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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Big Words....

I left a snarky comment on another blog on Monday.

It was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and witty. In my eyes it was, but the author of the post has yet to respond. I may need to apologize.

Here's my issue...the dealio...my beef.

Said column was about writing rules. You all know that I'm not a rule snob, and I fall closer to inhabiting the realm-of-remediality-of-rule-knowledge. Good grief, I won't submit anything without running it past my comma-buddy.

As I read the blog post about knowing the rules to break the rules, and story being king etc., I agreed with several nods and an occasional smile. He was absolutely right. Some people get published and they are nothing but rule breakers who can tell a stinking good story.

The writer of the post has an awesome vocabulary. I don't think mine stinks by any means, but I find myself wanting to be understood rather than misunderstood, and I'm becoming more aware that huge vocabularies sometimes intimidate. Sometimes flinging multi syllabic words around is just annoying too.

We all know the unfortunate beings that love hefty words and then use them inappropriately. The poor malaprop victims who confuse the meaning of interrogate with interpret. I try to avoid this unless I'm going for a laugh.

The blog post continued with a two or three paragraph quote from a book on the subject of writing rules. I made it through, just barely, then I laughed. I understood everything he said but I felt like I'd sat through a college level lecture. I wondered if there would next be a quiz on symbolism.

So I posted a comment about loving multi syllabic sarcasm and that I laughed at his example and had the urge to tell the guy to "just say it not spray it."

What do you think? Does great writing have to break rules? Does it need to have an element of pretension? Is it author intrusion when a writer writes to "teach" or "better" his readers? Do I need to apologize?


Timothy Fish said...

Do you need to apologize? Without having read the other blog post and your comments, I have no way of knowing.

Is it author intrusion when a write writes to “teach” or “better” his readers? It can be, but not always. Many of the greatest authors of all time wrote satire, which at its heart is about teaching the reader. I think that all authors who write something worth reading have the desire to sway the opinion of the reader. Author intrusion only occurs when the author steps out of the framework he has defined for the story to do so.

Does great writing need to have an element of pretension?
I suppose that depends on what you mean by an element of pretension. When a character makes claims and sets goals that the reader is uncertain he will be able to reach it adds interest to the story. However, if you are referring to an author putting on airs and trying to show readers that he is so smart that they must take his word for what is right and proper then I would say that pretension is not the sign of great writing at all. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Does great writing have to break rules?
Yes, I don’t see how it would be possible to write without breaking some rules. There are a lot of rules out there. Some are good suggestions, but they don’t apply to all situations. The prime directive of a novelist should be to “tell a stinking good story” and communicate in such a way that the reader gets the message. Sometimes the rules help with this goal, but at others they only get in the way.

Kelly Klepfer said...

Wow, Timothy.

Thanks for all the thought you put into my ponderings.

Janet Rubin said...

Oh yeah... the "say it, don't spray it" comment? I saw that:)
I didn't see it as vicious or anything,dear.
As far as the big words/super duper intellectual style of writing, I just figure there are people who love writing that way and people who love reading it. And some of us prefer to hear things said a bit more plainly-- still in an interesting way, but without need of dictionary. There's a place for all of us:)
Regarding THE RULES: I know they are neccesary to a point. Do I think many of us in the pre-published world are far too hung up on them and that with a bit more freedom some really cool creative things could be written? Yeah. Do I think we should all be working on our manuscripts instead of squabbling about it on blogs? Um probably...
Love you Kelly.
I like T. Fish's comment too.

Kelly Klepfer said...

Aw, Janet. You have a way with words.


<---That Girl said...

What did you just say??? *L*

Kelly Klepfer said...

That's what she said.

Michael Scott

I'm not real sure what that means either?