There are many things I didn't know when I started out as a writer. Yes, high school English teaches us a lot of basics, but there are layers of rules to learn before one can actually craft an acceptable book. I've mentioned point of view and showing versus telling before. These are larger concepts that will better anyone's work.
But there are more intricate details I've had to look up, almost on a daily basis. And now that I know these things, I see them all over--books, movies, television shows.
For instance, this morning, I watched a program where a character said, "I've proven myself to ______."
Incorrect! Proven is an adjective. This sentence needed the verb proved. Need me to prove it? Click here.
Another one I see is a mix-up of farther and further. Farther is a literal distance: "The Kwik-Mart is farther than the post office," while further is a figurative distance: "If you want to go further in learning this tip, click here."
Being a commercial fiction writer, I like to eliminate as many extra words as possible. In fact, this is one place where my critique group excels. That, just, very, really are just a few words to cut...in most instances.
So last night, I started to write the phrase a couple of days. And I started thinking, "Do I really need of?" A couple days sounds just fine. Guess what I did. That's right...I Googled it.
A couple days is acceptable, but informal. A couple of days is also acceptable, as well as formal. This could mark a solid distinction in narrative and character voice. Learn the rule here.
I love these little details. They make all the difference in good writing. I'll never become a master, but I am grateful for the collective mind of the Internet. If I don't know something, I can just look it up!
What's your favorite grammar/writing detail?
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3