Until this morning I had never heard of The Elements of Style, and I can now say I’m glad I never had. Having graduated with honors you can see why I’m glad I’ve never encountered this misinformed piece of text used by many who should burn it. Hater much? Yes. Oh, why might you ask? Well, according to the text those last few lines were incorrect. In researching the validity of the “little book,” as it is referred to by some, after having read it, I found a significant group of haters out there. According to one article the authors of the book were grammatically illiterate and many of their examples went against well established literature of their time. It was a good read so I included a link to it below.
Now don’t get me wrong, some advice was good in it. Gems such as “omit needless words” was good. However, many suggestions were downright wrong or written in a way which contradicted the advice the author was giving. What really got me was the fact even the newest edition had antiquated advice in it, like spelling tomorrow as to-morrow. Who does that?
So, to anyone who writes or edits using this archaic book, put it back on the shelf with the other outdated tomes and get a new bible. Might I suggest The Chicago Manual of Style which many US manuscript editors use? It might read like what it is, a manual, but the advice you get is solid and won’t make you sound like an illiterate buffoon in your writing.
In my mind I have been feeling this churning; things are brewing it seems. Which is odd, considering I have spent the better part of the last two days sleeping…of course, my creative flow might have had something to do with that. Either way, when I am not sleeping I am in a fog, a strange funk of something, and I can feel the characters coming back to life. It’s sort of this strange reverse zombification, or like a space explorer waking from a years long cryosleep, and in this awakening questions of my readiness have been arising.
When this happens I like to skim tips and tricks, read a book, and generally get a feel for where I should go by looking at where others have been, and in doing that today I had an epiphany of sorts. Bogging myself down with all this you should you shouldn’t stuff I read online, ripping through BS I find in iBooks, or with wondering how well received my work will be when things like Fifty Shades of Grey is popular–and for proper author etiquette I will keep my opinion about that fan fiction, because that is what it is, to myself–does just that, bogs me down. Before, I had thought feeling-out my place in the literary world was what I should do, but trying that today has caused me to feel less encouraged to write and has actually been clearing the necessary fog of creation from my mind.
Lucky for me, I recognized what was happening as I was reading a tyrannical rant on Twilight. I thought, “I don’t want to be this kind of writer who spends more time complaining about how others write, or telling others how to write. I just want to write.” Oh, and trust me. I’ve gone off on some Nazi like rants in reviews. Over use of the word “that” eats at me when I read, as well as when people tell you what is happening instead of using descriptive language, so there have been times I lay into someone who has obvious fake reviews to beef reader interest. Am I proud of these moments of weakness? No, I’m not, but they’ve happened and I’m sure they will happen again. As for now, I can see how this behavior has added to my writers block instead of clearing it. The fog is good, I want it there. Maybe this little eye opener will help and the writing train will bore full steam ahead. It seems that is where I am headed, and I am happy for it. Now I just need give in to the urge to start dragging my laptop around with me wherever I go.