I’ve concluded that my spelling and grammar have both seriously gone downhill in the last ten years or so. This is a little depressing. I think it’s down to the fact that I don’t read like I used to. There was a time when I would read lots of novels, but these days I usually find myself reading screenplays. Not that’s a bad thing, that's a good thing, that’s what I do now. I write screenplays.
From a writing point of view, a writer needs to read as much as possible to keep that gray matter ticking over. If you don’t read, how can you expect to write?
A screenwriter writes for readers, so you have to look at it from their point of view. A few grammar issues and spelling mistakes can be overlooked. However, if there is a consistent and constant bombardment of these types of errors throughout your screenplay. Especially on that opening first or first five pages or so, what impression is that going to give the person reading your work?
It’s probably going to make a negative impression and they may then conclude that if you’re this careless with your spelling and grammar. What hope is there for your story?
Even if you have the coolest concept and have executed it to the highest standard possible. The screenplay might end up getting tossed in the trash by the (yikes) fourth or fifth page.
In conclusion, check your spelling and grammar the best you can. Put it in a drawer for a couple of weeks and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. If you can get someone who's good at spelling and grammar to read through it, even better.
Common words that get mixed up.
Access / excess
Accept / except
Practice / practise
Licence / license
Advice / advise
Their / they’re / there
You’re / your
Who’s / whose
Affect / effect
Every day / everyday
Were / where / wear / ware / we’re
Cite / site / sight
Principle / principal
Assure / insure / ensure
Whether / weather
I usually get these confused when I haven’t actually bothered to take the time to read what I’ve written. And it can be quite frustrating. So I wonder what it must be like for someone reading my work. Check your spelling and grammar.