Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kind (#atozchallenge)

Welcome to today's post on the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. My challenge, as I have chosen to accept it, is thus: I have asked on my Facebook and Twitter accounts for people to contribute random words beginning with today's letter. From Random.org, I have selected one of these words, and will below challenge myself to connect said word to writing.

For the letter K, I received 39 suggestions. Random.org selected number 7: kind.

PS--My Mondays and Wednesdays have me running around without good internet access all day until 9pm EST (US). I'll get back to you, but it might be late tonight.


What kind of kind shall I kind of discuss? The kind in which we discuss a sort of thing, or the kind in which I discuss the value quality of someone's personality?

GAH! I'm such a geek :)
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons
Is your head spinning? Mine is.

English is full of homonyms (e.g., kind the noun and kind the adjective), homographs (lead the ore and lead the verb), and homophones (two, too, and to; your and you're).

What's a writer to do with all this nonsense?

When it comes to homonyms like kind and kind, usually the context will make it clear to our readers what we're talking about. Not so bad.

Homographs get a little trickier. In the above examples, I mention lead (as in "Alchemists claim turning lead into gold") and lead (as in "The duck leads her babies to the pond"). This is usually okay, too, until we throw past tense in the mix. Have you ever written something like "The duck lead her babies to the pond" when you MEANT "The duck LED her babies to the pond"?

You don't have to admit it. We all know we do this, at least in that first draft when we're too excited to self-edit.

But Homophones are the worst. They're sneakier than those gnomes that hide in your drier waiting to steal your socks and use them for their little gnomy purposes. Your writing along, and their you have this horrible mistake where you meant to write "you're", but "your" just jumped in they're.

Yes, I know what I did in that paragraph.
If you send a manuscript to an editor with those mistakes rampant across the page, s/he's not going to read it. Talk about fodder for the slush pile!

So what to do? Fret away? Lose sleep wondering over what words are wrong? Chew your nails down to tiny stubs? (Wait, with all the typing we do, does anybody have long nails to begin with?)

No, my friends. There is a solution. Learn to self-edit.

Now, if you're reading this, I've probably read your blog, too, and, frankly, I haven't read many blogs out there where I would consider the author in dire need of a self-editing intervention. BUT, if you are in need of some suggestions, here's a place to start:

Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell.

Want more suggestions? Check out this resource.

Still think there might be a problem? Save your nails, folks. You can always hire an editor. Some are cheaper than others, but if you can't edit your own work, make sure SOMEONE does before you send it in.

Or else the slush pile is waiting.

Do you self-edit? How did you learn your grammar tricks? Or are you just a grammar genius? (if you are, don't rub it in much :)

Today I'm taking suggestions for the letter R. Have any? Leave them below! Thanks :)


Jules said...

Are you writing about me? My gravest weakness, grammar. Those darn homophones :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

You even see horrible mistakes in the books published by the "majors" nowadays. It's a bit ridiculous.

I'm not a wizard, or Rain Man, of grammar, and make my share of mistakes, I'm sure. But, I'll quit reading a book if I encounter too many mistakes at the start. Nice links in your post! And, great topic for the challenge.

LTM said...

I am able to self edit, but for the really deep stuff or repetition, that's where critters are SO invaluable~

great post, Rosie! :o) <3

Carol Riggs said...

I do okay with the grammar stuff but I still slip up! My critters (perhaps yourself even) have caught you're for your and similar mistakes. Argh!!! A good reason NEVER to send things off w/o a read-over from other people. :)

Talli Roland said...

I'm sort of lucky that I worked as an editor, so I learned quite a bit about copy editing. Still, it's so easy to miss your own typos, etc. An extra eye (not your own!) is invaluable.

Anonymous said...

I've worked as an editor and proofreader, but I still need an extra pair of eyes for my work. That's just the nature of the beast. Great post... I love where it started and where it ended up.

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