The British Arts Council has this thing called YouWriteOn.com. It's like Authonomy.com but a bit more formal--and far more stringent in its requirements. So I put up one of my manuscripts I'm shopping around (the Death of a Young Lieutenant script) and finally received two reviews--you need five reviews for it to be considered by agents, publishers, etc.

What's interesting about the reviews is this; both liked the story. But one was either an agent or editor. He gave good ratings on the story, plot, dialogue, pacing; and then a detailed drubbing on Standard British Grammar. The second reviewer was just a reader and a potential buyer . . . as well as a writer. Loved the book. Yes, he saw some grammatic 'tics' but he was more interested in the story.
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And it makes me wonder--do editors 'nix' a story because the story is no good? Or do they hit the waste basket with it because of too many technical errors and they don't want to mess correcting it?

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Comment by John Dishon on May 27, 2009 at 5:08am
In my opinion, it's a moot point, because if you're serious about storytelling then grammatical and spelling and typo, etc errors will be unacceptable and therefore an agent or editor will never see any work that has such errors. So, for me, if a story has a lot of technical errors, it is no good. The "story" is the end result, the sum of everything you put into it, so you can't separate the "story" from whatever errors may be present.

It seems you've got your story on two sites now and everyone is saying the same thing: you need to do some copy-editing. You do a disservice to yourself and your story if you try to rationalize them as "tics". They are mistakes, so just fix them and move on.
Comment by I. J. Parker on May 27, 2009 at 4:34am
There are basic expectations: You are supposed to know grammar, diction, and spelling. An occasional glitch can be overlooked, but repeated problems are a distinct turn-off -- incidentally also for readers (who tend to blame the publisher for some obscure reason).

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