grammar

A writer should never attempt to mimic or copy the style of another writer, but instead develop their own style. You are an individual with a story to tell in your own unique way, so string those words together with the flow of your own rhythm. Does this mean you shouldn’t edit your work? Absolutely not! For heavens sake, edit and edit and edit some more! Make your work the best it can be while staying true to your originality. And in the case of my own particular style of writing, I have found that I like breaking the rules- grammar rules that is. While not mimicking the style of other writers, I have provided examples to go along with the reason for my rebelliousness when it comes to certain rules.

  1.  As I have mentioned in a previous post about Hemingway, I thoroughly enjoy the use of great “ly” words, within reason of course. Don’t we use them everyday while speaking?
  2. Fragments. Fleeting thoughts running through our heads. See what I did there? I think in certain scenarios within a story fragments serve a purpose, and I despise semicolons. I absolutely refuse to use them. Ex.  “…frags can also work beautifully to streamline narration, create clear images, create tension, as well as to vary the prose-line.”- Steven King’s On Writing  
  3. I also like a well written run on sentence, because not only do people speak in fragments at times, but we also take a thought and run with it on and on with no break and no pauses, and why not? Ex.“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?”-Jack Kerouac’s On the Road 
  4. And starting a sentence with a conjunction is suppose to be a big “no no.” I tend to do this frequently throughout my writing.  Ex. “He had never seen a home, so there was nothing for him to say about it. And he was not old enough to talk and say nothing at the same time.”- William Faulkner’s Light in August
  5. Another rule I break that I’ve been told not to do is writing in the vernacular. At times I feel it is an important writing technique used to build up realistic qualities of a character. I used the vernacular in my short story The Adventures of Rusty Bear Paw to add insight into the kind of person the main character was, a backwoods man from the deep Louisiana bayous. He wrote like he spoke. “I leaveth my bow and arrows that I made with these here hands to Buddy Fisher. May his arrow always fly strait. You can ax him if he wants them moccasin boots too since he helpt me skin the deer to make em.” Another example from David Oglivy- “If you are trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me that you should use their language, the language they use everyday, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

Am I saying you should break these grammar rules? No. I am simply saying that you should always stay true to your writing style. Be a daring narrative rebel if it helps to improve the tone of your work. Thank you and have a happy Wednesday!

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2 Comment on “Lay Off My Grammar!

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