Throwback Tuesday: The Toxic Red Inking of Creative Diction
Hello all! Queen of Spades here. It's time for another Throwback Tuesday, stemming from one of my contributions to All Authors Magazine.
This throwback comes from 2016 where I address the issue of red inking items that speak more to dialog than actually being incorrect.
The Toxic Red Inking of Creative Diction
Greetings Readers, Writers and Precious Patrons! Welcome to 2016. ☺
I find it very interesting how people react as one year comes to a close and another one opens. Some have experienced more bad events than good ones, so they see the New Year as one of relief. Others had an awesome year, so the start of the New Year can bear apprehension. There are also those whose year was bittersweet so they aren’t sure what to feel when the New Year arrives.
Perhaps I am part of the latter.
2015: The Baby Throwback
I had a lot of good happenings come my way. Two collections I was a part of made Amazon Best Seller. I was a joint author on a poetry collection on a subject I’m passionate about, plus published another independent poetry collection. My writing muse being on blaze—well, that could be considered the ultimate understatement.
Job wise, I did get a small raise, plus a discussion about getting me out of the “contractor’s wheel”. If that comes to fruition, the very things that were not an option would be solidified. For those of you who don’t know, I am a big fan of stability. It keeps the sunshine of happy in my sky.
In the latter part of the year, I experienced a shocking emotional disappointment, which has been kept very quiet to the general public. I do not know whether the storm will have passed by the time this segment is published. For me, the best way to cope is to remain active and continue to do the tasks which give me purpose and joy…
Like connecting with all of you.
So what does this have to do with my New Year?
In my writings—whether it’s poetry or short stories—tiny elements of me peek through. The way I write phrases can hint that I am from a certain region. The dialog of a character can make me chuckle because I’m basing him or her from a familiar environment.
More and more, it seems as if the creativity of diction is being extracted from books.
In some of the books I’ve read, my vision of the character doesn’t match the dialog or his behavior. Like, a man born in the 1920s having the language of someone in the 1990s. A character whose disposition is awkward that’s expected to gain confidence out of nowhere.
There is this drip of impatience—from the editor who sees this layer of creativity as “grammatically incorrect”, “filler”, or “unmarketable”, to a group of readers that anticipates their reading experiences to be one way and any book that doesn’t fuel that hype somewhat failed.
I’m not talking about a book that is written shoddily. The best way I can clarify is by using some examples.
In the area where I grew up, there is a penchant for not pronouncing the “g” at the end of a word. So if someone were to say “Good morning”, it would actually come from some of my hometown residents as “Good mornin’”, or even “G’mornin’”.
Yes, it does appear misspelled but if it is used in dialog, it adds authenticity to that character as it relates to his or her background. There are editors that will demand for that to be corrected.
This also trickles down to the presentation.
In school, I was taught that you always separate the dialog from the narrative and that a comma was placed after the name when one is addressing another person in dialog:
Although Alexis’ enthusiasm to answer the question pleased Mrs. Graver, she wanted to hear from a student who had not spoken before in her classroom. “Jasper, do you know the answer to the math problem?” Jasper looked up. A flush of crimson stained his normally white cheeks. Murmurs rang out amidst the silence in the classroom. Mrs. Graver’s stare had not wavered. She awaited Jasper’s reply. “No,” he confessed, “I wasn’t paying attention.”
Yet, I have encountered people that were taught differently, like so:
Although Alexis’ enthusiasm to answer the question pleased Mrs. Graver, she wanted to hear from a student who had not spoken before in her classroom. “Jasper do you know the answer to the math problem?”
Jasper looked up. A flush of crimson stained his normally white cheeks. Murmurs rang out amidst the silence in the classroom. Mrs. Graver’s stare had not wavered. She awaited Jasper’s reply. “No.” He confessed, “I wasn’t paying attention.”
I do admit the latter example is harder for me to read and takes some getting used to. The first time I saw material written in this fashion, I gave it a second read to cut down on confusion what part belonged to which person. Nonetheless, I did not automatically deem it wrong but chalked it up to style and difference of teaching in various school districts. Some editors disagree and think it has to be one way or the other.
I look at these guidelines and then glance at my own writing. I would just hate for what makes the work unique to evaporate with the marking of a red pen. Even worse, failing to reach common ground over something I deem as style and the other deeming as absolute.
Isn’t the whole purpose in the literary world is to have writing so extraordinary that it stands out?
Along the way that is tossed aside too quickly for what’s trendy and what sells.
This year, I’m investing my energy in a different direction—not in the tango of turning out titles on a consistent basis but falling back and simply writing. I’m pacing myself to produce the best showcase of my creative diction without being imprisoned by conformity.
If my visionary diction doesn’t match the worlds’, oh well! We will just have to agree to disagree.