Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sometimes a word is just a word. (and sometimes its a gerund)

The more I read in general and read about writing in particular, the more I’ve learned I have yet to learn. It’s all a bit boggling at times.

One of the things I have learned is that there are rules to writing. (see my blog entry on headhopping for another fun discovery along these lines.) Some rules are unwritten, some iron clad, and every single one of them is broken with regularity and to wildly varying degrees of success.

No book should be written in the first person, but they exist. Shifting perspectives are bad, unless they aren’t.  Conversation tags should always be used, but some don’t, each new speaker gets their own paragraph, and my favourite so far is Romance rule #1, all future couples must meet within the first chapter, or the first three pages. That one goes out the window with regularity too.

    Some of these are grammar basics, others are writing conventions, and still others seem to be repeated with inaccuracies and variations until finally the web and other sources are filled with more exceptions than rules. I know somewhere out there a bevy of English teachers are laughing up their collective sleeves and giving me the “I told you so” look. To Mr Stack and all the others.  I’m sorry. You’re right. I <i>did </i>need to know what a dangling modifier was, and I now understand why passive voice is a vile and evil thing that no writer should suffer to live. 

My best friend tells me I over think things. I think in this case, she’s quite right. All this studying, memorizing and theory have given me insight, understanding and one hell of a headache. Stephen King says to be a good writer you need to read and write a lot. I’m adding a personal coda. In my case, I need to read a lot, write a lot, and try not to let the rest get in the way of what I want to say with my writing.