I swear every word of this is true
Act One: Happy Hour -17, New Leaf office.
Manuscript arcs over the transom, and lands on my desk with a rather liquidy plop. Clearly whisky was involved in the writing. Aha! The new Jeff Somers pages.
Laphroaig, rinse, repeat.
I sharpen my editing pencil on my fangs, and mark that Jeff has named characters Alice, Alyse, and Alison. And two people both seemed to be named Candace.
I mark the odd capitalization that Creeps in to Jeff's writings; capitalizations That really don't seem To be any Thing other than random.
I mark the occasional homonym and grammar slip.
I summon the messenger and have the ms biked back to New Jersey.
Act Two: Happy Hour -8, New Leaf Office
Revised manuscript arrives via liveried footman who mentions off-handedly that Jeff is helping Prince Harry write his wedding vows today so I won't need to reply till tomorrow.
I compare old version to new.
But wait, one...no, TWO grammar errors remain.
He must not have seen them.
I mark again, this time in BOLD RED and catch the liveried footman before he steps into the elevator.
Act Three: Happy Hour -5, New Leaf Office
Homer Spit Somers pussyfoots into the New Leaf office with a manuscript in his back pack. He deftly spins it onto my desk, settles into a warm spot on top of my computer, casually flicks a claw in my direction to indicate this is the next revision.
I spot those same damn grammar errors.
I reach for the phone.
Homer Spit, no fool he, dives into the nearest filing cabinet and pulls the drawer shut behind him. As I dial, I wonder idly if Homer has filed himself under F for Feline, C for Cat, or H for Hidden.
JS: Oh hi Janet, how are you?
JR: Purrfect, of course.
JS: So, I'm busy here, this Prince guy isn't who I thought he was, but never mind. What's up?
JR: You didn't fix those two grammar mistakes.
JS: They aren't mistakes.
JR: (a tad huffy) They certainly are. "Her and me" is totally completely 100% wrong wrong wrong.
JS: It's on purpose.
JR: (aghast pause) You're making mistakes on purpose? This is cranking "let's torture your agent" up to 11.
JS: The character speaking does not always sound like Miss Parsnips, your grammar teacher.
JR: Oh. But still, it's WRONG! It's Bad Grammar! (clutches copies of Mignon Fogerty books to fluttering fin.) It can't be right if it's wrong, it just can't. *weeping ensues*
JS: It is and it's not. The character says this. It's not narrative, it's dialogue. Get yourself together, before I write a scene in a bank with safety deposit boxes
JR: *heartfelt moans* no, no, please don't do that. Anything but that.
JS: My agent is weeping. My work here is done.
Homer Spit deftly opens the file cabinet, leaps out, pussyfoots down the drainpipe and into the sunset.
The End, Happy Hour .. oh hell, break out the whisky now.
Your takeaway: Don't let Miss Parsnips, in agent or editor form, tell you that just cause it's wrong it's not right. Characters speak incorrectly all the time, just like real people do. Hold your ground, even in the face of bitter shark tears.