On Authoring: Try To vs Try And

Welcome to my new series On Authoring. I've worn many hats in my decade+ years in publishing. I began as an author. A leap forward landed me in the art department, where I created covers for a handful of small publishers. In December 2007, Frankie and I launched our own house. We owned and operated Lyrical Press until January 2, 2014. On that day, the company changed hands and became a line with Kensington Publishing Corp. There I stayed, were I currently work behind the scenes as Lyrical's Managing Director.

What do I do there? A bit of everything, and I couldn't be happier. I love that I have a hand in moving the line along, working with incredibly talented authors and editors who are, literally, living legends. 

There's also a good chance I formatted the Lyrical book you're reading.

So, how does this qualify me to dish out writing advice? Glad you asked. Over the years, I've spent most of my time up to my elbows in raw manuscripts. I've seen the rough drafts of some of the industry's top authors. This insider's view gave me the rare opportunity to see, firsthand, that whether an author is seasoned, or if they are new to publishing, we all make the same common mistakes.

Which brings me to On Authoring...

An author's job is to hone their craft. Sometimes, that means working with an editor who will slash at your manuscript with the dreaded red pen. Other times, it's a small nudge in the right direction that can make the difference between clean and dirty writing. With On Authoring, I hope to be that little nudge in the right direction by sharing simple solutions to the common, but annoying, writing pitfalls.

Try To vs Try And

If I had a nickel for every time I've come across 'try and' when it shook have been 'try to', I'd own a summer home on Hawaii. 

Seriously.

'Try and' is an idiom. In most cases, it's an informal use of 'try to'. Are there times when 'try and' is correct? Absolutely. 

Example: I try and fail to use my own advice when writing the first draft of a manuscript.

The above example states that I tried something and failed.

Example: I try and remember the billion grammar rules when self-editing my work.

Again, the above example is correct. I try and remember to use grammar rules when editing my own work. 

Here's where 'try to' is correct.

Example: I dare you to try to remember all the grammar rules when writing your first draft.

See the difference? 

Example: You try and succeed.

Or,

Example: You try and fail.

But,

You try to do better.

Or,

And you try to understand.

Challenge

I dare you to do a search of 'try and' in your current work-in-prgress. See how many needs to be replaced with 'try to'. 

If you're feeling particularly brave, come back and post your search results in the comments!