Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same.
More than one person, doubtless like me,
writes in order to have no face.

Michel Foucault

Friday, May 20, 2011

WHO DO YOU WRITE FOR?

There is always of talk from writers to writers about writing. I have read countless numbers of articles, instruction books, and attended seminars regarding, how to write, what to write, where to write and such. I have never seen something written by a person that is simply a reader on what they what to see in a novel. Personally, I think most writers are stuffy literary types that avoid interaction with people and would rather push pen to paper for their expression. I can’t blame them for wanting to be alone. I know I’d rather be alone most of the time. I also think writers get together, for the most part, to commiserate with each other because we are just about the only people on the planet that understand us.
Allow me let you in on a little secret. We writers are not the same as the people that are reading our stuff. We read for an entirely different reason, and with that, we really can’t trust what other writers have to say about…our writing. Not to worry…I’m one of those as well. I can’t get through a reading (or a conversation) without, at least mentally, making corrections. How often do you find yourself cringing when the person you are speaking with ends a sentence in a preposition or dangling participle? “I don’t know where my keys are at.” It’s like a bell dinging in my head. Drives me crazy—don’t know about you.

Still, I am a writer—not an English major—I don’t know all of the bazillion rules that go along with “correct” writing, and I make “mistakes” according to the experts (read above regarding experts).

Let talk about adverbs.

We all know about the “ly” words. That’s the easy part and I can’t tell you how many times I have exclaimed, “Stop with the LY words.” But then we have adverbial phrases. WHAT?

“When a group of words not containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb, it is called an adverbial phrase. Prepositional phrases frequently have adverbial functions.”

Right now, my head hurts with all this rule stuff. What is all this supposed to mean? Before I decided to make a try as a novelist, I read a lot of novels. Not once did I ever look at something and become bothered by an adverb or a subject verb agreement. I know, some of you will say the writer of the words I read followed the rules so I didn’t see the “problems.” Let me splain, Lucy… That’s not it. I have seen bad writing from allegedly “published” writers. It can suck wind and that is one of the reasons I started writing. My thought was, “I can better than this hack.” I have also read work from successful writers and wondered who reads this stuff. Not all writing is for all people. Me for example? Can’t stand fantasy, or romance, and most scary stuff. And a lot of that droning literally stuff is for the bird cage. I have tried reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—I couldn’t get through the novels. They said some cool stuff—neat quotes like, “Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man” but to sit and read all those words? Crime and Punishment is over 200,000 words. Anna Karenina? Almost 400,000 words. Whew? Lot’s of work and I would rather be writing. Or maybe I am simply an uneducated hack that doesn’t know what he is talking about. My guess is that a large percentage of readers out there have never read Dostoevsky or Tolstoy and plenty of them buy novels.

Let’s stick with adverbs for now and talk about intensifiers. I like that, and think it may be easier to follow. For example;

·  Emphasizers:
  • I really don't like him.
  • He literally kicked me in the face.
·  Amplifiers:
  • You are completely incorrect.
  • I absolutely refuse to attend.
·  Downtoners:
  • I kind of like this girl.
  • Joe sort of felt bad about missing the meeting.
The point here, as well? “kind of” – “sort of” are adverbs. While most of us focus on these LY words, we fail to see the others. Perhaps that’s the reason why we, as writers, need to review every line. Then again, it goes back to what I mentioned earlier;
What you will consider wrong will be considered normal by the vast majority of readers that will take the time to read your work. If I (my protagonist says) write in dialogue, “I absolutely will not attend” this is correct. It is, at least in my opinion, correct because it is what my protagonist said. My editor may provide a different outlook.
In the end, I am a writer of words. I am not a writer of rules. If you like to read what I write, I am successful. If how I write does not appeal to you, try another writer—I make no excuses.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are absolutely correct on this. I just spent last weekend editing a story and a lot of it focused on words like "just" or "really" and so forth. The way we talk is littered with lots of extra words and sounds, so it's natural that when we write it winds up the same way. The challenge then is to tighten it up and eliminate what isn't needed.

    ReplyDelete

Follow The Interrupted Writer by email