It’s Getting Better Every Day

 I Need Help With Grammar!

I Need Help With Grammar!


It’s Getting Better Every Day

Long ago, when I wrote my début novel, I found my primary aim was getting the story down in a readable form. Next, I went through the obligatory process of reading and editing it several times. Of course, my editing standard reflected my knowledge of English grammar. I thought I remembered enough about my grammar school lessons to pull off a reasonable manuscript. I was wrong!  The whole process took more than a year. Then there was a thirty year gap when I never touched it. My edit last year was to bring it up to date, mainly because we have moved on technologically over that thirty year gap.

Believing it was the best I could do—well, it was true at the time—I self-published my eBook on Kindle last year. Since then, I have lent, given away or sold more than 1,000 copies. Although it has only attracted four reviews on Amazon, and one review plus three ratings on Goodreads, I wasn’t too disappointed. These are all bone fide reviewers. I’ve never showed it to any of my family or friends, nor have I yet sent a freebie in exchange for a review. They were all positive reviews. Only one reviewer had a criticism, helpfully pointing out a continuity error. I promptly corrected this. Even this reviewer had lots of positive things to say. She gave four stars and declared she’d knocked off one star for the error; she would have given it five otherwise.

I now have a blogging page, and I try to include reblogs of helpful editing tips. After reading other authors’ advice pages and professional editing posts, I became acutely aware I was lacking in some of the skills needed for editing. Dutifully, I set about re-educating myself on English grammar via the internet. Further down the learning curve, I discovered a good deal of my new knowledge is American English. Damn!  I had to forget what I’d recently learned and start over again. Now, I make sure I only follow advice from British English professionals.


Recently, a friendly editor sent me an email confirming what I was already thinking: my book still has a few minor punctuation mistakes, and needs another edit. Thanking the editor for her generosity in sending this constructive criticism privately, via email, and not on a public review for all to see, I resolved to remedy this. I would investigate grammar more enthusiastically, and when I know more about the technicalities of writing, I will use an editor, and then re-publish my book. Obviously, I do want “Tissue of Lies” to reach its full potential.

However, I won’t take the current version off the market until the new one is ready. My reasoning for this statement is two-fold. Firstly, just as there are differences in the edited quality of available books, there are also  differences between readers. Not everyone who regularly reads books, recognises every single omitted, or misplaced, punctuation mark. Secondly, I have had some lovely comments about it, and therefore, still believe it’s a perfectly acceptable book to some readers. My existing publication would be for those who believe a captivating story far outweighs a few grammatical errors.

Readers like my five-star reviewer who said, “Fantastic book, very gripping and original, really enjoyed it. It’s a shame it isn’t out in paperback as I’d like to buy it for my mum to read…” Also see the four-star reviews at the end of this post.

Bearing in mind the minor flaws in the current version of “Tissue of Lies,” I’ve decided to indefinitely cut the price of this version to 99 pence or $1.61. However, when the revised version is ready, it will replace the current issue, and the price will increase. So, if you are the type of reader who can forgive a few editing mistakes from a new writer, then I’d recommend you get your copy now. It’s my belief, when the revised edition comes out, you can download it free if you’ve already bought that title from Amazon. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that.


Four Star Reviews for “Tissue of Lies”; see them on Amazon.

“A thriller of a story enclosed in many tangled lies. The author slowly weaves the lies, entangles her main characters within their threads, and reveals the consequences and outcomes with a few twists to her plot. I have already encouraged two more purchases to friends that l know will fully enjoy this story, and would recommend this to anyone who has a fascination with the weight a lie could carry. An enjoyable read.”

“This is a really great story, with many twists and turns, the characters are good and the story flows along nicely, my only gripe knocking off a star for this reason is that towards the end the character Jeanette, all of a sudden became Jean, and it became frustrating… I do not want to seem picky, and would not put anyone off reading the book because of this as it is a good read, it just needs a further proof read.” I have corrected this particular error in the current version available now.

“An enjoyable read with the main characters twisted and tangled within layers of lies. Just as you would lift a paper tissue from its box another appears and so too a fresh lie covers an old one.”

2017 Update – Completed the final editing of Tissue of Lies and changed the book cover. All of the above have been rectified. It has been a long journey but an educational one. I’m sure my readers will enjoy this final version.


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About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 52 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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17 Responses to It’s Getting Better Every Day

  1. Carole, can you tell me how to get to my blog so I can see it the way the public sees it? I have tried every which way & the few times I did get to it, I couldn’t remember what I did as I had tried so many ways to get there.
    P.S. I decided to go with the rules this time, I am not going to capitalize the “I” in “in.”


    • caroleparkes says:

      This reply is a little difficult for me. If you look at the comments on my first post ‘Lets Lirn InglishTogever’ you’ll see the comment you referred to, wasn’t about your website. It was a reply to Chris Graham on the ‘thestoryreadingapesblog’ and he really does have an amazing blog site.
      However, to answer your question above, what you can do is go to your dashboard, and from there remove the (/wp-admin) from your full administrative address on your address bar at the very top of your dashboard page. When you’ve removed it, click on the search icon or press ‘enter’ and it will take you straight to your website home page. I hope this helps and you don’t feel too let down. I do like your website too. 🙂


  2. tenderoffers says:

    Same thing happened to me. My grammar has been affected by 40 years of practicing law and writing legal briefs. Lawyers tend to capitalize every other word and over use commas. If you find a good editor let me know. The English language is difficult on both sides of the ‘pond’. Crystal, Phoenix, AZ.

    Sent from my iPad



    • caroleparkes says:

      Thank you for commenting, and I’m sorry to hear how your grammar has been affected by your career. It’s great that you are clever enough to recognise, and amend it. I agree, this language is difficult.


  3. Thanks for that article… I’m having to take more time with my grammar as I write more and you’ve definitely given me a lot to take in


    • caroleparkes says:

      There are so many different views on how we should write too; it all gets very confusing. We can only do our best. The important thing is the story, poem or whatever. When we are happy with that, then is the time to take a closer look at our grammar. Good luck!


  4. jan says:

    I had two editors on my last book and they both overlooked typos – generally like “I road in the car” – things a spelling-checker would miss. Best of luck with the re-release – I know what you mean about those bona fide reviews! Jan


    • caroleparkes says:

      You’ve highlighted the problem exactly Jan. Some people who say they are editors, are unqualified. In all walks of life, there will be excellent ones, mediocre ones and poor ones, there’s no reason why editors should be any different. I have no idea how much an editor charges, is it very expensive?


      • Is there a way to know whether an editor is good or not? I sent a sample chapter to an editor recommended by someone who has published several books & used him several times, but . . . Truth is I haven’t read this acquaintance’s book, nor have I read the 2 or 3 written by the editor. Should i?


        • He mostly said my commas didn’t belong. That’s strange as I am more modern about commas, choosing to use them less than most people so I don’t understand why I would suddenly overuse. The other two issues have to do 1) with italics – it’s true, I use too much. He said my protagonist’s thoughts in italics is fine but using them for all the Spanish words is too much. He also said when talking about a word, I should put it in quotation marks. Does that sound right to you? Issue no. 2) OMG! Now I forgot it. I had minor surgery almost 2 months ago & I swear the anesthesia is still causing me memory issues! I will get back to you on that other issue.


        • caroleparkes says:

          I’d say you have nothing to lose by reading at least one of the editor’s books. If he edited your acquaintance’s books, then I guess you should read one of his too. The trouble is, if we don’t have the editor’s skills, how will we know if there is a mistake when we read his book? If we can recognise the mistakes, why do we need the editor in the first place?

          The more I read about editing, the more confused I become. Take a peek at editing, copy editing, and proofreading on a google search. Get to know all you can about what each of them do. From the little I’ve read, I understand that editors can change your work, move paragraphs and chapters around, cut some things out, and other stuff you might not want them to do. A good copy editor will check for continuity errors, factual errors, grammar, spelling, punctuation and historic accuracy, but will not change the structure of the book. Proofreading is the final step that repeats the checks the copy editor has done, only this time it’s carried out after the first test print has been done before it goes into full production.


  5. Carole, thank you for being so receptive and polite when I sent my email. By far and away, you have been the most courteous author I have contacted, excluding the ones I do work for, about errors.

    Many authors are defensive, and say, you’ve read an earlier version, (huh?) all errors now fixed, or etc etc. You, never said any of that. Sometimes, I wonder why I waste my time. I even get sent review copies with errors, point it out, and am told ‘fixed’. So why send me a poor copy? For a free review?

    I agree too, that some readers don’t see typos. Or punctuation mistakes. Or inconsistencies. But others do.

    The best thing any self-publishing author can do, is make their work as professional as they can. Because, it doesn’t just help one author, it helps every other one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • caroleparkes says:

      Thank you once again for your helpful advice; you confirmed what I was already thinking. I still have a long journey ahead of me, learning about all the different components of clauses, sentences, and paragraphs. When to use ‘who’ or ‘whom’, ‘which’ or ‘that’, and many other similar words. I’m quite capable of stringing complex sentences together, but fully understanding the techniques and terms of grammar is beyond me at the moment. I will do my best to remedy this, but I realise the professional editors and proofreaders have spent years learning their skills, so I think I’ll always make some mistakes, ha ha.


  6. I really like this plan. I’m a big fan of properly edited books, so I like that you’re taking the time and effort to go through and make those minor corrections. But you’re also very right in that many readers simply don’t care about minor typos and whatnot, so I think leaving your book on the market at a reduced price until the revised version is available is really clever. And, of course, this blog post itself might entice some new readers to give it a shot 🙂 Best of luck with the editing and re-publishing and whatnot!


  7. Such a helpful article for the new writer or I should say the writer who is new to publishing! Thank you!


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