So I was thinking about my last post and how I wrote about trusting your instincts and stuff, and I was thinking that I didn’t say everything I wanted to about that. (Most awesome run-on sentence ever!) But first, I have a special request to fulfill. See, I have this sister. I won’t tell you her name, but I drew you a picture of us together:
As you can see, we look nothing alike.
Now, this sister of mine asked me for the honor of living vicariously through my blog. That is, she wanted me to post a short piece based on one of her grammatical pet peeves, since I do occasionally hint at my dislike for bad grammar. Since she’s my sister, and I owe her for helping me that one time I knocked a guy unconscious in a Wal-Mart (Haha just kidding. I never shop at Wal-Mart. It was in a Target. And I didn’t knock him unconscious. I killed him) I’m going to help her out here.
My sister’s complaint is this: People seem to have forgotten about the word “among.” So when they are picking from a list of things that is longer than two, they still say “between.” Now, I know that you probably know this, but on the off chance someone else is reading this who doesn’t, I’m going to spell it out. The word “between” involves two things. Remember that old expression? It goes a little something like, “Oh shit! I am totally between a rock and a hard place.” Note that there are simply two things there. The rock, and the hard place. I have also drawn a picture of this:
Now I have two choices: I can either run headfirst into the rock, or I can run headfirst into the hard place…which appears to be some rectangular, green mass. To reword that, I can choose between running into the rock and running into the hard place.
Now let’s say that I am between a rock and a hard place, and there’s also a lion behind me. (It’s a lion. Just trust me on this one.)
Now I have three choices. I can run headfirst into the rock, I can run headfirst into the hard place, or I can run headfirst into the lion. Or, I suppose, I can break the fourth wall and run right into your lap. So I have four choices. Please note that four is a greater number than two. Three is also greater than two. Which means that I am going to have to choose among those four, aforementioned options.
In conclusion, please don’t neglect “among.” It only ever says nice things about you. For more hilariously illustrated grammar help, I recommend http://theoatmeal.com/. Hope that makes you feel better, sis!
As for the title of this post, and the introduction, I do have a bit more to say. See, my first book, The Dreamcatchers, was written when I was thirteen. It was crap. I believe I’ve already mentioned this, but I’m too lazy to go back and find out, so I might be repeating myself a bit. When I was in my junior year of high school, I realized that I would have to start the book over from scratch. This was one gut feeling that led me to making a very hard, but ultimately good, decision. Still, after I finished the book again, I would say things about it like, “It’s my first book, so the writing is really bad,” and “Please don’t judge me! It’s really bad writing, but the plot is good.” And I passed this off as normal. After all, the writing was pretty bad, and it was my first book, so it couldn’t be helped. Right? No.
I recently came to the conclusion that I should never feel the need to make excuses about my writing, and if I’m doing that, it means something’s wrong. After I came to that conclusion, I died a little inside because it means I have to rewrite The Dreamcatchers again. What I realized is this: I was thirteen or fourteen when I first wrote it, and I was fifteen or sixteen when I rewrote it. I was only two or three years older when I wrote it again, and I’m twenty now, which means I’ve had four more years of practice since then. When I rewrote it the first time, I thought it was amazing how much I’d grown as a writer. And I wasn’t wrong. It was a dramatic improvement, but I mistakenly thought that because it had been improved, it was done. Now that I’ve realized my mistake, I’m going to bite the bullet and rewrite the book. Not entirely. There are still bits and pieces I can use from the rewrite, but I’ve come to understand that there is always room for improvement. I’ll know that the book is somewhere around the realm of truly completed when I stop making excuses for it, when my gut tells me it’s good. And I also came up with an awesome simile that sums up my feelings on rewriting perfectly: Rewriting your work is like coming down with the flu. It sucks, and it can even be quite painful, but you know that you’re going to get through it. And since you can’t avoid it, you do everything you can to get better and push through it.
So now I think I’m done with the whole “listen to your gut” subject. And yeah, you should really go to The Oatmeal. And Hyperbole and a Half, because if you haven’t seen this yet – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html – then you haven’t lived.
Word of the Day: Fracas (n) – a noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar