Fact-checking & Editing

The rules of grammar can be broken to achieve an effect or make a statement; however, I think too many writers use poor punctuation and leave grammatical mistakes in the name of creativity, when they are actually being lazy.  I just read a short story which contained not only punctuation errors but also factual errors.  Yes, it was a work of fiction, but even fictitious worlds follow guidelines. The author set it in New Orleans.  She chose to place every cliche she new about the area to add a sense of “reality” to the story.  The worst combination was having a hurricane wipe out the city during Mardi Gras.  I am from the area.  Unless she meant New Orleans on a different planet, Mardi Gras and hurricane season are during opposite times of the year.  It would have been more realistic to have the city engulfed by an ice storm or freezing rain during Mardi Gras–if it had to be Mardi Gras.  She could have placed the wedding in her story during hurricane season without any extra festivals, and it would have been fine.  We like to party in South Louisiana, and hurricane parties happen.  (However, I would like to say most of us take Category 4 and 5 hurricanes very seriously, especially if the bad side is heading toward our town.)
Other writers in the issue also had missing commas in their compound sentences or other grammatical/punctuation-related problems, but I won’t bother relating all of them.  Basically, I’m tired of reading short stories and books that look like blog posts or first drafts.  If a story is being published, please review your work more than once. Also, check your facts.  You never know who will read it.


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