Are you ready to write like a D.R.A.G.O.N.? In this six part series, you’ll learn what it takes to step up your writing game and embrace your inner D.R.A.G.O.N.! In this fourth installment, let’s examine why A stands for Action. If you’re struggling with the tough and sometimes confusing rules of grammar, or just need a pep talk on why it’s important to fix all typos, here are 5 ways to become better:
1. Be clear, be consistent, and be concise.
The three ‘C’ rule is an important one to write by for any D.R.A.G.O.N. writer. Clarity is the best way to make sure the reader is getting your message and/or story exactly the way you want them to. For any intentionally stylistic or formatting choices you make in your writing, be consistent about it! If you capitalization an important word, make sure it’s capitalization every time. And finally, be concise and always use the minimal amount of words you need. Fluff is bad in creative writing; it’s bad in grammar as well.
2. Proper grammar is essential for credibility and readability.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but you need proper grammar to make your writing more readable. Even more than that, you need perfect grammar for credibility—readers will believe your writing more if you don’t make mistakes. Proper grammar and research separates D.R.A.G.O.N. writers from the lazy ones. Don’t give readers the chance to judge you harshly because of sloppy grammar—you know they will.
3. Make a good first impression.
Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, most reputable publishers have so many submissions (on a daily basis) that they can toss grammatically weak work right into the trash without thinking twice. Don’t be the person that gets passed over because you didn’t bother to fix your grammatical errors. D.R.A.G.O.N. writers know that you must do whatever you can to stand out in a crowd—even if it boils down to just impeccable grammar.
- Once you have mastered grammar, you can make stylistic choices with your writing.
Famous authors, like Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and William Faulkner, have implemented intentional errors in their work as a stylistic choice. Emphasis on the word intentional. The old adage says, “Learn the rules, then break them.” Do not try to purposefully use incorrect grammar until you have the authority to make such a choice. D.R.A.G.O.N. writers can be rebels… but only once they’ve earned the right.
5. Grammar is not an end-all entity.
While the point of this article is stress the importance of grammar, a special note should be made that sometimes, especially in novels, incorrect grammar usage can be more impactful than perfect grammar. Popular contemporary authors like George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire series) and Ursula K. LeGuin (Earthsea series) both use sentence fragments and run on sentences where appropriate. I’ve been known to do it as well, and sometimes, it makes the writing really glow. To be a D.R.A.G.O.N. writer, you must walk a fine line between what is technically correct, and what is right for your personal, creative work.
Congratulations! Now you’re well on your way to mastering your writing tools and making the right grammatical decisions for your wonderful writing projects. Don’t delay… your inner D.R.A.G.O.N. is sharpening that editor’s pen! And be sure to watch for Part 5 of this series coming soon.
Have a thought or question on grammar? Have a discussion to spark about a highly debated rule of our language? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!