Those of you who have been hanging with me for a long time may know that I have a deep "disrespect" for the book Requiem for a Dream, by Hubert Selby. All telling, no showing, and characters who I just wanted to die long before the story's end. In addition to these issues, Selby added extra problems for the reader by cramming multiple speakers into the same paragraph and by refusing to use quotation marks. The writing in the book is so pretentious that Selby even refused to use the apostrophe in such phrases as "I'm" and "You're," using Im and youre instead.
My review of "Requiem" on Goodreads still garners a stray comment once in a while. Recently someone else had chimed in that the grammar and punctuation issues made it hard for them to read the book as well. Another person responded that:, essentially, it has to be remembered that grammar and punctuation have "absolutely no implications on the actual story."
Wow, how wrong could that second commentator be? No implications? I'm definitely not a grammar NAZI and my own grammar isn't top of the line. I make plenty of errors and have to do a lot of careful proofreading on those elements of my stories. But, grammar and punctuation have many implications for story because they provide the framework by which we access story. Imagine a wonderful museum without any kind of handicapped access. A person in a wheelchair isn't going to be able to enjoy that wonder, at least not without a lot of extra effort and inconvenience.
Here's another analogy that occurred to me. Flowers can be very beautiful growing wild, but landscapers have long known that "arranging" flowers in certain ways increases their impact. The careful use of trellises and beds can enhance the viewer's experience. In the same way, proper grammar and punctuation can be used to better display a good story to its best effect. Grammar errors or problems with punctuation detract from that display. A few errors here and there aren't going to detract too much from a good story, but a lot of them will really throw the reader out of the story. At least they do me.
How about you?