This is by far one of my favorite posts. I have revisited it several times over the years. With new subscribers and writers joining my blog, I thought this would be a good time to bring it back. Humor me 🙂
I wasn’t an English major, but I never had an issue with stringing words together and making a coherent, easy to read sentence. I know most of the rules, but I also know those rules are meant to be broken, especially if you are writing fiction.
The purpose of English Teacher grammar is to understand how to create sanitized, standardized, easy to understand, impersonal, inoffensive writing. If you’re looking for a job writing pamphlets for the government, instructional manuals, or news reports, then that’s the way to go.
These rules aren’t meant for fiction. That does not mean your story shouldn’t be grammatically and structurally sound. We are talking about styles here, not mechanics.
Fiction writing is nonstandardized, complex, personal, and occasionally offensive. It is the best way to reach into your readers head and show him your words. In order to bring your voice to life and get your world on the page, you need to say goodbye to English Teacher writing.
Fiction Writing Vs. English Teacher Writing
Fiction Writing fits the world of the book, the mouths of the characters, and the writer who wrote it.
English Teacher Writing incorporates a specific, caricatured, extreme form of writing without regard to the story’s world, characters, or even the writer and what he or she is like.
Fiction Writing changes with the situation.
English Teacher Writing is unchanged.
Fiction Writing does not look to impress, its sole purpose is to present the story.
English Teacher Writing is self-conscious, self-important, and looks and feels forced and out right silly at times.
Fiction Writing is not always pretty, but it always fits the circumstances, characters, and story.
English Teacher Writing is always pretty and always smooth, but rarely fits anything.
“Get away! Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” The girl in the alley curled into a tighter ball, her scarred, skinny arms pulling her knees up against her chest, her eyes white-rimmed, her hair wild.
English Teacher Writing
“Get away from me! Don’t lay a hand on me! Leave me alone!” The girl in the alley, already in a fetal position, pulled her knees tighter to her chest. She wore an expression of dazed panic and radiated the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Something to think about 🙂