Writing is a craft. Like any craft, it’s important to know how to use the tools. What do I mean by tools? Well, what do you need to know or use in order to write? Obviously, you need to have a good vocabulary. Repeating the same words over and over becomes, well, repetitious and will the bore the reader. A good vocabulary is easy to attain… if you like to read. So, read. And read a lot. Easy enough.
But there is more to writing than words and reading. Sometimes, it means research. Well, often, it means research, even if you write fantasy. Despite what a lot of people think, you can’t believe everything on the internet. Learning which sites are accurate, which sites to ignore, and where to find the information you need can be challenging, but there is a lot of help out there. And, of course, there is your local library. You can often check out books on what you need to know.
It also means knowing at the very least: grammar, punctuation, spelling, a large vocabulary (because the thesaurus is not always your friend), the difference between similes and metaphors, structure, and character development arc. Many people believe grammar and punctuation are unnecessary to know in order to write well, that fixing those issues are the job of an editor/proofreader. Untrue. It is the author’s job to know this… if they are serious about it. This allows the editor to focus on the plot, the characters, the arc of the story. It makes the process of editing and revising much easier and pretty painless. If the author is challenged by punctuation, capitalization, etc? Please tell your editor in advance. This way, they know. They will show more patience and not think you are ignoring their suggestions. Remember, editors are human, and most do not have ESP. 😀 They want to help; they want you to succeed. Most take pride in their work.
There are a lot of websites that advise on grammar and punctuation that are wrong. One of my favorite sites for grammar and punctuation is University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab. It is easy to navigate, easy to understand, and has worksheets you can do to help you get the lesson. Oh, did I mention it’s free? 🙂
An author should also know the equipment they use for writing (computer, Word/or other word processing program), how to format a file, how to attach a file, how to rename of file, track changes, etc. These are tools of the trade now too.
Imagine a company like Lockheed hiring a person whose field of study was, say, drama instead of engineering. How successful do you think this person would be in creating a satellite? Or a company looking for a personal assistant. Are they likely to hire someone who doesn’t know computers?
Yeah, so, educate yourself. It really makes for better, easier writing, quicker edits, and easier revisions.