My editor/wife yelled at me.
She yelled mostly about commas. “Should this comma be here? It feels right, but is it right? The Chicago Manual of Style doesn’t help!”
And then she tore my arm off my body and beat with it, using the flying splashes of blood to form a summoning circle for whatever hellish human created commas in the first place. She has plans for that fool. Terrible, amazing plans.
The reason she yelled at me and decided I no longer needed an arm?
Well, first, I wrote the thing she’s editing. It’s my fault that there’s anything to edit in the first place. So the sentence with the offending comma? My fault.
Second, I don’t care.
Does the comma feel right? Leave it there.
That’s why I’m not an editor. Editors need to care about these things. Correct usage matters.
See, those rules actually help readability. As writers agree on how to use grammar, readers unconsciously absorb those rules. That helps every writer more accurately convey what they’re trying to communicate, and readers understand. After all, that writer used the comma that way, and this writer is doing the same thing.
It takes a discerning eye to catch all those little things. An editor needs not just a precise understanding of how language works, but also when and how to break rules. If you’ve read Dragons of the Ashfall, you’ll know that the narrator doesn’t use proper English. If you ironed out all the ways she breaks grammatical rules, she wouldn’t have a strong voice. At the same time, if I ignored all grammar, you wouldn’t know what she was saying!
And that’s why a writer needs a good editor. If it were me, I’d ignore the little details and just go forward. Sure, you’d be able to read the story, but it’s better with a good editor.
And that’s why I’m currently gushing blood from the socket where my arm used to attach to my body. It’s commas. It’s all about the commas.
Now, before I pass out, remind me about the rules about joining clauses so I don’t have my other arm ripped off…
Oh, and Dawnsbrook is coming.