Writer School?

Written by Michael LaRocca

WRITER SCHOOL? Copyright 2004, Michael LaRocca

Here's something from my mailbag. "Dear Michael, do you need to do good in school if you want to be a writer? I stink at school and all my friends laugh at me when I tell them I want to write, but I'm serious." Followed by a sentence or two of "I need your words to encourage me" or some such nonsense.

Fortunately, a writing sample is rarely attached. If it is, either it's excellent or it stinks like rancid yak butter. There's a lot of middle ground inrepparttar writing world, of course, but for some reason it never seems to accompany these emails.

The message is usually (but not always) so filled with errors that I'm not gonna reprint them here or correct them when I reply lest I destroy some sensitive soul like a jackhammer to an eggshell. (It's ridiculous that I should even have such power, being a stranger and all.) Let's move on torepparttar 148340 relevant part,repparttar 148341 question, which actually contains several. This writer gets bonus points for brevity.

Do you have to be good in school? Given what's passing for English in some places, I'd certainly like to see more effort given to school. If you're a student reading this, please try to learn something while you can.

If you aspire to be an author and you did poorly in school, or if you're just plain uneducated, don't let it stop you. What we do as authors isn't taught in school. They teach grammar, and bless them. I can't teach that subject. If you're very fortunate, as I was, you'll stumble across some teachers who teach you how to think. But thinking isrepparttar 148342 beginning of writing, notrepparttar 148343 end, and grammar can be fixed later if you find some long-suffering editor (like me) willing to do it.

In other words, school can help you withrepparttar 148344 first step or two of your journey to be an author. Considering how many steps come after those, don't be discouraged by test results and report cards.

To distill what you think, feel and believe from allrepparttar 148345 trash floating around in your head, and then to actually put that on paperrepparttar 148346 way you mean to put it, is a skill that only comes from years of practice. They don't teach it in school. At least, no school I've ever attended. I struggled at this for 20 years or so after I graduated from college. That's where I learned to write. Not in a classroom.

In my travels throughrepparttar 148347 Matrix, I've met blind authors, deaf authors, dyslexic authors, authors writing in a second or third language, authors suffering partial paralysis, authors with various psychoses, authors who deal with more than one of these obstacles. What they overcome makes my complaint, that I'm too left-brained to be in this business, seem absolutely pathetic. And yours, about doing poorly in school.

Apostrophe Usage Made Simple

Written by Michael LaRocca

APOSTROPHE USAGE MADE SIMPLE Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca

According to one of my previous articles, whenever a Southerner says "Y'all watch this," get out ofrepparttar way because those are probablyrepparttar 148189 last words he will ever say.

Well, I'm a Southerner. I used to live inrepparttar 148190 southeastern United States, but I moved torepparttar 148191 southeast of China. And, I'm about to sayrepparttar 148192 magic words:

Y'all watch this.

The word is "week." If I want to talk about more than one week, like what I wrote a few weeks ago, I'll use weeks. No apostrophe. If I want to talk about something belonging to a week, such as "last week's newsletter," I'll use an apostrophe.

That'srepparttar 148193 rule. If it's a noun, s makes it plural and apostrophe-s makes it possessive. It's just that simple.

If I were still inrepparttar 148194 US, and I wanted one of those fancy carved signs that are so common on southern lawns, it would not read "The LaRocca's." The LaRocca's what? His lawn? His sign? That apostrophe makes it singular possessive, so The LaRocca (one person) is surely claiming ownership of something. If that wasn't his intent, and he whacked in an apostrophe anyway, he's an idiot.

What about plural possessive? Is it "the LaRoccas' house" or "the LaRoccas's house?" Well, it's neither, since my wife isn't a LaRocca and we don't own a house. But forrepparttar 148195 sake of this article, pretend she is and we do.

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