Make It Work #9: Self-Editing Edition – FANBOYS Comma Grammar School (#writingtips #selfediting #makeitwork)

It’s video time, Friends and Scribes!

One of the things that prevented me from getting back to writing was my fading Grammar knowledge. At one time, I knew all the rules and could wrangle participle and adverbial phrases. But, as they say, if you don’t use it(,)you lose it

(Wait, dammit, do I need another comma up there? Curses.)

See? It’s like my problem with “but”. I don’t know why, but I always screw up commas with “but”. I practically got a black eye from all the blue squiggles Microsoft Word was throwing up.

I’ve come to accept that this is how it’s going to be. I’m going to mess up, and it’s going to require a lot of editing time because I don’t have a bucks falling out of my caboose to hire a Grammar Goddess to do it for me. I work towards fixing 90% of my irksome Gremlins and accept the margin of error. Will I ever get to 100%-you-can-pay-me-for-my-services-now? Not likely. However, closing the gap is something worth striving for.

The more you edit, the better you get at it. I encourage everyone to Beta a fellow writer. Don’t be afraid, it’s easier to see an error or give an “impression” read in someone else’s work than it is your own. The more you do, the more skills you will accumulate over time. When I think a comma is missing because I “hear” that something is off, I just tell my beta buddy the truth: I’m not sure, but I’m mentioning it.

In the video, I demonstrate the basic FANBOYS rule for commas. I demonstrate how I use Find and Replace or a Macro to hi-light my word Gremlins. Although Microsoft Word does alert to comma problems, it is worth hi-lighting to focus on them to see how many there are in a row or to decide to rewrite the sentence. I find that color helps me in a way that a squiggle doesn’t. Plus, the same macro magic is awesome for finding repeats and other Gremlin fillers: look, feel, watched, and saw.

I’m still learning as I go, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Oh, did you know there is a shortcut to generate random text in your document for testing?  Yeah, that’s in the video, too.



Inquiring minds want to know:

Are you friends or enemies with the comma?



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