Today’s guest blogger is Kat Duncan, creator and instructor for Want Style? Get Grammar – 101 – 103. I took this workshop a year or two ago (my memory isn’t that great). I also have a copy of her craft book Telling Grammar.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I heard the word grammar, I’d cringe. Boring. Dry. Let me work on another writing craft–anything but grammar. I forced myself to sign up for her workshop because understanding all the grammar rules was imperative if I wanted to be a writer. You know something? Under Kat’s instruction and lessons, she made grammar interesting. Even fun. So when she wrote her e-book Telling Grammar, I asked her to guest at Romance, She Wrote. I have a copy in my e-reader for handy reference. Thanks to Kat, I now enjoy grammar.
The past perfect, the present progressive, and the future conditional all walked into a bar. It was a tense situation. And that was before they got verbal. A few beers later a good time would have been had by all. But a grammar nazi arrested them for intransience and deported them to China where the past was no longer perfect, the present became too progressive and was denounced and the future was conditioned to toe the party line.
Grammar. Some people get the joke, and some people don’t. Some people view the whole topic as a confusing nightmare. Others get the gist of it, but don’t really feel comfortable with it. Still others understand it completely, but feel as if grammar is not a joking matter and its application should flow strictly according to the rules.
Jokes notwithstanding, the most-often quoted advice for writers is to get a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, read it and abide by its rules. I say, get a copy and read it to prepare yourself to break its rules. Good grammar is no joke because it can make or break your novel. Good old Strunk and White is a fine place to begin, but that hardy little volume was made for newspaper reporters, professors and business people. That’s why for fiction novelists its rules are ripe to be stretched, bent and even broken. What you want as a novelist is telling grammar. Telling grammar is grammar that is catchy, creative and chique. In my e-book, Telling Grammar, I tell you how to use grammatical techniques to best advantage in works of fiction.
If you don’t have a copy of Strunk and White handy, don’t worry. Telling Grammar includes a review of basic grammar and punctuation including parts of speech and capitalization. Don’t know the difference between a clause and a phrase? No matter. This little e-book will clear it up for you and show you lots of neat ways to put those clauses and phrases to good use in your fiction writing. Don’t sit around passively waiting for your grammar to improve, take action so the world can hear your creative voice! Don’t allow yourself to continue to be abused by usage errors, take a stand. Learn to identify common sentence pattern types and ways the sentence patterns and overall variety in sentence structure will improve the flow and rhythm of your fiction writing.
Additional lessons in the e-book address fiction styles and topics such as the pros and cons of first-person and third-person points of view, dialogue, showing versus telling, figurative language, techniques for highlighting important details and some elements of story structure. At less than $3US it’s a good investment in your writing skills. Telling Grammar is available at:
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/telling-grammar-kat-duncan/1112041104?ean=2940044674165
I’d love to give away a free copy of this e-book today. Just leave a comment to be entered into the random drawing. Looking forward to sharing grammar ideas with you!
Stop by to visit me anytime at: http://www.katduncan.net/writeabout
10 thoughts on “Grammar is No Joking Matter”
Yay Kat! Going to check out that grammar book now. I am worried that Present Unreal Conditional is dead. (If I were…I would). The other alternative (If I was…I would) sounds like vernacular to me. Any thoughts/advice?
Hi Kara, the conditional isn’t dead if you need it for very formal writing, such as a research paper or other academic work. Even in formal business writing, such as business propopsals, legal paperwork, etc., it’s very much alive. However, in fiction writing, especially in North America, it’s disappearing and you’re right that in common everyday vernacular English it’s practically unheard of. My advice is to present the reader with what they expect (vernacular) unless you have a good reason not to such as a character who speaks very formally such as a professor or perhaps a highly educated aristocrat. Good luck! 🙂
Stopped in from Romance Divas and glad I did. I just bought this tonight. I have the worst time with grammar. I get it, but it leaves me the minute I need it. I love having this as an ebook. Thanks.
Thanks for stopping by, Brenda! I’m glad you stopped by, too! 🙂
I’ m addig this one to my library.
Hi Marian, I’m glad you liked the blog. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
I could use this. I get stuck sometimes. Sounds like you had fun writing this, Kat. Grata on your release.
Thanks angel, yes I did have fun writing this…I always try to have fun with whatever I do…! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Thanks for hosting me, Maggie! It’s always a pleasure to visit with you here at Romance, She Wrote! 🙂
And thank you for guesting, Kat. I really enjoyed your blog post. You always bring a wonderful sense of humour to your works.
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