Okay. So today I’m going to post my IWSG-like post. Even though I don’t belong to the group. But I have a question that I’m curious about too, what other writers do.
Just lately I’ve critiqued a lot of stories. (A lot for me = 3 in just over a month) It’s funny how it goes like that. Nothing for a while, the Boom! Lots to do. But I love critiquing, so I’m not complaining. Besides, they were all good stories, and I’m glad I got to read them.
One thing I worry about with critiquing is if I overdo it with the comments. I know that the author has final say. They can take my advice or ignore it. And I’d rather present them with something and let them figure out if they want to change it, rather than not bring it up at all and then worry that I should have.
And something I worry about is if I get it wrong. You know, like the grammar rules. I’m no expert, and I’d feel bad if I say something wrong.
For instance, I just discovered an exception to a rule. See my Sloppy Writing post from Friday about this if you’re curious, cause I don’t want to take up the space here. Anyways, I finally discovered there is an exception to the comma, conjunction rule with SO. And then I went back in all 3 manuscripts I was working on and changed them back when I’d mistakenly added a comma.
And so I wonder, how many others did I mark wrong earlier this summer. Or how many other grammar things do I incorrectly mark. If I’m not sure about something, I’ll usually say that or go find the answer myself on the internet, but a lot of times I feel sure, and am still wrong. (Maybe it’s time to page through Strunk and White again.)
And then there’s times when I mark something like ‘suddenly.’ That’s a word we’re supposed to avoid. And sometimes you might need it, but most of the time you don’t. But these multi-published authors use it. No, not twice a chapter. So they key is moderation. But my point is, do you mark stuff like that so they are aware? Or should you stay away from those voice things?
Comma splices are another thing. Sometimes I look at a sentence with a comma splice and think, yeah, that feels right. (Probably more so with dialogue) But it’s grammatically wrong. But maybe the author just missed that conjunction. Maybe they don’t want it. But maybe they do.
Or maybe super long sentences. If they’re using them consistently, okay, it’s easy to see that it is their style. But what if halfway in they have a super long sentence, grammatically correct, but LONG. Do you point it out just to bring attention to it?
Maybe I should add a standard note to my comment lingo: JPO, which means I’m just pointing out. Doesn’t mean it’s good or bad. Then it could differentiate between things I heavily suggest changing as opposed to things I think they should be aware of. (I might have to do that.)
So long way to get to my question. What do you do? Do you feel like you over-comment? Do you comment on things that fall into the voice/style category?
Have you ever gotten something wrong with a comment on somebody’s novel?
Just wondering if I’m the only one who worries about this.