible in the use of commas. Because comma rules can be confusing and arbitrary, I am less critical of comma errors than other types of errors.” 

“If you don’t know how to use commas, you’re better off underusing them than overusing them.”   

Well, guess what, literary agents, I don’t care about plot or character development or tone or style! So there!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Romantic Side

I’ve never seen The Notebook, I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day. I would roll my eyes if I walked into a candlelit bedroom with rose petals scattered on the bed.
In other words, I fear I am not terribly romantic. 

To prove, however, that I am not completely dead inside, I am a sucker for the movie Love Actually and I did do something romance-adjacent earlier this year. In January (can you believe it’s already March!) I gave a grammar workshop at the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writers Association. 

To prepare for the workshop, I interviewed literary agents about why grammar matters to them, the most common errors they encounter, and their biggest grammar pet peeves. And, because many of you are writers, I want to share my findings with you. 

But before I do that, I have a question for you: What do you think is the number one most common grammar-related error literary agents encounter?