As a large part of my job involves proofreading documents that will be released to the public, my office recently sent me on a (wait for it) proofreading workshop!
Most of the workshop concerned grammar, which wasn’t what I was expecting. Still, it never hurts to be reminded of the basics. Even so, a lot of what we covered was stuff I already did, some of it was stuff I’d forgotten and some of it was either new or the rules had changed since I took my last grammar course.
The course was geared toward business communication but most of it works for fiction as well. One thing I realized, as I sat there feeling my legs go numb on the uncomfortable chairs, is that proofing business or formal correspondence is a lot easier than proofing fiction because the rules are more rigid. In fiction, ‘proper’ grammar is often rejected in favour of ‘what reads right’, which is unquantifiable and not subject to The Rules. Still, it’s always nice to know what rule you’re breaking.
I did these notes up for myself, because I remember lessons better if I rewrite them afterwards. Then I got thinking that fanfiction is filled with people of all ages, education and experience. We are all volunteer writers and beta readers. I know I found some of the content helpful, so I wondered if other people would as well. I’ve decided to post my notes to my LJ account in case they can be of use to anyone else. Plus, if anyone has tips or tricks on how to make the process of writing, editing and beta-ing easier, please feel free to let me know. I’ll probably add them in.
I've been doing some beta work recently, and it forced me to analyze why I write my characters the way I do, and what I think makes a believable characters. Of course, I wrote down those ideas. So here's my take on how to create characters, places, and events that are believable and realistic. It's called 'Beyond the Commas...' and it's located here: [non-technical writing]