Thoughts? - Queue — LiveJournal
In the manuscript I'm editing, the main character is composing an email, and the email is quoted in full. Should I be more relaxed about unnecessary commas, run-on sentences, and things like that in the email than I am in the rest of the manuscript?
|Date:||November 20th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC)|| |
well, I suppose it depends on the writing style of the main character. are they a grammer nerd? who is the email being sent to- are they worried about how they will come across?
|Date:||November 20th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC)|| |
Yeah, those are definitely all questions to consider. However, I'm worried about the style of the email being too jarring in contrast to the style of the narration. Is this something that I should just forget about and concentrate on the other questions?
If the contrast is that jarring then I'd consider whether or not that was intentional--showing the casual nature of the email, or more of the characteristics of the character. If so, then leaving it as is might be a good call. But I understand your concern.
I'm currently reading a book that in one section kept using phrases like "might of" (instead of "might have" or "might've") even though it wasn't used in direct quotes or through the narrative voice of a particular character. However, it was clear (from the general quality of the book and the reputation of the author) that this usage was quite likely intentional.
But I found it more than a little jarring. I stopped and wondered about it every time I came across it and it bothered me. The usage was in keeping with the character being featured in that section, but since the story wasn't being told by that character (but by an omniscient narrator) it felt wrong. Still, that's the only explanation that makes sense--it was being used to maintain a certain tone. A later section of the book focusing on a different character does in fact use the phrase "might have", which unless it's really sloppy editing (of which there is no other evidence) does suggest that the first usage was to create a certain tone, even though I found it mightily distracting and would have (note how I resisted writing "would of") rather seen "might've".
|Date:||November 21st, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)|| |
Since I can't just yell across the desk... ;-)
I would say the style of the e-mail doesn't have to mesh, as such, with the style (if you can call it that) of the narration. I can't remember which character's e-mail it is, but people often "sound" very different in their e-mails than in their spoken conversations, anyway.
|Date:||November 20th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)|| |
my initial reaction was "leave the mistakes in the email" just because the medium of email is usually pretty informal, and most books i've read that have included email exerpts have included the email misspellings, typos, and unnecessary commas. having the mistakes in there make it feel more "real."
(then again, you could clean up some of the more major errors (run-on sentences, unnecessary commas) but still leave a couple of typos to make it seem real...)
|Date:||November 20th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)|| |
Well, it doesn't have any typos, and I'm not sure how the author would feel about me inserting any. :-)
|Date:||November 20th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)|| |
This sounds like the sort of thing a copyeditor needs to flag so the author can consider what he/she really meant to do.
|Date:||November 21st, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)|| |
I'd say, for the most part, that it's okay to leave it in unless it's INCREDIBLY bad. Emails versus dialogue can be drastically different. I'd be more concerned about tone than grammar. The email still needs to sound like him. But for all we know, he speaks with extra commas.