Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetic License

Writing Style

Writers develop writing styles suited to the kind of writing they are doing. As a result, often conventional rules of grammar and sentence structure do not always apply.

Academic writing requires strict grammar rules. Sentence fragments, odd verb placements and such are not acceptable. Standard sentence structure is essential.  This is also true for most informational writing.

But, there are writing situations where structured grammar can often get in the way of either style or meaning.

As noted in the last post, poetry is a prime example of this. The poet twists and turns sentences on their "heads and heels" in order to fit a rhythm or rhyme pattern. Even in free verse, the poet's writing "ear" demands words or phrases which may be grammatically incorrect in the conventional sense in order to either create a mood, emphasize and idea, or create a beat to the language.

Between the two extremes lies the valley of creative writing. A blend, perhaps of the academic and poetic, creative prose writing often plays with the rules of grammar as well. As a result, writers develop their own individual styles and quite often ignore the conventions of standard grammar.

When, I write, I "hear" the words I am putting on paper. Sometimes, a sentence fragment suits my meaning and intent, so I don't hesitate to write a fragment.  I can also get very selective about the words I use to convey an idea. To me, the word I need to express an idea needs to be just right. Does it need three syllables? Does it need the accent on the last syllable? Does it have the right alliteration or assonance?

Part of it all is that much of my creative prose has a flow of poetry to me.  Grammar does not rule, except to make meaning clear.

We write as we speak, not always in sentences, but in thoughts. It's all about the meaning, and the style must suit.

Bless the freedom of creative writing. It liberates language from the rules.

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