Wednesday, 15 July 2009


If you have read and properly digested yesterday's lesson on SHOWING, NOT TELLING, you may now move on to Lynn Price's typically excellent and trenchant post on VISUAL WRITING. She makes many wise points, but the examples of dialogue particularly link with my show-not-tell post. Lynn makes the same points about adverbs and dialogue tags - and, though we're far from the first to do so, she got there before me, damn the pesky coyote. In fact, it was reading her words that spurred me to bring show-not-tell to your attention earlier than I was going to. Such an influence she is.

By the way, all this stuff about rules: rules are for breaking, aren't they? Rules are for beginners, no? No, actually. Writing rules are for writers who crave the power of language.

The only rule I go by is: if you understand the power of language, you will want every single word to be right. And you will never stop wanting to learn new ways to control your power and therefore control your readers.

Power-crazy? You bet!


Sally Zigmond said...

If I got a fiver every time an unpublished writer says to me something like: 'I believe in freedom of expression. Damn you and your "rules". Rules make everyone's writing the same, bland and boring,' I wouldn't be stuck here typing this, I'd be reclining with Daniel Craig on a tropical beach as one of Pricey's chocolate martinis slips down my throat.

And worst of all? 'adverbs rock!'

behlerblog said...

...And I would own Hawaii, Sally. Oh, the horror...

Thank you kindly for the props, dear Nicola. I'll slip that bribe into the mail today. Pinky swear.

N Lumiere said...

Thank you for Lynn Price's post on VISUAL WRITING. Another aspect of visual writing, I think, is how the words look on the page. A massive sausage of text with no paragraph or dialogue breaks, is daunting and a bit off-putting.
I like to see some white space nicely balanced with the grey of the text on paper. And, of course, very airy margins all around.