In which I discuss my thoughts on grammar rules:
Grammar is only important as it pertains to furthering the story and connecting to the reader (it does have to make sense).
Writers are not English 9 students learning sentence structure. We know it already, sometimes intrinsically. We know it well enough to know how to use that writing structure, or, as is more often the case, to break the rules in order to play upon emotion, theme, set the pace, make the reader anxious, etc... We could not do that if every sentence we wrote had a clear subject, verb, and modifier and/or every paragraphs was 5-7 sentences and had a clear topic sentence. We write in fragments and run ons. We create words and break away mid sentence.
We're not writing an English paper, we are writing characters. Characters need to be real. They think. They feel. They are not always logical. The reader gets to know them through the way we write them. Sometimes the character's thought processes are random. And sometimes they start sentences with 'and' or end in a preposition. I like to refer to these things as stylistic rather than grammatically incorrect. These things make the author's voice clear and unique. The first first chapter (I wrote several) of Courtly Pleasures (previously known as Courtly Love) was like a term paper. It was grammatically beautiful. Each paragraph was organized around a central theme. It was eleven pages of back story, so it was very much like a research report on Frances Pierrepont and Elizabethan culture. Once I got involved in the action of the story and the dialogue, my writing adapted to tell a story.
I grade student's papers to help them better understand the English language. I write so my reader better understands my story. Totally different. I did not write a paper. I am not a creative writing student. I am a writer and I wrote a book.
Ending this diatribe, I give myself permission to gerund away(ha, I used it as a verb! Take that Strunk and White!). Grammar is not the boss of me. It takes more of a middle management type of position. Grammar is like the supervisor who feels like he has contributed when he made a list of rules about how to use the copier and then goes and makes idle threats when he notices someone did not dispose of the Styrofoam padding that came in the replacement toner cartridge box in the manner designated by the list of rules, so then he laminates the rules so everyone will know he means business and he feels good about the power over copier etiquette until someone else does something else wrong which results in the copier making copies with a thick black line across the middle of every page and then the employees who care about that sort of thing wish they had followed the rules at least some of the time. Like I should have in regards to grammar rules about run-on sentences.
Is grammar your friend? Do you even think about it as you write? Or do you just write?