Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Me me me...oh crap...not just me...

Okay, I will eventually get to the meme that Rae had on her website--btw, it makes her sound like a very cool person, even the 'bitchy' for the first response, but first, I'm going to confess myself flummoxed on the one subject that I could have sworn I knew a little tiny teeny bit about: Punctuation. Okay, not a lot--it isn't my strong suit, but,'s my dilemma.

"Isn't that what you've always taught me? That whatever we need to do to protect our people should be considered?"

"Not you." He said rawly. "Risking you is no longer an option."

Do you see the problem? I didn't, not even after three books, and, remember, I'm supposed to teach English. Okay, I'm a victim of the California public school system, same as my students, however, it wasn't until I got called on this punctuation by a couple of paralegals throughout my entire 3rd (3rd!) manuscript that I went back and actually looked at another book, and realized that it's wrong. It should read:

"Not you," he said rawly. "Risking you is no longer an option."

And even as I write that second one, the CORRECT one, mind you, here as an example, it just looks plain WRONG to me. "Not you." Is supposed to stand alone. It's an emphatic statement--a sentence, even though it's not really a sentence. And much of the book is written like that. (Sue me, I like grabbing those heart strings and giving them a few hearty yanks as I go...) And now I'm wondering, is it just the paralegals, or have whole hoards of people been watching me make this mistake and tearing my hair out... and the thought just KILLS me... sort of like walking around with my pants on inside out for, I don't know, THIRTY-NINE YEARS or so... so, people, help me out--is this sin huge and heinous, should I edit it out of the whole manuscript (and I am totally willing to do this--don't get me wrong--knitting errors, I will let lie, manuscript errors I'm really anal about... I know, I know, my blog is horribly edited, but my fiction is
@#$%ing sacred. ) So, everybody, chime in... is it the comma or the period, the upper or the lower, is this form of punctuation giving way with time (the way many of our older grammar constructions have) or is it still important to us. I need to know.

Now, for the meme--I stole this from Rae (who stole it from Rabbitch), and since it was only one word, decided, hell, I can git'r'done:
Use only one word to answer each item:
1. Yourself: weird
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): integrity
3. Your hair: rabid
4. Your (step)mother: hardworking
5. Your Father: trippy
6. Your Favorite Item: yarn
7. Your dream last night: zombies (yuck!)
8. Your Favorite drink: diet soda
9. Your Dream Car: bigger
10. The room you are in: me
11. Your Ex: nonexistent
12. Your fear: inadequacy squared
13. What you want to be in 10 years? writing
14. Who you hung out with last night? family
15. What You're Not? normal
16. Muffins: no thanks
17. One of Your Wish List Items: time
18. Time: should stop
19. The Last Thing You Did: knit
20. What You Are Wearing: jeans
21. Your Favorite Weather: autumn
22. Your Favorite Book: Tigana
23. The Last Thing You Ate: chocolate
24. Your Life: frantic
25. Your Mood: dazed
26. Your best friend: desperate
27. What are you thinking about right now? going pee
28. Your car: thrashed
29. What are you doing at the moment? working
30. Your summer: packed
31. Your relationship status: sweet
32. What is on your TV? too much
33. What is the weather like? chill
34. When is the last time you laughed? this morning
35. What were you laughing about? kids


Roxie said...

I make the same mistake all the time and edit it out all the time. The comma is still accepted usage, and you don't want to look like an illiterate to your reading public. This is why I get someone else to read over and edit my work for me. I fall into the story and loose track of the punctuation. There's alwaays another scene or sentence that could use just a little more polish . . .

NeedleTart said...

How about "Not you!" he said rawly. "Risking you is no longer an option."? Just a couple of years ago I had to take an English grammer course (to get a Medical Assistant's certification, and I hated every minute. Have you ever had a teacher tell you, "Sit down and shut up, you're just confusing the class when you try to apply what I teach." But I digress) and the teacher (aside from some personal issues) was really through. Yesterday, I rewrote a first grade writing 3(!) times to make sure the construction was parallel and that we used the order words correctly. Can I tell you how excited I was when I got it right? Sick, sick, sick.

Rae said...

I have one word for you:


(Do you know his writing style?)

Tell the paralegals to go fuck themselves. Period.

(I'm not an expert, but I did get a BA in English and LOVE grammar. In your case, you're writing fiction. You're not writing a legal document. You have creative license.)

Fuck themselves.

Rae said...

(and technically, the second one with the comma is correct. Technically. But it could also be

"Not you." He said rawly, "Risking you is no longer an option."

But again, creative license ...)

Starfish said...

I'm not a writer, but an avid reader. I immediately thought the same thing you did. It is meant to be emphatic, and the period makes it so. I assume it's a man who is speaking? IF so, that's how a man would say it. Not you. I say leave it. Not all dialogue is spoken in perfect english, so it shouldn't have to be written that way either. Just my two cents.

Liz said...

needletart and rae both make excellent suggestions. I don't mind the comma use - I mentally switch things over anyhow when I read. I punctuate the way the paralegals would. I do not, however, feel that your writing looks ignorant because of your comma. Perhaps oddly, I was stuck on the word "rawly." I was thinking, is it 'really'? or is the guy's name Rawley? or what? But if you're wondering if you've looked like you're wearing your underwear on the outside, the answer is no.

(stopped by because I found your comment on Yarn Harlot so beautiful. so--hey! lovely comment on Yarn Harlot!)

The Lady in Red said...

Yeah, the paralegals are correct, but it's your labor of love. It's another one of those things. I've mentioned them before, the typos and idiosyncratice errors that make the stories yours. I would change it if the work were mine, but I'm THAT anal. Change it if it bothers you. If it makes more sense to you to use a period for emphasis, then do so. And your chonis are safely hidden under your pants.

Coach Susan said...

It would bug me to look at a whole book full of

." H

instead of

," h

Sorry, but I had to say it. I am, however excessively anal. Even my blog is about butts.

However, if I thought you had decided to do this as a conscious, stylistic, artistic device, I would get over myself and live with it so your post begs the question, "Did you mean to do that?" If you can say yes with honesty, then leave your manuscript as is.

Catie said...

I am currently reading Tigana...