Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Comma Addict

My junior high grammar teacher, Mrs. Friedrich, was the toughest teacher that I ever had and she is still one of my favorites. Maybe that is why I am so ashamed at my abusive comma use. She would be appalled if she every got her hands on my current WIP.

See, I am a comma over-user. I know there is a time and a place for commas. I know how to use them properly. However, I write like I speak and I pause a lot when I speak. So for my first draft (that is allowed to be terrible by nature of it being the first draft), I have gone comma crazy. There are commas in all the places I would pause, which is a lot of places.

I took the first chapter of my new project to my critique group and, sure enough, someone noted that many of my commas needed to go. I usually take things to my critique group that are highly polished, but this was a new idea and I wanted to see if the concept worked more than anything.

My point? When you are writing your first draft, it is okay if it is terrible. It is supposed to be terrible. Then you finish and you start editing. You remove the superfluous commas or cut your other atrocious grammar offenses. The story gets tightened up and redundancies are de-duplicated. After a lot of grueling revision sessions, your manuscript develops a beautiful rosy glow.

Maybe then, and only then, I will have something that I could show to Mrs. Friedrich.

Are you guilty of committing grammar faux-pas? Tell me about your worst first draft offenses.