What are writing tools? Guess for me they are what our English/French/German/Spanish language teachers taught us regarding syntax, all the grammar stuff: sentence structures, noun-verb agreements, prepositional phrases, the past tense, present tense, all the linguistic novelties of our native tongues.
Why this post about writing tools? Guess there really is no significant reason, except I was thinking about the subject because of a friend’s recent experience. The friend told me that he had paid someone to pass judgement on his fictional manuscript. The ‘review’ was not very positive, pointing out errors in grammar and the sequential development of plot. It turns out the reviewer was a would-be agent who (I believe) conned my friend into spending $350.00 to determine the merits of the book. The out of state ‘would-be agent’ had suggested the book had possibilities, but would need to see more than the samples he had been sent. The portion of the manuscript I saw, I liked, and vigorously told same to my friend.
My mind twirled some thoughts around, and I decided to share them in this post for whatever applicability they might have for anyone.
When I’m really on my game, when I’m writing and the words and phrases are running out my fingertips onto the laptop keys, there is not much thought given to syntax stuff. Oh, sure, in the editing and rewrites, I try to sharpen all the words, phrases, and paragraphs into what I think might be suitable to the critical eyes of readers. Well, guess what? I do not always catch a little syntax faux pas, maybe it was just missed by my not so discerning eyes, maybe because I didn’t learn the rules well enough from my English teacher. Finally, after many reads and edits of my manuscripts, the books are done, done to my satisfaction and not without a sense of exhiliration. Do the plot lines hold together well? Are the characters developed well enough? Is there enough in all those words to grab a reader’s attention?
Maybe I should know the answers to those questions, but I do not. You see, like many of you, I’m an independent writer, publisher, marketer, chief cook and bottle washer…a dunderhead, most likely, but it’s my way, my production, and I’ll be a thrilled little puppy dog when someone tells me he/she likes the book. I’ll also weep in silence when someone tells me he/she caught this mistake, or, didn’t care that much for the characters or the plot lines.
Listen up, good folks, there are reliable and wonderful editorial people who can help us, give us their positive ideas on how to make our books better, but, there comes a time when you trust what’s inside you. You go with what you’ve written, because you believe in yourself.
There are some truths we surely cannot change, like, we delude ourselves that we are writers, like, we are not as good as we think we are. We all have heard the singer who believes himself to be great but sounds like chalk on a blackboard. Sad truths, but truths nonetheless.
However, there is one set of truths you can take to the bank. Truth: the words you have penned are an important inner part of you, and you can like them all you want, despite what the experts might say. Truth: someone else is going to like what you write. You can rely on it. Truth: many of us have the need to write, for whatever reasons. For me, writing is therapy for the soul. Truth: with millions of writers, we cannot all reach the most favored status, but we can write. And that is exactly what we should do. Write because we have something to say to the world.
Everyone does not have to be listening for our words to be heard.
(No, don’t worry about the syntax of the last sentence.)