“My hopes, dreams and aspirations were no match against my poor spelling, punctuation and grammar.” Red Red Rover
Okay writers, is that you? It might be, even if you aren’t aware of it. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s the STORY that counts, right?
Hmmm, well, yes. BUT, if you can’t get anyone to read your story because you just can’t handle the basics then your STORY won’t mean much.
People are busy… editors and producers even more so. They don’t have time to mess around with your work if it’s littered with spelling errors, grammar that makes no sense and punctuation that throws everything into a tailspin.
You can sit there at your computer and argue with me all you want in your head, but facts are facts (no, there are no ‘alternative facts’). If your material is all but unreadable it won’t get read.
Readers for screen scripts don’t have the time to mess with it and it sure won’t reach a producer’s hands (unless you know him personally and put it in his hands, in which case he won’t read past the first few pages). An editor will pitch a fit.
So, what to do if your skills are lacking. You can take some courses, not a bad idea in any regard. But there are helps out there.
You can try Grammarly. Sign up for an account and get the free version to test out. If it’s really helpful and you really like it, there’s a fee-based version you can go with
No, I’m not associated with Grammarly in any way. I don’t get paid. Your choice. I have used it and found it helpful. Be careful not to take what it tells you too literally as you’re writing fiction, not staid business correspondence.
There are some of my favorite books as well. They’re small, slim volumes by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Picked them up while working in a college bookstore so mine are kind of old and battered hardcovers:
Both of these books are amusing and helpful and have been on my writing shelf for years. Yes, you read that correctly. I can still get myself into a corner when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Despite the fact that it’s obvious and a lot of you reading this will groan, pay attention to whatever writing software you’re using.
MS Word, Scrivener (you can get a 30 day free trial on this one!) and most dedicated script softwares have features that highlight errors in some way.
I’ve just begun using Scrivener and despite the learning curve I’m coming to love it. And it even has a ‘script’ writing element. Check it out if you’re interested. (Again, I’m not profiting from mentioning it).
These are the tools I use. You may have discovered equally wonderful, or even more wonderful ones you use. If you have suggestions go ahead and post them in the comment box. It never hurts any of us to have new tools in the tool box!
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.