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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Defining Writing Conventions

As I outlined in my March 31 post, I'm walking us through a variety of writing conventions during the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Every writer should master writing conventions for clear written communication. Mastery of writing conventions also allows the writer to misuse them in order to convey particular ideas or emotion, to build a character, or to adequately describe setting.

But many writers are confused about what writing conventions are exactly. They think writing conventions are loosely organized, long weekend get-aways put together in the name of education and networking, which are often accompanied by canoodling and wee-hour efforts to relieve a great number of cans and bottles of their liquid contents. Today, since we are early in the challenge, is a good time to take a look at what the phrase "conventions of writing" really means.

Definition of Writing Conventions: Conventions are the mechanics of a piece, in absence of meaning, theme, plot, etc, though misuse of conventions can obscure the meaning. Proper use of conventions guides the reader through the piece. Writing conventions include
  • Spelling
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • Paragraphing
  • Correct Word Usage (especially with homonyms, homophones, and homographs)
Improper use of conventions can confuse the reader and create stumbling blocks for him or her. The reader may get so bogged down in figuring out sentence structure and meaning that the author's creative ideas are lost. Reading a story in which the writer ignored conventions is like listening to a  speech in which the presenter ignored enunciation and pronunciation of words. The message, no matter how magical or awe inspiring, is lost.

Your thoughts? Have you ever had that ugh moment when you went back and read something you published that had a terrible error you didn't catch in the editing process?

Tomorrow: Ellipses


Jeremy Bates said...

As a grammar teacher, I pond this into the collective heads of my Filipino students...usually to no avail. :(

Jeremy Bates said...

Oops! Pound, dang it!

Pa Ul said...

Great post for D
do check out my E at GAC a-z

William Kendall said...

Capitalization tends to be a big issue for me when I'm editing for people....