MamaBlogger365 – It’s Perfect, Now Change It by Jennifer Flaten

This weekend I helped my daughter edit her “Slice of Life” essay; it is her first writing project for fifth grade. Now, I wanted to help her have a great essay, yet I didn’t want to commandeer the project and be one of “those moms”.

I let her write exactly what she wanted, and you know what, her personality really came through on the essay. I loved it. Did it need some polishing? Sure, it did, and I know she knew that, but still, after running the spell check and grammar check on it and tinkering with a few lines here and there, I could tell she was getting upset.

The look on her face said it all, that look I think all writers get when the editor starts working on their manuscript – the “but I thought you liked it” face.

For a moment, I wanted to just tell her it was okay as is and let her go, but I didn’t. I know that wouldn’t be helping her at all.

What I did do was try to get her to understand that some of the stuff was pure mechanical stuff; we had to make sure the grammar was correct but that the story itself was still great.

It didn’t help that I am not a grammarian, I am a little fuzzy on some of the rules and rely probably way too much on grammar check. My daughter loves including dialog in her stories; I think that is fantastic. I personally stay away from dialog because I am not very comfortable with the grammar rules of dialog… well, now here I was trying to help her edit the dialog in her essay.

It is very hard to reconcile how someone can say, “I love your story” and then proceed to change this and take out that.

I tried to explain to her that I know exactly how she is feeling (and I do, I truly do) I just wanted to help her have the best essay possible. I don’t think she believed me.

I hope her teacher spends a little more time going over the grammar rules, and then she can help edit my work.

Bio: Jennifer Flaten is a Wisconsin-based writer with three small children who understands the delicate balance between home and work. She knows having a healthy, happy family is a priority, and with that in mind, she has a special interest in health, family and technology. Her works have been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and at various online journals.

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Photo credit: imelenchon | MorgueFile

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