On Writing

Harper’s Harpings – Contractions, written ones


I had a Goodreads review after her reading a few chapters and she didn’t like it. It happens, no problem, but she raised a few points and one of them has been pointed out to me before and that is contractions.

Here is her review:

Forgive me but while the synopsis was intriguing, there were way too many grammatical errors that it made it difficult for me to continue on. Talk about irritating. When I mean grammatical, I mean there were commas where they didn’t belong, and missing commas where they should’ve been. Not to mention the run-on sentences. Talk about missing periods (no pun intended). Granted I only read a few chapters; however, contractions would’ve made the story flow smoothly. This novel needs serious editing. I’ll give it another chance if and when the author decides to have her novel proofread. If you’re able to read it without any problems, more power to you. Me? I like to read sentences that make sense.

From this I read that she does not like my writing style rather than the book needs a serious edit.  She thinks I need to edit the book to her reading style.  I get that, no problem but I can’t change my writing style each time someone doesn’t like it.  That would be ludicrous.  She wants me to reduce my sentence length, fair point. I don’t understand the bit when she says ‘talk about missing periods (no pun intended)’ that bit was lost on me, where is the pun? She ripped into my book, there is no pun to be had here.

Now, I know that I have to control the way I write in order for it to flow better, we all do, it is part of learning the craft.  Contractions are the most difficult part for me.

What do I mean when I say contractions? Wiki says this:

A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters (actually, sounds).[1] In traditional grammar, contraction can denote the formation of a new word from one word or a group of words, for example, by elision. This often occurs in rendering a common sequence of words or, as in French, in maintaining a flowing sound.

In linguistic analysis, contractions should not be confused with abbreviations nor acronyms (including initialisms), with which they share some semantic and phonetic functions, though all three are connoted by the term “abbreviation” in loose parlance.[1] Contraction is also distinguished from clipping, where beginnings and endings are omitted.

So, examples:

I am – I’m; Do not – Don’t; Let us – Let’s

You get the picture, if you were to meet me then you would understand why this may be a struggle for me.  If I were to talk to you in person I would say ‘I am going to the coffee shop and I do not want to be disturbed’  that is exactly how I would say it.  I can’t help it, i way I speak.  Naturally this will come into my writing, it has been pointed out to me before and Loving Lilly is my 10th publication and it is littered with contractions.  I have come a long way, but I am still wordy and have trouble using don’t instead of do not.  I know this to still be true because I am forever reducing my tweets when I run over the 140 character count, the first thing I do is to use contractions.  I hate it if I am honest but I have to mould to the masses.

Did I deserve this kind of review when she has read a few chapters?  That is not for me to decide but one thing that irks me, is that she has assumed that the book has not already been proof read. ‘When the author decides to have her book proofread’, assumption statement but she is entitled.  It would have been better to say, the author should have taken the advice of her proof reader, that would have been a truer assumption. Also to say that it needs a serious edit because my writing style doesn’t match her reading style, is harsh. In my opinion.

However, she has given me food for thought, I am not going to change the other books and re publish, that would be ridiculous, I would be forever changing the style of the books to suit every reviewer.  What I will do is look at my contractions or lack of and decide if I am or I’m going to change.

Both are grammatically correct but it is about the easy flow of the book, I don’t want to compromise my style but I also don’t want to alienate potential readers by refusing to say don’t instead of do not.

Do you have an opinion? I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading




Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour.   Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what.


4 thoughts on “Harper’s Harpings – Contractions, written ones”

  1. Writing styles vary. I write long sentences in the main too. Once in a while, I’ll drop in a short line so as to metaphorically punch the reader and make them pay attention. The point is, if all writers wrote the same, we would never have our favourites.
    You’re an individual; be you and write as is right for you. 😀


    1. Sometimes I start to question my writing, and then think back to the other reviewers that do like my style. You are absolutely right though, I wouldn’t be comfortable forcing a style that isn’t mine 😀


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