Anyone here spend time on xkcd? If yes, high fives all around. And now, for your viewing pleasure....
Now, how is this vaguely related to anything I've ever said or done in the past on this blog (aside from the fact that it vaguely amused me)?
If you guessed writing, you get another high five.
Have you ever read a book and thought, "Okay, I now have officially no idea what the turducken is going on"? Now, if you were anything like, well, the vast majority of the kids I knew in high school, unless the book was for a class, you closed the book and, when asked about it, said "That thing's incomprehensible." And, heck, maybe even if the book was for a class, you did that.
Okay, most people give a book more than one shot. So, even if sometimes something happens and you're confused, you keep reading, because you give the author the benefit of the doubt. Somehow, some way, you tell yourself, this will all get cleared up.
Because that's the deal writers make with readers. Readers will read what we write. What we write will make sense. I'm not even talking about plot or character arcs or any of that, at the moment (though those things should definitely make sense); I'm talking about writing. The words you use.
When you put words on paper in a particular order, they should, in the end, create a sentence that makes sense. And those sentences should result in a paragraph that makes sense. And hopefully those paragraphs will... well, you know the rest.
We've all been there. You read that sentence over and think, "What was I thinking when I wrote this? Honestly, how many Cokes did I down that night? Can you even do that in English?" And, let's face it, sometimes the answer is, no, no you can't do that in English.
That's why we edit. Because we are nice authors, and we don't want our readers walking into walls, tripping on stairs, or falling into manholes as they stumble around wondering, "Seriously, what was that supposed to mean?"
Have you ever been there? Has this ever happened to you? Do you ever feel like writing you're looking at, yours or other people's, just doesn't make sense in English?