Yes, I have some new friends in my life. I will now tell you all about them in no particular order.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Mastering Essential English Skills (many authors)
The Writer's Workshop by John F. Parker
A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams
A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins
The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin
A Grammar Book for You and I (oops, me) by C.Edward Good
The Chicago Manual of Style <-- heavy book
Descriptionary Third Edition
These are the books that I am now working my way through. Yes, there are still more coming in the mail. Do I think I can really learn all that these things have to offer me? No, lets be honest, even the best of the best in any field have to pull out their smart phone now and again to "brush up" on something they can't remember 100%.
Do I think I have a chance of learning some of what these books have to offer? Yes...
The question you have to ask yourself, or myself, or some self, is...Can I learn enough? The more people I talk to the more I find that this seems to be a problem special to me alone. No, I understand that not everyone out there knows the finer points of grammar, or can define all 24 tenses (yes, that number is in question in some circles but really does it matter after the first 8?)
I have spent some time analyzing my own thought process to try and figure out why it is I have such a problem with certain area's of writing. It all comes down to a couple things that I hope I can learn.
Then and Than... I KNOW how to use these, yet when I look at them they don't make sense. There is a block that I can't explain. For the most part, I don't even use them at all anymore. Unless I have to, than, I stare at my cheat guide until I am sure I have the right one. Usually I don't.
My wife has wondered if this is a side effect from my Multiple Sclerosis, or the fact that I suffer from mild dyslexia. Either could be the case. It doesn't matter though, I have to figure out a way to fix these problems no matter what the method. The reason for this obsession now?
I have no desire to write.
It is gone, once I learned I was not writing to my full potential, that my stories were not the best they could be. The desire to create or even finish the works I have started vanished like so much smoke. I have been passing the time I usually spend writing, by reading about punctuation, or editing my prior works for the practice. I have created nothing new.
I tried to explain it to my wife last night with only little success. The desire to tell my stories is still there, but I know they aren't right, that pisses me off...royally.
My main work, my book, the finished one that I have only let select people read, I have been editing it with some of my new found knowledge. It is taking a very long time to plod through. I am less than half way through on the form edit alone. That is, removing all my "hard enters" that I didn't even know were a problem until an editor cussed me out about them and how wrong they were. Removing all my extra spaces. Seems I have a love with the space bar I wasn't aware of, and forming my paragraphs correctly with my conversational bits.
Basically I have hours, and hours of work ahead of me. Once that is done, I start all over again and re-read the entire thing trying to remove all the tell tale errors of a newbie writer.
It would have been better to do this all correct the first time.
With that little thought in mind I am going to show you an excerpt from the latest correspondence with a VP of MAE. It rolls through my thoughts often and helps me remember I can get through this.
"You have a gift of creating stories in your mind. And that is exactly what it is...a gift. No one can teach that. You were born with that gift, and it is that gift that sets storytellers apart from the rest of us. It is something that is precious and priceless."
This is from someone I respect in the field of creating stories. They say many other things in the email and I am not sure how many I can disclose without permission. Regardless, as far as they are concerned I have a future as an author...but, why do I feel like such a hack?