Click here to see the final scene from movie “Little Women”, where Jo March’s latest book is published 🙂
When I started writing for FanStory, I never imagined I would receive so much criticism regarding the poor quality of my proofreading, spelling and grammar. As most of you may have noticed, English is my second language, which I started learning only at the age of eight. My English is at school level only, which is why my literary English is poor.
I never cared about the importance of proofreading, spelling and grammar when I started writing for FanStory, until the negative but constructive criticisms accumulated in my inbox. Some of my readers even mentioned frankly that, because of the problems I face while writing in English, they didn’t always understand the message in my stories, and they even became confused when reading them.
My aim, at first, was to compose something sincere from the heart for my readers, and not something perfectly written, which would have sounded superficial and hypocritical. I was inspired by the character of Jo March from the best-selling novel, Little Women. She was the second child and daughter of a four-child family, whose father, Dr March, was hospitalised for a long period of illness.
Jo March always dreamt of becoming a famous writer, but her beginnings were very poor. Her first book took four years to prepare. But following a fight with her younger sister Amy, Amy took her book and threw it in the fire burning in their living room fireplace! Jo held a grudge against Amy for days, but finally forgave her after an accident she had while playing in the snow, from which Jo rescued her.
Her second book was a total failure, though it was perfectly written, because the story was superficial and made no sense.
But her dream came true after her younger sister Beth passed away, following a long period of illness. Jo’s heart was so deeply touched by Beth’s death that her words flooded from her heart through her pen and onto the paper, after Jo had looked through some of Beth’s personal belongings, which she secretly kept in her personal trunk. Beth was the most neglected child of the family, as no one cared about her or about her dreams. She lived in her own world in total silence, until she contracted a high fever and suffered until her last breath. Through Beth’s personal belongings, Jo discovered who Beth really was, and she then wrote a new book with the voice of her heart, especially dedicated to all her sisters, especially Beth. Jo’s new book was named Little Women.
She gave the book to her editor and, for the first time, the book was edited. Her editor assured her that the book would become a best seller, because Jo was totally sincere in her story. All the words came from the voice of her heart.
Thanks to Jo March, I found inspiration to become a writer. She inspired me through her sincerity and truth. I used sincerity and truth as my main weapons to create my own space in creative writing, thinking it would be enough to convince the reader. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I didn’t realize that Jo March, even though she wrote with her heart, also had excellent spelling and grammar, which complimented the sincerity of her story. I didn’t realize that I was focussing only on my little person, instead of putting myself in the place of my readers, without caring whether they would be comfortable or stressed by my writing skills, or whether they would understand the story and become involved in it.
Today, thanks to my readers’ criticisms, I have learnt my lesson and realise the importance of proofreading in literature and creative writing. Thanks to my critics, I opened my eyes again and came back to reality. Though he’s helping me, I must also help him and do my own part. Through this, I will really improve my literary English level and be more widely read and promoted. It will also be a step ahead for me. Maybe also, depending how much free time I have since my young son is now solarized, I will be able to consecrate more time to reading more English language books, and perhaps even take some literary English lessons to improve my level, and save money by doing my own proofreading.
I don’t want to end this short essay without thanking all my readers for their precious advice and for opening my eyes to the importance of proofreading, and for helping me understand that proofreading will never endanger the sincerity and true shape of my stories, poems and books, but will make those shapes clearer, leading to a better understanding of each story and a better appreciation of it at the emotional level.