Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I Used Grammarly to Grammar Check This Post, Because CHOCOLATE.

Dudes, it's not very often I get asked to do a sponsored post.
Okay, I know "not very often" is a relative term, and obviously, if you don't have a blog, you must never be asked, because how would you? That would be silly.
So maybe I am asked more often than some of you, but not as often as others of you. Which puts me squarely in the Where The Fuck Is She Going With This category.
While I don't get asked to do a sponsored post all that often, I have done one exactly NEVER, and there is one simple reason for that:
No one has ever agreed to pay me in chocolate.

This is what ends up happening: I get an email request asking me to do a sponsored post. I send a polite, heartfelt reply, asking to be paid in chocolate. I never get a response back.

I have no idea why nobody is willing to pay me in chocolate. What do they have against chocolate? It's too smooth? It's too decadent? It's too awesome on their roughshod tastebuds?
In any case...
Something marvelous happened the other day. I got an email from the company whose name is in the title of the post, Grammarly. They offered me an Amazon gift card if I do a sponsored post on writing and link to them on grammar check. And then, and then! There, at the bottom of the email, was an invitation to come to San Francisco and drink coffee with them.
THAT was quite a personal touch, you guys. They were asking me to share coffee with them. You know what kind of people do that? The kind of people who might be willing to share chocolate with me instead.
So I sent a reply back, asking. AND THEY DID NOT POO POOH THE IDEA.
So here I am, writing their post. It worked out well, because I was thinking about writing a post on writing anyway. I mean, the title of the blog is Shelby Cross, Writer, right? I should write a post now and then on writing.
So here goes.

Wary vs Weary
Synonyms for wary: leery, suspicious, guarded
Synonyms for weary: bored, drained, fatigued
Wary in a sentence: "She studied the spanking bench, wary and nervous."
Weary in a sentence: "She plopped her body down on the pile of pillows, worn out and weary, trying her best not to lay on her bruises."

Taut vs Taunt
Synonyms for taut: tense, strained, stretched
Synonyms for taunt: provoke, criticize, jeer
Taut in a sentence: "He ticked her vulnerable skin, stretched taut by the rope."
Taunt in a sentence: "She taunted him with her insolence, baiting him to punish her."

Tortuous vs torturous (Readers please forgive me the spelling is so fucking close)
Synonyms for tortuous: winding, twisting, bent
Synonyms for torturous: harrowing, agonzing, excruciating
Tortuous in a sentence: "He forced her down the tortuous path into subspace."
Torturous in sentence: "She screamed through his torturous spanking."

Elicit vs Illicit
Synonyms for elicit: evoke, exact, derive
Synonyms for illicit: immoral, improper, adulterous
Elicit in a sentence: "Even in her thigh-high, bright red, skin tight skirt, she was unable to elicit a response from him."
Illicit in a sentence: "He noticed her illicit attire, but chose to say nothing."

Discreet vs Discrete
Synonyms for discreet: cautious, attentive, careful
Synonyms for discrete: disconnected, detached, individual
Discreet in a sentence: "He ordered her to remove her panties discreetly under the table in the public restaurant."
Discrete in a sentence: "The dungeon appealed to a discrete type of clientele, the type who required loud equipment and a soundproof room."

There are other words like this. These are the ones I get wrong the most often. No, scratch that—there are plenty of words I get wrong more often, so often I try my best to just steer clear of them. Words like Effect vs Affect, and Adverse vs Averse. I just find different ways to word the sentence.

Here's the thing about using these words wrong: if the scene is otherwise written out well, if you've captivated your audience with the action, characters, and setting, if your writing style is making the reader want to keep going at a clipped pace, they will not mind if you get these words wrong. At least, not too much. Not the average reader. Yes, there will be readers out there who notice, and will taunt you mercilessly for your mistakes (fuck you, Ken). But most readers will just keep reading.
That, however, is no reason to allow yourself to make these mistakes. They are preventable, avoidable, and completely unnecessary if you edit your work. 
But that's the hard part, isn't it? Most people think writing out a book is the hard part. The truth is, writing out a book is really hard, but nowhere near as hard as going back and editing it through. And then again.
And then again.
And yes, you should use software like Grammarly to grammar check and fix problems that need fixing. Ask friends to look over your work. Put it a away for a few days, and read it again with a fresh pair of eyes. Do whatever it takes, use whatever tools are available to polish up your work before you hand it off to readers.

Know the basic writing rules, know when you are breaking them for a good cause, and forgive yourself if you realize you've made a mistake too late. It happens. We all do it.
But the bottom line is, give your readers the best you can. They deserve it.

This post was sponsored by Grammarly...maybe. If they ever send me my chocolate. If they send me an  Amazon gift card, I will no doubt accept it, but I will use it to buy only chocolate; and while the chocolate will no doubt taste good, it will not be as sweet as chocolate gifted instead.

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