We’ve all heard it said that what agents and publishers really want is someone who can write a good story. It’s the story that matters, the story that will make or break a publishing deal. And I’ve no doubt that is true.
But I’m sure we’ve also all heard it said that first impressions count. And, while it might be nice to think that we can just leave all that grammar and punctuation stuff to some future editor, it pays to make as positive an impression as possible to make sure that future editor will one day be secured. For sloppy grammar and punctuation is often a red flag for sloppy writing. And when you’ve only got a short space in which to convince a potential agent or publisher to continue reading your work, why not make the best impression you can?
For those of us raised in a school system that didn’t teach more than the basics of grammar and punctuation, the whole concept of getting good at it seems daunting. Many New Zealand English speakers don’t start to get a feeling for the grammar of their own language (let alone an adequate vocabulary to discuss it) until they start learning another. So most of us simply write as we speak – instinctively. But there are some useful tips we can learn to polish our grammar and punctuation skills. Which is lucky for us – because if we want to catch that agent/publisher’s eye, we want our writing to shine brighter than a rough diamond.
First tip coming up!