Friday, August 13, 2010

Righting vs. writing

Leave aside the question of what I want to write and consider how I want to write. I don't want to be an Indistinguishable Writer. That is to say, I want people to be able to point to something I wrote and be able to say: "That sounds like David Barron."

I think too many people-of the ones who bother to care whether they're writing well at all, that is (let's call them the "Spellcheckers")-are trapped in what they learnt in English class from prescriptivists. Well, I'm a descriptivist and do you even remember that horrible essay format they tried to push on you? Just saying, with that in mind, reevaluate every other rule. I call this method Righting, as opposed to writing (which is what good writers do).

I will determine my own punctuation, thanks. When somebody reads my story aloud following my punctuation, it'll sound like how I would say it. I know, I've checked. That's called writing. Don't tell me I use commas wrong unless, I'm, doing, this. And even so: the comma was made for man, not man for the comma.

Even writing non-fiction, I will go for writing (i.e. Readable) over Righting. Try rewriting something you were forced to Right in high school, something you were forced to Right in your freshman year of university, and then compare it to something you wrote in your senior year when professors were interested in your ideas not your formatting. Rewrite the whole lot of them, as if you expected somebody to actually read them instead of checking for spelling errors.

In short, and to the point, and superfluity aside: Right is Wrong, and read is write.


Adieu, steam-punk. We had a good time together, but now it's time to move on to a different project. I ran across the term "gonzo futurism" and was immediately intrigued. Can it be that in the Future, drugs are legal but people aren't? Let's find out together, Mr. Journalist.

The "fallen woman": another relic of yore.

2000 words? Yes
Short Story "Timpani the Ostrich Rancher" - finished, submitted.


  1. Well spoken; personally, I use more semi-colons than aesthetically desirable, more commas than strictly necessary. And fragments. But you're entirely (ahem) right: you need to write with voice, not with a grammar textbook.

    Drugs legal, people aren't: dying to see that story if it already exists. Casting enchantments and curses (of the gentler sort; mayhaps a hex) upon your creative mind if it isn't.



  2. Well, it's finished now! It might go through the Critters workshop next month, but it's already making the rounds in Proland.


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