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Saturday, March 31, 2012

April A to Z Blog Challenge - Writing Conventions

It's that time of year again. The annual April A to Z blog challenge starts tomorrow.

As I have thought and pondered and wracked my brain for my approach to this year's challenge, I remembered an experience from when I was a blossoming writer. In about the 10th grade, seeking and desperately desiring the approval and encouragement of my very stern and somewhat cold English teacher, who, no doubt, was exhausted at that point in her career by juvenile teenager's self-indulgent prose, I presented her with a poem I had written and naively asked for her honest feedback.

She scanned what I had scrawled across a piece of notebook paper. Frowned. Handed it back to me. Then she said, "Why doesn't it have any punctuation?" And she gave me one of those smiles a person gives when she knows she's said something that hurts.

She could not appreciate the creativity or the expressiveness of my poetry because she could not get past the fact that I had ignored writing conventions. And I had no good reason for omitting punctuation, other than I didn't think my poem needed it. She nonetheless assured me that it did.

Bing! An epiphany: Conventions of writing can be usefully violated when the writer has an intentional reason for doing so. And they can only be successfully violated by a writer who first understands writing conventions and how to implement them correctly. AND they should be implemented correctly, unless the writer has an exceptionally good reason for not doing so.

I am so thankful to that teacher for shooting me down. It was the only way I could build my writing up. (I intentionally ended those sentences in prepositions for the sake of balance.)

So my April A to Z effort will address 26 conventions of writing every writer should understand, follow and use correctly (unless he or she can adequately defend the misuse of them and demonstrate how the misuse advances the story or develops the character).

See you April 1st for the first installment.


Li said...

One of the great things about the A to Z is picking up new information, hints, writing tips, etc. :-)

Shelly said...

What a great idea! I've decided to do the A to Z thing through my other blog this year @


Lucy Adams said...

I do hope my posts are helpful. Of course, I'm throwing in a little humor, too.

I'm looking forward to visiting everyone. Should be a great A to Z this year!


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Hi Lucy, as an English teacher myself, this sounds interesting!

This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

Duncan In Kuantan

E.D. said...

What a great idea! I will certainly be visiting every day!

William Kendall said...

Have fun with it! I'll be following you along!

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