WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
Today, I’m asking for your input on something. I hope you’ll give me some honest feedback about this. Not what you think I want to hear but what you really think.
Let me start by admitting that substance is more important than form. The story you tell is more important than the grammar you use in telling. I realize that. But in my opinion that doesn’t mean grammar is of no importance at all.
A lot of authors are putting out a lot of good books with powerful stories these days. With the burgeoning growth of e-publishing I expect to see a real explosion in the number of new books coming out. That should provide a lot of good reading. But . . .
(Please don’t take what I’m about to say as a personal affront. This is about all those other writers, not you.)
Most of the books I read seem to be written with fifth grade grammar. I may be alone here, but it takes me out of a story when the author makes gross grammatical errors. I lose track of the story and dwell on the poor grammar. Probably most people are not as OCD about this as I am, but I’ll bet you have a pet grammatical error that puts you off, too.
We can find books and conferences and seminars and online courses about using social media, writing successful blogs, and structuring novels, but there’s little available to help with the use of the language. It’s a situation I’d like to help correct. Several writers I know were talking about fields of expertise recently, and grammar seemed to be the only writing-related field where I possess any real expertise.
I may be given an opportunity to develop an online course in grammar for writers and link up with a source that would send potential enrollees to me. This idea appeals to me, especially if I could develop a large enough customer stream to make it profitable.
In order to develop the course, however, I would have to take time away from other writing. I have no idea how much time, but I know it would be significant. Well worth my while if the course developed enough income for me to offset the loss from delaying getting a book published.
On the other hand, the whole thing would be a colossal waste of time if it turns out no one was interested in such a course. I’d be much better off continuing what I’m doing in that case.
What do you think? Are you satisfied with your own mastery of grammar? Would you be interested in such a course? If you’re satisfied with your own, do you think most writers are okay with their use of the language? Please comment with some honest opinions.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and is currently writing a book of Christian inspiration and insight.