I saw a quote just now that writers need to learn punctuation, because if they get one tiny thing wrong, editors will throw their story right out.
Um – really???
If I write a good story, with compelling situations, relatable characters, and a great ending – are they really going to see a comma in the wrong place and throw their hands up in dismay “Oh for the love of Pete! There’s a mistake in punctuation! We can’t use this!”
If my writing is such that even one tiny punctuation error stands out, then the problem is more than punctuation, isn’t it?
The quote goes on to say that you have to know punctuation to even begin to write.
Again – really? I need to know punctuation to even begin writing?
I mean – when was the last time you finished an amazing book with the sated sigh, “Now that was great punctuation!”
To begin writing, one only needs imagination and the oppressive urge to tell a story. Pencil and paper help but even those simple tools aren’t vital to writing a story; they only come in handy for writing a story down. Writing – the actual agonizing creative process comes from inside, your heart and soul and memories and needs and fears and dreams and grudges and all those things that skulk at the edges, clamoring to be made real.
Writing well doesn’t mean writing perfectly. It means putting your readers into the story so completely they don’t even see the words on the page, much less the punctuation. Worry about telling your story first, everything else comes later.