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Jay Cantrell's Blog Entry

October 7, 2016
Posted at 10:54 am
Updated: October 7, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Jay makes an excellent point about this being a site for amateurs. All but a few of us write with little to no expectation of financial reward.

Recognize that many authors try to meet your insatiable appetites for a new chapter on a regular schedule. The post as they write. This makes it hard, impossible to achieve perfection - even with conscientious proofing. I marvel at the creativity and quality achieved by many of these folks. I can't do it - my stories are finished when I start to post them.

For context on what I'm about to say, let me tell you about me:

My stories posted here are absolutely the first fiction I've ever written, and I'm fortunate that all of the comments I've received have been helpful and encouraging. I welcome feedback, because I want my stories to be as good as they can be - grammar, plot, punctuation - all of it. When an inevitable problem is reported, I try to fix it promptly.

I majored in Journalism almost 50 years ago. Since then, I've written and edited non-fiction - training manuals, legal briefs, announcements, news articles, and more. It is almost always possible to go back and find editing/proofing issues, and especially, an alternative way of saying something. Again, we authors - especially those of us who ask for feedback - take your feedback and go forward.

I also volunteer, have for years, as a proofreader and editor for some of the authors you enjoy here. One of the things many folks fail to recognize is the variety of countries that speak English but have differing punctuation styles, and that accepted styles in the USA have changed markedly over the 50 years since I was in college.

I've noted both from comments in authors' blogs and in reading their stories, how much they benefit from helpful feedback. I know I have benefited. Note that I said helpful. The email Jay cited is inexcusable. If it was not intended to be hurtful, it in itself was poorly phrased. I also noted one partial sentence and a punctuation error. This person's diatribe is as welcome as a robocall from 'Anne at credit card services.'

Where am I going with this?

Folks, please continue to tell us what you like and what you dislike. Do that in a helpful way, and you too will benefit from better stories. (Don't just point out the comma splice, tell the author what you like, too.) And if you, like me, have a hard time reading past typos and punctuation/grammatical errors, why not volunteer as an editor or proofreader? Working in a creative environment has rewards you won't expect until you become involved.

Even better, you get to see a story first!