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Grammar Train derailed; or 31 rules to write by

Grammar train derailed

Grammar train derailed

If you believe you and the writing Muse are in tune, then you probably don’t need to check this list.

But for some of us, schooled in the ancient art of grammar, punctuation, dependent clauses, appropriate use of the subjunctive, gerunds versus gerundives and all that old stuff, it is refreshing to see the rules haven’t changed, but that some of us choose to break them. Especially those of us writing novels which we hope to publish. Sigh.

Dialogue or no dialogue.

Character building; adverb-death; all those helpful suggestions provided by the Masters will not guarantee you a publisher, editor or even an agent. But it’s worth it to keep on trying.

Don’t get lost in demanding that Americans return to English. Actually it is we who branched out to create less-predictable verbage; authentic American is truly Shakespearean.

Or bury yourself fighting for spelling worldwide to be standardized. It’s a battle you won’t win.

When all else fails, this list is worth remembering.
And keep your tongue firmly in your cheek.

1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat).

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

14. One should NEVER generalize.

15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

19. The passive voice is to be ignored.

20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

21. Never use a big word when a diminutive would suffice.

22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.

24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.’ Also ‘Carpe diem’. [If you have to look it up, good for you].

25. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

29. Who needs rhetorical questions?

30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

And the last one…

31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Sent to me by my FB friend and fellow blogger Rayna Iyer (Coffee Rings Everywhere) from Mumbai, who has just begun her first full-length novel. Wish her well. It’s the way to go!

Which of these rules do you follow? Which ones do you break?

Oh yes – Adverb Death: a must if you hope to break into agentdom! and the hallowed precincts of the publishing world: She mutters with feeling.

October 27, 2009 - Posted by | Muse, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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