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Writing Advice for Anti-authoritarians

Recently I read a YA novel that omitted all quotation marks. It didn’t hurt a bit because it was so well done. It may have even sped up the read. It’s the sort of thing some grammarians hate. I say tough cookies to some grammarians.

When the rules of proper usage get in the way

between your story and your reader

–and sometimes they will–

dump ’em.

Elmore Leonard says so, too, so it’s not just lil ol’ me. Pedants will say, “Know the rules before you fracture them.” Fine. Then crack ’em open and don’t be so goddamn apologetic about it.

Ooh, and about exclamation points: one in 100,000 words is quite enough, thanks according to Mr. Leonard. (My journalistic mentor referred to the exclamation point in colourful terms. “They’re called dogs’ pricks,” he said.)

Brevity is good, too. It gives you more room for story and story is what your readers sign up for when they open a book.

Filed under: grammar, writing tips, , ,

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