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  1. #1
    Donald Lowery

    The "Issue" about writer's writing here on WritersNet

    Most of you know that the "issue" of how well a writer writes his/her messages here on the WritersNet comes up from time to time and Gary chimes in or I do or we all do.
    You know, correct spelling, correct grammar, capitolization, punctuation, wrong meanings for words, the whole nine yards.

    I read something recently that made sense and thought I'd pass it along to perhaps put all of those comments in perspective.

    If you don't know about the famous Will Rogers in our American past, then this will not have as much effect, but anyway I quote directly from his biography by Ben Yagoda.

    "In 1930, F.T. Birchall, managing editor of The New York Times, sent a memo to the newspaper's proofroom concerning the man who at the time was its only signed columnist. He wrote: 'Please do not correct Will Roger's English or spelling. His little peices are unique because he makes his own English. When you 'improve' it you are taking away part of the personality he is selling to readers'."

    The most popular writer of his time..."For there to be another Will Rogers today, he (or she) would have to combine the separate attributes of Johnny Carson, Roy Rogers, Clark Clifford, Walter Cronkite, Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Russell Baker, H. Ross Perot, and James Reston. It just can't happen. Which is all the more reason to take a look back to how it once did."

  2. #2
    Christopher Cosenza

    Re: The "Issue" about writer's writing here on WritersNet


    I'm not sure what your point is here. Are you saying the people on this site who can't even spell capitalization correctly might be the next Will Rogers? Or because their posts are riddled with typos that this is somehow quirky and full of character? Should we not look at these error-prone posts and think the writer of them is not careless, but rather making a bold statement about their style and personality?

    I appreciate your post, but it won't make reading "capitolization" any easier, and it certainly won't help these writers get published any quicker.

    There never will be another Will Rogers, nor should there be.


  3. #3
    Bob Kellogg

    Interesting point, Donald.

    Will Rogers was a one-of-a-kind, of course. His schtick was homespun humor from an Oklahoma cowboy. Sanitize that and it's like pasteurizing orange juice. I think most of the errors here when posting are caused from speed.

    It's okay with me. We post our thoughts as we phrase them and show them to the world, no less. It's our choice how we want to be known. If someone wants to annoy me because they're too lazy to capitalize, then hey! Their choice. If they don't care, I don't.

    Everyone ought to lighten up. We're not in school here.

    Now, if someone posts writing and use "there" instead of "their," they're fair game. I'll mention it.

    Bob K.

  4. #4
    Rachel E. Cole

    So far I haven't chimed in on these debates...

    But this is something that's really bugged me since I started coming here.

    With all due respect to Gary and the other 'Grammar Police' in this group, I have to whole-heartedly disagree that anybody can judge a writer based on their ability to write a post.

    I can only speak for myself here, but I know that the way I write posts, and the way I write books are totally different! But it wouldn't surprise me in the least if I'd already been dumped in with those 'writers who aren't going to see publication anytime in the foreseeable future' because I often misspell, often use slang and often write in runon sentences!

    I write posts the way I speak. I write books the way I read. One cannot be judged by the other!


    P.S. I think the trouble comes in when these writers doesn't realize there's a difference.

  5. #5
    Rachel E. Cole


    Thank you for putting that so succinctly and non-combatively (is that even a word???).

    Speed I think makes all the difference. I'm not going to put as much effort into writing a post as I am a ms! What would be the point?

    And I'm going to take your advice, lighten up, and thank heavens I'm not in school anymore! *G*


  6. #6
    Gary Kessler

    Basic training tells

    Ah, yes, you can certainly think whatever you please about whether habitually (repeat habitually) making basic spelling and grammar mistakes (repeat basic--like habitually using "their" for "there," for instance, since Bob brought that one up) matter in posting, as opposed to query letters, as opposed to submitted manuscripts, but that's pretty much irrelevant to the point I am often backed into making when we're really discussing something else--usually the importance of constructing a solid foundation of English usage if you want to be published using someone else's money and promotion effort.

    It doesn't matter what you think about this. It matters what those who you are trying to enlist to help you get published think.

    I continue to believe that people who habitually write subpublishable discussion board postings--both in technical skill and intellectual content--do faithfully reveal the technical and content level of their writing. That belief comes from watching how other people in the publishing business react to these modes of expression.

    Do what you like, of course--you almost never see me go after someone here based on how they express themselves (although I do make a judgment about that). I'm just pointing to the effect it has on the ones you're expending so much energy to attract. LOL.

  7. #7
    Yvonne Oots

    Re: Donald / Gary

    How beautifully put gentlemen.....

    Some of us have not been graced with the ways of the correctness which is why I and others always, always pay for at least one sophmore majoring in english to edit for spelling and punctuation..........

    Thank you both....


  8. #8
    Christopher Cosenza

    Re: Basic training tells

    Sure, I know typing posts quickly lends itself to typos, etc. And I don't want Donald to think I was flaming him for "capitolization." It was purely tongue in cheek.

    I actually was just curious about what he meant by his post. If we chalk up errors (grammatical, spelling, factual) to speed and carelessness, then what was Donald's post saying?

    I often look over my post before I hit the little button because I care about what I am writing and I don't want others to read it and misunderstand what I have written, nor do I want to lose credibility with them. I often seek, and give, advice on this site. If I were to type frenetically day in and day out and make constant mistakes, as a lot of people on here often do, it would detract from the clout I hope to build with my fellow writers and editors.

    Sometimes, with my busy work schedule, posting on here is my only chance to write that day. Maybe I take it a little more seriously than I should.


  9. #9
    F Walter

    Re: Donald / Gary

    All I can say is, spelling has never really been a problem to me but on here I can't spell crap.
    If I take a look at a post I've just written I see all the mistakes instantly but when I'm typing into this little white square like I am now I simply don't see any of my mistakes at all.

    Of course I'm far worse on MSN!
    Don't ya just hate how spelling goes out the window in those blasted instant messages!!!

  10. #10
    Karen Dionne

    Re: Donald / Gary

    I take a lot of time with my posts. Like Christopher, I read them over to make sure they say exactly what I want them to convey. If I'm not sure about the spelling of a word, I look it up. I try to get the punctuation right. Sometimes, if it's a touchy subject I'm about to comment on, or a critique, I copy my post to WordPerfect and let it sit for a while. After rereading it ten or fifteen minutes later, occasionally I have second thoughts and just hit delete. Call me strange or weird, but I can't stand the thought of the words I post publically for all to read being flawed. And it drives me nuts when I see a mistake in my posts! I believe that taking the time to express myself fluently and correctly on this site helps me improve in all my writing.


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