Lord, help me. I am so attached to my words and commas… even the bad ones. I’ve finished the first really ugly round of edits for Saving Emily. Trust me – it really was ugly. And not just for me. I actually felt sorrier for my editor than I did for myself. I’m betting she’s wishing she’d opted for the week in Kandahar without body armor instead of agreeing to be my editor.
As always happens, I had to go through the five stages of grief in the editing process. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I moved through some of the steps faster than others, but at one point I’d stalled out.
Okay, I stalled out at Anger. I admit it.
I was angry with myself. There are days when I think I might actually be getting the hang of this writing thing, but then reality sets in. That reality is usually in the form of a butt load of red ink from either Marcia or Arwen. In this case, it was Marcia who had her hands full.
I’m not sure why I am still incapable of recognizing the subject and the verb, but I know it still happens because I occasionally (Okay! More than occasionally, but certainly not frequently!) insist upon separating those two things by a comma. Or is it with a comma? By, with, whatever! Apparently, choosing the appropriate one of those words is yet another deficiency I must work on.
The point is, I still have issues with grammar, including (more than occasionally) misplaced modifiers. Also, much to my chagrin, I apparently am not always able to properly identify the individual components of language on any given day. This week it was what is and isn’t a preposition. My editors both lovingly point out those things to me. Lovingly means they are giggling and pointing.
My failure to grasp the subtleties of the English language is frustrating to me. Okay! It’s really a failure to grasp the BASICS of the English language. I admit it. Are you happy now? This failure has led to a long pause in the Depression stage. Did I mention my pity party? I swear that I passed that eighth grade English home schooling session. It seems to me that the more I learn, the less I actually know. I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. I really do get it – when I see it. However, that does not mean that I can actually apply the things I know when I write. Which is why I need the editors.
I have finally moved on to Acceptance – this is the point where (as I mentioned earlier) I feel worse for my editors than I do for myself. I’ll keep plugging away at it, but I cannot guarantee that the annoying, comma, fairy, won’t, appear, at, unusual, moments, or that I will be able to rationally discuss a problem with a sentence using the proper terms. Sadly, I believe that both Marcia and Arwen will be pointing and giggling for some time yet.