Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fix: Breakin' the Rules

You know how Mariah Carey and Beyonce'--and actually, most singers now--do a lot of vocal gymnastics all up and down the octaves instead of just holding a straight note for very long?

They do it for effect. They do it because they oh-so-long ago were gifted and able to carry a single note clearly for eternity. They were then able to build on and add to that skill, all for variety and effect. They do it because they can and they know how to do it artfully for a certain result. But it all started with mastering the basics.

Now, shift that same principle to writing. Grammar school teachers (actually, even on up into college) drilled us on the basics. Ad nauseum. It's where we heard, "Never begin a sentence with a conjunction" (remember when you tried to start a sentence with "because"? Have mercy!) and where red marks bled all over our fragments.

They were trying to help us master the basics, I guess kind of like I do here on the Friday Fix. Like Mariah and Beyonce' though, once you've mastered the rules they're kind of fun to start breaking--at least in informal writing.

In fact, all over my blog you'll find sentence fragments because I find they convey my personality better (C'mon, you always knew I was a little fragmented, right?). That's how I talk. And I like to spell words the way I want my audience to "hear them". Yanno?

So if you know HOW to break the rules and do it intentionally FOR EFFECT and WITHOUT COMPROMISING CLARITY, well then, you've arrived, Mariah! (And really, that's the rub. If you break rules willy-nilly and your readers have no idea what you're conveying, it's all for naught. You'd have been better off following those doggone rules.)

From time to time here on the Fix, then, I'll focus on rules you can break for effect. Won't that be fun, rebels? ;-)

1 comment:

Marsha said...

I'm all for breakin' the rules.... Y'know? :)