I’m an author and I’m going to tell you my dirty little secret—I don’t know what a misplaced modified is.
Yes, I took an English 101 in college where I was supposed to learn all the correct rules of grammar, but I hated that class. I think I got a B, but I’ve long since forgotten everything I shoveled into my short term memory banks concerning participles, modifiers, and the like. I think part of the reason I delayed becoming a writer for so long was because I had this idea in my head of what a writer should be. And he/she was definitely someone who knew all about grammar and punctuation and, well, the rules of writing.
It took me a couple years of thinking about writing before I actually did the writing, but one conversation stood out in my mind that pointed me in the right direction. I was discussing breast cancer with my cousin, Diana Megli (family members call her Sis) who was undergoing her third relapse with the disgusting disease. The conversation was something like this. She said, “Most people say, why me? I say, why not me?”
I had never thought of cancer or anything else quite like that before. I harbored my secret desire, wondering if I could ever write a young adult or adult romance novel. I kept chanting those same words to myself, “Why not me?”
Why shouldn’t anyone pursue their dreams? I let my ideas of not knowing every rule of grammar hold me back, but Sis made me realize there was no reason to hold back, except my own insecurities. Who was it who said, “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Oh, that would be Alfred Lord Tennyson.
I decided to adopt my cousin’s attitude, of why not me and Lord Tennyson’s watered down version of love and said to myself, “Better to have tried and failed, then never to have tried at all.” Or who knows, maybe somebody famous already said that.
So now you know my dirty little secret and how I overcame it. And here’s another secret: get a grammar queen critique partner. Believe me, they are out there. Regardless, don’t let anything hold you back from your goals, whether it be misplaced modifiers or simply not believing in yourself.
Don’t say, why me? Say, why not me?