I remember writing my first book, how I’d agonise over every sentence, desperately not wanting to commit some awful grammar faux pas.  I’d haul all my books off my bookshelves and examine them minutely for all sorts of perceived faults in my writing – like correct sentence structure and trying to figure out how my writing heroes managed to make me hear and see their characters so intensely, rather than just read words on pages.  This resulted in a horribly over-edited book, with bits constantly being taken out and replaced or moved around.  Hello grammar gremlin hell of the future.  They still pop up today.

Eventually I realised that no matter how famous the writers, none of them followed any particular pattern.  Some of them conveyed conversations using he said or she said.  Some of them used no attributives at all for dialogue, but you still managed to know who was saying what.  Some of the greatest storytellers use grammar that would probably get them D minuses in school, but still manage to suck you blissfully into the worlds that they’ve created.  All it is is their ability to let their own talented souls pour from their fingertips without any concern for anything much other than the story in their heads.  If it flows it flows.  Sometimes it’s perfect to bend the rules a little.

I think it’s important to trust your own writing style to develop.  All the books we’ve read or are reading now will probably have some small influence on how we knit the words together in our stories, but no reading, or learning, or trying to emulate those awesome scribblers gone before us, can change the particular voice of every born storyteller.  All writers are unique, so don’t worry too much if what you write doesn’t conform to what you think others think it should.  Learn correct grammar usage, and how to spell, but once you have fair knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the process, let your own personal talent dictate how the story flows rather than trying to twist it into something that it doesn’t want to be.  Write it out just the way you see it, and maybe that’s just the way it should be, and the expected indignant reader rage could very well turn out to be reader love.

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