Iceberg — Dead Ahead
A snowflake — unique, delicate, innocuous and prone to congregate.
By itself, a minor irritation as it blows in the wind.
But, given enough time, the right circumstances and enough snowflakes, you get — ice.
And in time, lots of ice. An iceberg.
An iceberg, coupled with poor leadership, sank the Titanic. Unthinkable. The value of its superior design, modern engineering, accouterments of success — why it was unsinkable.
Yet it sank.
Today, the “Titanic” of free speech is in jeopardy from the iceberg of political correctness.
All hands on deck.
Idiom, slang, jargon, patois, vernacular — why use it?
Our grammarians say it ain’t proper. Academics challenge its validity. Philosophers ignore this verbal, some say primitive, form of expression.
Yet it exists. Why?
Well, because that’s how real people talk — not for a scholastic grade, not to achieve a label of literary excellence, not because it makes you sound “smart”.
And, if you’re a writer who understands your potential reader, you want to communicate. Use words they hear often, understand, and “get” your meaning.
So, “slang on” when appropriate. You’re talking and, hopefully, somebody’s listening and will “get” you.
Math for Europeans and SJWs
Confusing, ain’t it ? So let’s simplify:
Sooo…rounding off, there are nearly TWICE as many Africans as there are Europeans.
Seems to me that puts the issue of “open borders” to rest, eh?
‘Less of course we collectively pursue egalitarian Nirvana — and reach an equal level of misery.
Heartless? No…just a dose of realism.
Solution? Dunno, but I think borders first, assistance second. And an admission that, at it’s core, life is NOT fair. Never has been. Never will be.
No, not those sins. I refer to sins in a writer’s mind.
Let me explain: recently I was composing a piece of very short fiction to submit to a contest.
I was prepared to hit the submit button when I decided to review other entries. Imagine my surprise when I read an entry that had been made prior to mine which embodied the central feature of my story, i.e. conjoined twins.
Needless to say, I withheld my submission lest it be thought that I had plagiarized the premise. But it got me to thinking: what assumptions (sins) do writers make? I can think of a few:
My characters are unique. Well maybe in name or description, but, if they are human, they’ve probably been represented by other authors at other times. They share human traits, get it? Not so unique.
My plot is the first of its kind. Probably not. There exists a school of thought that entertains the notion that every conceivable plot has, at one time or another, been written. Probably so.
Everyone can relate to my story. I doubt it…people’s life experiences and belief systems preclude universal identification with your story. For some, yes. Others no.
Everyone will “get” the point of my tale. Highly unlikely. A worthy goal, but your point might be buried deeply in your obscure vivid prose. Or maybe you didn’t make a point (or have a point to make!).
Maybe you get my point: originality can only come from your voice, your style, your viewpoint.
If It Doesn’t Rhyme There’s a Reason
‘Cuz it isn’t poetry. It’s prose.
Yet much can be learned about writing prose by studying the long-lived appeal of the poem. The tone, the rhythm, indeed the musicality of poetic expression, can be used to a writer’s advantage. The evocative nature of a phrase, the memory imprint enabled by well-chosen words — all recall the evolution of speech itself. We hear before we speak. We speak before we read…OR write.
In a sense, our written words are heard in the brain. This may explain why reading one’s work out loud is such a useful tool for writers in reviewing their own handiwork. Inevitably if it doesn’t sound right, it isn’t.
Storytelling and oral history precede the written word by millennia.
The stylistic tools of assonance and alliteration, borrowed from the poet, can serve a prose writer well.
“Hear” what I mean ?
(Silence ain’t golden)
Emoji this, emoji that.
Why bother to converse, or comment for that matter. Time is precious: an email blast of a thumbs-up, a one-click laugh or grimace…why that’s enough isn’t it? Friends, family and fans should be satisfied. After all, you DID click !
Who needs pen and paper (remember pens?). Heck, cursive handwriting isn’t even taught in our schools anymore.
Type an individualized message? Ain’t got time. Let the recipient fill in the mental blanks — and read our mind if they’ve time.
Your email inbox is as empty as your “snail mail” inbox.
But you’re “participating”, right? Well, your cursor is giving conversation the finger. Point & shoot.
No, not THAT “AA”.
I’m addressing those addicted to adjectives and adverbs.
The people (writers) who sleep with a thesaurus under their pillow in the hope that osmosis will enable them to impress readers with their erudition. The bigger (and more obscure) the word the better.
After all, who could deny that the vivid description they rendered of a pot of boiling water would fail to move a reader — it’s obvious that their “command” of the English language far exceeds that of the nimrods who volunteer their time to extricate themselves from the intricacies of exceptional prose?
By now you know…I’m a writer (at least I consider myself one). Write a little, read a lot (with the exception of zombie, vampire and apocalyptic tales which I eschew).
I confess that I am flummoxed (gob-smacked for you Brits) at the amount of paper and ink devoted to filling a page with unnecessary verbiage. (That’s “fancy words” for you junior college types <sarc>.)
So here’s a thought: listen to people talk, write the way people speak. Your clarity will be refreshing.