Today’s tempest in a teapot

Frequent readers of this blog will recall that yesterday, I posted a snippet from work-in-progress Carousel Seas; then deleted it when a complaint about the ungrammaticalness of the snippet was the first response to it.

Now, posting snippets is something I do because I want to; it’s fun in much the same way as eating cookies fresh out of the oven is fun.  Neither is meant to be nutritious, necessarily; just a little hit of pleasure to sweeten the day.

Snippets usually come directly out of the work I’ve done on the day of their posting; they are first draft material.  That means they may contain spelling errors, punctuation errors, errors in arithmetic, grammar errors, and all the other sorts of Soul-Destroying Horrors that attend first draft material.

The cry of “not grammatically correct” struck me exactly the same way as you would have been struck, had I walked into your kitchen and slapped the plate of warm cookies out of your hand.

Exactly that.

I mean, if I don’t want a warm cookie, all I have to say is, “No, thanks.”  Right?  No need to be rude about it.

If a snippet offends you, then don’t read any more snippets.  That’s easy, right?  I put them at the very bottom of the page for a reason, you know*.

I want to make it clear that I don’t think my work is perfect; and I certainly don’t think the snippets are perfect.  Some things I post as snippets don’t survive the final draft.  I am, at least a little bit, aware of the demands of my craft.  I do multiple read-throughs of my working manuscript, correcting, changing and shaping.

I also want to make clear that I do not reverence grammar above all things.  Grammar is a tool.  It is not the only tool.  Which is why my initial, but usually suppressed, response to those who need to explain to me that my grammar sucks is, “So. Fucking. What?”

For the folks who are asking that the snippet be re-instated, and that snippeting continue. . .give me a few days to think about this.  I don’t like having cookies slapped out of my hands; it’s upsetting.  This doesn’t mean that I need — or want — tons of praise for my powers as a baker; I mean, for ghod’s sake, they’re just cookies.  I just don’t want to be abused for having baked them.


*The Reason Being that I was taken to task (a couple years ago now) on Baen’s Bar for snipetting.  The objection there being to one’s unrelenting self-promotion.  That kerfuffle cost me three days’ work and a migraine, so you can see why I hide the snippets now, and also why I want to be very careful of my space on this.  If I can’t feel reasonably safe, and get some pleasure from the act of snipetting, then it’s clear, in order to protect my work, that I shouldn’t snippet.


27 thoughts on “Today’s tempest in a teapot”

  1. Some people are so rude. Blogs are supposed to be snippet-like. Otherwise there called books.

  2. I will NOT claim to submit my comment and opinion here as HUMBLE. It is not. I am an IMPORTANT PERSONAGE. At least in my own mind.

    *MY* response to the person who slapped the plate of cookies out of your hand had been restrained. It included STFU. For you, not-so-friendly grammar nazi, that means SHUT THE F*CK UP.

    What I *wanted* to do, is what I would do to anyone who walked into a person’s kitchen and slapped a plate of cookies out of their hands. I wanted to smack them REALLY HARD upside their BASTIGE INGRATE HEAD. Then make them apologize to the baker in a HEARTFELT WAY. Then go think about what you’ve done.

    Are these the best cookies in the whole world? Well, *I* like them, but perhaps they are not for everyone. If YOU don’t like them, say no thank you politely.

    I now am feeling quite humble, and HUMBLY REQUEST, very sweetly, more of those delicious, fantastic wonderful cookies that I love so VERY VERY MUCH!!!

    IF that jerkface has wrecked snippetting for you, and subsequently for us, and you just don’t want to, then I totally respect your decision, because first and foremost I want YOU to be comfortable and happy.

    But I TOTALLY DON’T LIKE THAT PERSON. I would not go soo far as to say they have no melant’i. But I certainly will say that I find their melant’i to be of questionable merit.

    I would not make a very good Liaden. But I think I might make a passable Mainer.

  3. I, for one, would like your cookies to continue, metaphorical as well as real.

    Please, Dear Ghu, do NOT stop snippeting, writing, or otherwise depriving me of my favorite addiction, otherwise known as Liaden books and stories.

    (Please, if you will, envision a short, round, copper colored dragon looking upon such rude behavior with a baleful eye and contemplating toasting some backsides, thereby following a proud and noble tradition of flaming internet trolls.)

  4. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. I do hope the rude offender will apologize (Profusely) and the snippets will be re-instated. I look forward to the snippets, like a breath of air at the bottom of a deep mote. What if I send a plate of fresh warm cookies with a note attached that says “Not for critical grammarians” ………?

  5. ……..As though you are not critical enough of your own work; which is why it is soooo darn good!

  6. I quite enjoyed yesterday’s cookie. The imagery was quite tasty. I did not notice the grammar, but then, I am not allergic to grammar, and generally only notice it when there is fat too much or not nearly enough. (And even then, sometime that it appropriate to the recipe.)

    Also, today’s metaphor is quite delicious.

  7. Grammar is a tool. One that most people allow to slip now and again, particularly in conversation. It should not be a straitjacket. One of the things you excel in as a writer is dialog that is believable. That means grammar is thrown to the wind.

    As far as “self-promotion” goes? Seanan McGuire has recently been taken to task for the same thing regarding her recent Hugo nomination (’cause it obviously couldn’t be talent, right?). This accusation is rarely leveled against male writers. Her “crime” is writing in her blog about her writing. I thought that was the point of writers’ blogs.

  8. I’m sorry you were hurt by that commenter. That is really offensive behaviour! your blog is YOUR blog. I’d be inclined the show a person to the door if they slapped my cookies out of my hand and the same goes with the blog. On the other hand, maybe the person had some misguided idea that they were being either ‘helpful’ or just plain ol’ showing you how smart they were, not thinking about the consequences. its too bad.

  9. “Proper grammar” belongs in English Dept. papers and signage (we have a plethora of “bunny’s for sale” and “cuc’s for sale” around here. I just cringe!). For fiction, even after it is “finished” and published, you are right. It is a tool. Snippets from a draft are *fun*. I hope one person’s need to instruct the author doesn’t permanently ruin your sense of fun (and our enjoyment of it!). I agree about the commenter’s melant’i being of questionable merit. May there be no migraines in your future over this incident!

  10. I am sorry that an unreasonable person denied me the pleasure of reading a new snippet. I did not log on yesterday so I missed your post. I am the worlds worst speller, grammer person. For someone to GRADE your work before it is finished is awful.. Thank you for any and all mistakes. They make me feel better about my skills so please keep making them, the next time I address a letter to my daughter ANGLE, I won’t feel so bad. LOL, june

  11. Oh, I experiment with baking as well (cinnamin in sloppy joes do not taste good) but definatly not with writing. Spell check for me is a must. Keep up the good work, and I hope the hot cookies burnt the poster.

  12. If grammar trumps all then The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    Should never be published or read, and it happens to be
    One of my favorite books EVER!

    Please continue with your snippets for those of us that
    Love warm cookies.

  13. Seanan is taking a really unreasonable amount of heat. This is a banner year for her, and she should be able to have the freedom to enjoy her success. Apparently, some folks just live to tarnish the joy of others.

    The “women do excessive self-promotion” thing has been around for a long time. We are still supposed to be modest and quiet and respectful and wait for men to praise us, rather than bringing our own work forward.

    I talk about my projects in my blog, because — that’s what the blog’s for. Seanan has far more irons in the fire than I do at any one time, so, yanno, she talks about what she’s doing. I can’t figure out how that’s in any way unreasonable, or excessive, except in terms of “women should be seen as little as possible, and heard not at all.”

    …wow. I believe I may be in a Mood.

  14. If a person has so little to do that they find it necessary to slap a plate of warm cookies out of someone’s hand, they need to sit on the floor with a cup of tea and eat a few of those cookies. They will feel so much better. As for the person who extended the plate, please keep baking and offering warm cookies.

  15. This it not a good thing, and I’m sorry you’ve suffered for it.
    I’m picky about grammar to a large extent, and I didn’t notice any problems with yesterday’s snippet.
    I also understand this is a privilege you’ve extended us, like “here’s the spoon from putting the cookie dough on the pan, you may have some (imperfectly mixed) dough to eat, but don’t drop it back in the bowl and contaminate it for the rest of the family.”

    Where is this troll (attacking Seanan McGuire) when it comes to Neil Gaiman? If I ever saw someone who does self promotion — ! Authors are SUPPOSED to do self promotion, just like actors or comedians. Even Lawyers & Doctors get to do it these days, fer cryin’ out loud!

    My sympathies to you, and no, do not let yourself get into a state producing a migraine over it. The universe will bite such bozos in the butt soon enough.

  16. Turn on comment moderation and ruthlessly delete any comments you don’t care to share. After all, this is your personal space, and you may choose who to allow in.

    Or, turn off comments altogether. Again, this is your personal space and no one should presume to have the right to insult you in it. Anyone who objects to your rules may find their own personal space in which to complain about it.

    I’m not sure why you should feel shy about shameless self promotion of your work on your blog (which bears your name). It is, after all, your blog. Promote yourself in any way you like.

    As for the self-proclaimed Grammar Goddesses, I might suggest they go volunteer to tutor youngsters or something to occupy their time. Though I hate to snuff out young writer talent by insisting on so many rules that the content of the writing totally gets lost. (Alas, I know all too well what that felt like as a youth, and what effect it had on my feelings about writing for far too long).

  17. Keep doing what makes you happy. Posting snippets or not posting snippets. It should all be in good fun in the end. The grammar police will always be on patrol throughout the interwebs, but most of us see them for what they are. Socially unpleasant folk who can’t help themselves for whatever reason. If that’s what they get out of things then they are missing out on a deeper level of enjoyment.

  18. ps. There is a five second rule on dropped food. I say post away and let the grammar police write unpaid tickets. >:D

  19. Can I have their cookies? Just kidding.

    I agree with cranscape – do what makes you happy. I actually imagine it as you letting us lick the bowl. The analogy amuses me because it reminds me of the Fledgling and Saltation serial bowls. It’s a side product of your “baking” that you graciously share to make us happy. You could have just filled it with hot soapy water and stuck it in the sink.

    I wouldn’t DREAM of criticizing someone’s beautiful, thoughtful gift like that. I really enjoy the snippets, but again, do what makes YOU happy.

    Rosanne, aka grassrose

  20. Oh Sharon I’m so sorry that Rude Nasty Person bothered you. Your wonderful books will LONG outlast any Nazi grammarism on his/her part.
    Just consider the source and stick your tongue out at RNP.
    And, pretty much, what Michele said!!

  21. Snippets are fun and if you decide to sound out a hearty “Damn the torpedos!” and post them then I’ll be happy and so will many of your other fans. But if you decide not to post them anymore I will miss them but you have to do what’s best for you. Still shaking my head at the thought of self-promotion being a bad thing.

  22. To join the choir: I love seeing snippets from you. Love it. It’s so intriguing to get these little morsels of the so-anticipated Book That Is To Come, and to get to cheer along your progress from here.

    Seems to me that this is basically, electronically, your home. Yours. It’s an open house rather than a sit-down dinner party, but still, it’s your space and you’re the host, and if someone is rude, trolling, or just makes you feel bad or drains your energy in any way, you are under no obligation to tolerate their presence. You don’t have to be fair, or un-triggered by past experiences, or any of the gender role messages i know i’m still working hard to decondition myself from, to be fully entitled to just say no to stuff you don’t like. Here of all places.

    If you feel like someone came into your space and made you feel uncomfortable being and expressing yourself freely in your own space? You get to turf them. No way should some jerk get to come in here and make you feel like you oughtn’t express yourself however you like in your own blog.

    I hope the outpouring of support here will thoroughly wash away the ick of rude hoser guy, and that one nidj won’t ruin the pleasant connection we get to have with you and you with us through the sharing of snippets.

  23. Ahh, bless you lady! You have such a gift, and I am so thankful that you and Steve share your amazing professional capacities with us. And to have you blog on top of that! well, what a grace. So I say: screw the idiots that don’t appreciate the kindness and invitation of this blog. If giving us snippets distresses you – well, then don’t. But I for one, will miss them. Thank you for many many hours of refreshment, and for the courage that I catch from your characters. I am very thankful for you and Steve. And, speaking as a university professor (just pulling out the guns, here), your grammar has never distracted me from your work.

  24. When I am reading a Liaden phrase or conversation I have little attention for grammar. And I notice this true of all your books. Just keep doing what your are doing and darn the torpedoes. Thanks for your wonderful worlds.

  25. Sharon, I know it hurts having cookies beaten from your hands ,and we are all sorry it happened. Please leave the snippets in your daily blogs as all your fans enjoy them very much . Your snippets are like our window into your creative process it a joyous look at the birthing of a story or a character its so important to your fans. Please leave the snippets in your blogs.

    Bob Calhoon

  26. I just wonder if the “grammar critic” was perhaps trying to be helpful but was cack-handed in the attempt. I suggest this since I have just finished reading a story (title, author and collection all to be nameless – but no Liad connection!) which was so full of grammtical mistakes?/typos?/bad editing?/inconsistancies?/flights of fancy? that I couldn’t follow it.
    And if your cookie collection includes the original Rombauer recipe for chocolate nut drop cookies, I would be delighted to be pointed in the right direction!

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