Since my last blog I finally found the motivation to finish editing The Big Stinky City. My aunt was visiting my mom and dad, and she is a retired school teacher of 30 plus years. I asked her if she would like to be one of my first readers and she agreed. Three days later I finished editing and gave her my manuscript.
Then, she threw me a curve. She read Camp Timber View and said she loved it. After she let her praise sink in she informed me she had found a few sentences that ended in prepositions, as well as a few split infinitives and extraneous prepositions. I mentioned to my mom that I hated to ask her where they were, but I would like to correct the errors.
The following day, I stopped by my parent’s house for a coffee on the way home from work and to talk a little grammar with my aunt. She surprised me with a copy of Camp Timber View and sticky notes attached to every page where she had found an error. Luckily, I have been through this before and am eager to learn. There were 30 to 40 sticky notes. After a while in this business, you get a thick skin. Most of the sticky notes indicated extraneous prepositions such as, “He jumped off of the bed.” The “of” is unnecessary and I repeated this error again and again.
Since then I have gone back and studied more and am now fixing conjunctive clauses and going crazy trying to master lie, lay, lay, laid, lying, and laying. Who had that great idea? The past tense of lie is the same as the present tense of lay? OK???
I think one of the things that keeps me coming back to writing is the constant challenge. I sometimes go to bed with commas swimming in my head and question after question of how things should be written correctly—and I usually wake up the following day ready to try and master it again.