To be an Elfling or not to be an Elfling

In my previous post, I discussed anonymous reviews from 2008 and 2010 that I decided to delete, because they felt more like attempts to flame or belittle than actual reviews. One of these reviews involved calling me out for grammar issues, but pretty much claimed one couldn’t have a good story unless the grammar was “good”. However, here is part of one of the reviews I received for my first story with chapters.

February 18, 2006 ~ Lyn ~ I wish I had your imagination and skill as a writer!

So, why bring this up?

Lyn is the person I consider to be my first Beta ever. This is only a small portion of one of her reviews. She’s the one who taught me the difference between there and their, but they were super patient with me, and took the time to explain what errors I made grammar wise. Not everything she explained to me clicked right away, but she was wonderful, and gave excellent explanations.

More important though, despite all my errors and where I was at writing, she saw beyond these errors and saw definite potential. Unlike her, I don’t critique or Beta for grammar unless it’s to point out readability issues. While it is important, it’s not the “end all”. I’ll always be thankful for her reviews.


Human on the Team

So, Human on the Team is one of my older stories, which means the prose is basic, and the grammar leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve come a long way since 2008. However, back then I also let through some reviews I probably shouldn’t have.

March 15, 2008 ~ army of perverts ~ surprisingly tolerable

My thoughts when I didn’t delete this anonymous review was that everybody has their right to an opinion even those who are attempting to revenge flame. However, since then I’ve also learned that sometimes people aren’t actually trying to voice an opinion, but just trying to stir up trouble. This was on the first chapter, but they also didn’t explain why the story was “surprisingly tolerable”. More specially, they didn’t explain what was almost not tolerable for them. Here though is a second review.

January 1, 2019 ~ Luiz

You should try learning the rules of grammar and using spell-check- your story needs serious editing.

If you had written better it would have had the potential to become a good story, unfortunately  in its present state it is very low-quality writing.

So, for those who don’t know, I’m dyslexic. I used to beat myself up, but also believe these kinds of reviews because I knew I stunk in regards to the grammar department. Now, Human on the Team’s not perfect, but I’m looking back at the older chapters as I’m finally back to continuing the series. I’m now at a point I can better judge my own grammar, but I found myself realizing the grammars not that bad.

By this, I mean that the grammar issues aren’t bad enough to say the story isn’t a good story. Since I got this review, I’ve come to realize – through a lot of my writing mentors offline – that while grammar is important, and that having a work that isn’t hot-off -the-press is a major goal, grammar and formatting doesn’t determine whether something is “good” or not. Minor grammar errors don’t determine whether a story becomes a good story or not.

By looking at grammar typos like this reader did, they in reality were not looking at the stories potential at all. Here in also lies the problem of specializing in grammar only. On one side, I actually eat up the reviews which are honestly meant to help me and point out specific issues. Then, you have this review where the reader determines whether the story is good or not based on grammar alone. That’s wrong.

Sure, this isn’t one of my best pieces, but that’s not the point. What does “low-quality” writing actually mean? Give me Mark Twain’s rule for writing any day, a list of rules which includes grammar, but basic technique only ends up being a small part. <– See, that’s it – that grammar and such are only a small part. Also, I’ve also discovered some of these people who profess to be good at grammar really aren’t. Sadly, one of these people was a former Beta.

There’s not point in keeping these up anymore, as they’re only padding my word count, and I’ve now got them here.