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Proper Grammar (we don't need no education, no dark sarcasm in the classroom)

Discussion in 'Ask the Staff' started by tantric, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. tantric

    tantric Dreamer

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    i would like to propose that there is a significant difference between bad grammar and creative grammar. correcting mistakes is one thing - enforcing elitist standards is another. i promise you, i am very well versed in english grammar - along with spanish, japanese and swahili. i remember a certain teacher, 10th grade i believe, who would take five points from every paper i turned in that wasn't written in cursive. the only cursive script i use is highly ornate and not practical, so i lost 5 pts per assignment. i still made an 'A'. when i post on forums as tantric persona, i use a different style of capitalization and punctuation than is standard. it's my voice and i've been using it consistently for decades.

    there are two ways you can input a written text. if you are trying to communicate, you search for meaning. if you are engaged in snark, you compare the text to your preferred standard and judge the writer. i ask you, which is the crime, alternate grammatical styles born of freedom of expression, or sophomoric intellectual elitism?

     
  2. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    It's my opinion that good grammar should lead to creative grammar. If the reason a sentence is clunky and awful is because you can't construct it properly, then that's not creativity. If you could construct it within traditional grammar rules and choose not to, well that's a different story. :)
     
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  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    As I've explained to you repeatedly, tantric, you may experiment with your idiolect and expression any way you please in your own writing. However, here at Mythic Scribes, we have guidelines for proper grammar, which includes the capitalization of the first letter of your sentences.

    In short, as a community of writers, we wish to present this site as an example of good written communication. Considering how atrocious most internet communication can be nowadays, we feel it is important to present ourselves in the best light.

    The only elitist attitude I've experienced has been in the private messages you've sent & the bragging of your own achievements as if they somehow place you above the rules every other member follows.

    Until such time that these guidelines change, they will be enforced. You've been given multiple warnings and opportunities to adhere to member expectations. Instead, you choose to blatantly defy those requirements and challenge those placed in charge of moderating this site. Further, you've done so in a hostile, condescending, and argumentative manner.

    I'd much rather you choose to join this community fully, and assist your fellow writers in achieving their goals while you reach for yours. You cannot do that apart from the body of this community. If you do not follow the guidelines that direct this membership as a whole, that is what you would be, apart.

    This is not me acting alone. I have only taken the lead since I initiated contact and then disciplinary action. The moderation team and owner of Mythic Scribes are united on this issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    If you put out a book, and the first review you get mentions a typo or a missed comma, then your book is just about dead. That's the reality of the industry we're in.

    There's a difference between being "above" others and trying to lead people upwards in our writing. It's the second which we have always tried to accomplish at Mythic Scribes, and our guidelines on grammar are a part of that.

    And as T.Allen says often, but didn't say above, writing clearly is the same as thinking clearly. We don't need, don't want, oddball grammar to be a tumor in the way of our writing, our communications, or our thinking.
     
  5. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    I’m all for creativity, and creative expression. But how is pointing out possible grammar issues automatically being judgmental of a writer? That’s a pretty big leap. And all comments not pertaining to meaning are automatically snarky? Really? It seems to me this viewpoint could be used to justify any and every grammar issue and typo and anything else you want by simply stating – “Well, I’m just being creative.” What would even be the point of asking writers to read your work?
     
  6. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I have experienced some critiques that seem to hold grammar over you to ridiculous levels. Say what you want is content and structural feedback and all you get it the Lord Of All Grammar... Some people get really elitist over that kind of stuff and refuse to listen to the writers needs.

    That is an issue in the wider writing community here on the 'net. Not that I'm condoning anything here in this thread or behind the scenes.

    And so I bow out. Don't want to drag the issue out.
     
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  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    JC,
    I understand what you're saying. That is not the issue here.

    In this case, one particular member is refusing to follow the forum grammar guidelines. That is all. We are not trying to say, "In creative writing you must ___________." (Fill in the blank with any issue) We're simply enforcing general accepted grammar during Forum communications.

    We expect members to follow all site guidelines, including the use of proper grammar, in this instance, the capitalization of the first letter of a sentence. We understand mistakes will happen and issues may arise that complicate a member's grammar usage, but that is not so with this member.

    Effort geared toward following the Mythic Scribes guidelines is not too much to ask, & no one person is above those requirements.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  8. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    This is an interesting claim. Here's mine: "ay wahn soe menny spelleng beez, ay cood spel sirkulls arownd yoo."

    If you couldn't read my creative spelling, no worries. Here's the point. First, I didn't win any spelling bees. Those words were a lie. Second, if you could even decipher the misspellings, chances are you didn't enjoy the process of figuring out what that sentence was supposed to say. Imagine an entire book like that, where I the author go out of my way to spell every single word wrong, even words that are only one letter long. If you somehow made it through the first page, it was likely out of morbid curiosity. The not-even-close-to-standard English would be an immersion killer. And the thing is, I don't get to explain to you the reader that I really am a great speller… I just didn't feel like spelling correctly. It is my art.

    good writing is not refusal to capitalize or spel corecktlee or punctuate

    Good writing is not about font fanciness or font size or peppering in language that looks cool but not all readers can 了解.

    good writing is
    not in season
    just 'cause you add poetry
    for no reason


    Good @#$%ing writing doesn't @#$ing need so many @#$%ing swears, @#$%!

    Good writing isn't what the words on the page look like. It's the message within them. If you need to break a few grammar rules here and there, that can strengthen or weaken the message, depending what rule you break and why. But the reason has to be the sort of thing the reader just gets. Hodor hodors all the time, but it's cool. He's an idiot; readers get that. If I'm trying to figure out why a medieval fantasy story is written in all lowercase letters, that I don't get. So I'm not going to be immersed in the story or even hooked. I'm just going to look at page one, say, "What? Why? Aw, whatever," then close the book.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk. That's just reality. All mediums have standards, and if you deviate too far, few or none are interested. What's ironic for me is that, as I look into comics, I see the standard is ALL CAPlTALS USlNG ANY LEGlBLE HANDWRlTTEN FONT EXCEPT COMlC SANS MS. But I wouldn't write a superhero-themed novel in all-caps and call it art. Readers would call me an @$$#*!&.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  9. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Seems to me that, so often, the rebellion against standardized grammar and syntax depends, first and foremost, on the standardized grammar and syntax, without which it is no rebellion at all, it has no spark, it is limp and might as well be considered a mistake.

    Some rebellions have actually become standards of rebellion – I mean, non-capitalization of the first words of all sentences, and of the pronoun 'I', is nothing new at all. It's been done. And done. It is the rebellion that has never yet succeeded but keeps trying anyway.* I suspect that its dedicated adherents secretly keep admitting the permanence (and necessity) of the standards of capitalization – not so openly as to admit the failure of the eternal rebellion. But I shouldn't speak for them, maybe.

    Then there are the rebellions that were never rebellions to begin with. Oops, ended with 'with.' Anyhoo. These rebellions-that-were-never-rebellions are like those the Sidekick has demonstrated above: So much willy-nilly silliness all over the page, in font choices and lineation choices and – wait, the Sidekick forgot to include color! [Did I choose the wrong color? Someone please critique me on that.] These never-were-rebellions can seem like an exuberant, joyous celebration of variety, a cornucopia of possibilities. But I don't think the randomness inherent in the celebratory style needs 20K words jumping about randomly to get the message across, let alone 100K words or more. I can't join in a long celebration of randomness so long without feeling worn out by it.

    I think those might be correct who say that the meaning is more important after all, when it comes to extended prose works. I want to be lost in the story and not pinched and prodded by the graphical representation of the text every few words. But returning to the beginning: If the meaning is most important, then why is a consistent non-use of proper capitalization....a particularly useful thing, a particularly good thing? Why do that at all?

    ______

    * e.e.cummings and a handful of other examples excepted.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    I only spoke of sins I'm guilty of. Oh… which means you're right. I am guilty of coloring text.
     
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  11. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    To any concerned parties:

    This member, thinking himself above our member requirements, received 2 infractions in consecutive days. Those infractions are not entirely based on what you see within this thread, but also for Argumentative and Hostile Behavior within private messages, openly defying direction, and refusing to conform to site guidelines involving forum communications after multiple warnings.

    As stated many times, to this member and publicly here, we are all free to experiment and express ourselves however we choose within our own writing. But, while communicating within these forums, every member is expected to employ proper, accepted grammar whenever possible (mistakes excluded), in addition to following other membership requirements regarding behavior.

    No member of this community is above our guidelines.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Your house, your rules. I have no problem with that. In every forum I've ever joined, I try to understand what the local ethos is, and try to work within that. Especially ones that are moderated, because there are people volunteering their time to the moderation. It's only simple courtesy not to make their life difficult.

    As a reader, I have no patience for the merely clever. I put typographic tricks and grammatical transgressions in the same boat as absurdly complex fantasy names. If you make it too hard to read, I'm not going to read it. If no one reads it, does it really matter how terribly creative it is?

    So, don't be rude to the locals, even if you find their customs quaint. Don't be so full of yourself you leave no room for others. Oh, and elitism is not a synonym for criticism.
     
  13. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    I take exception to this @$%*^#ing statement you @#$%ing $%#&!!! :D :D

    And let's also not forget, Dude, that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city — that isn't legal either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
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  14. angelleaping

    angelleaping Dreamer

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    For help with grammar, I use Grammerly. The program is assisting me now as I write this reply.

    There is a cool software app called Hemingway, it works well with MS WORD. I paste a chapter at a time into Hemingway, do revisions then repaste it into my chapters. Helps with sentence structure. You can save from Hemingway but I prefer to cut and paste.
     
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  15. UncleanGenes

    UncleanGenes Dreamer

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    Very interesting. Has anyone here ever came across this writer called José Saramago? He doesn't use regular pontuaction on his books, in fact he almost doesn't use pontuaction at all. He is also a nobel prize winner writer.
     
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  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    There are many writers who use unconventional grammar, punctuation, and the like. Faulkner, McCarthy, Joyce, among others. House of Leaves is unconventional in many respects. E.E. Cummings didn't capitalize or punctuate when he didn't feel like it.

    Doing this in the context of a work of fiction or artistic expression is one thing, and I think I can confidently say that if you posted an experimental story in the showcase that had unconventional grammar, no punctuation, etc., you would not be in violation of site rules.

    However, in the course of carrying on conversation in the forums generally, it is a good idea to have a minimum level of conformity to generally accepted rules of the language. The site would appear unprofessional in a hurry if, outside of the context of a submitted story, people just abandoned the rules of grammar and punctuation on a whim and did whatever they wanted. It wouldn't look to new writers like a place they should come to get competent advice about the craft of stringing words together.
     
  17. UncleanGenes

    UncleanGenes Dreamer

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    I get you. Trying to avoid that internet slang, which is getting more and more cryptic, expecially among teenagers nowadays. I wonder if that type of language will develop and how? Probaly a subject to another thread.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  18. SteveW

    SteveW Dreamer

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    As I see it, rules are rules. You are guided to the guidelines as soon as you sign up to this site as I did today. A quick read through and I knew what was and wasn't allowed. Refusing to conform to such a simple rule just seems rather pointless to me.

    As for Internet slang, I was thankfully weaned off that by being a member of a forum with members from all over the world, many of whom struggled enough with "proper" English without confusing them further.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  19. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I have a simple rule: know the rules, then break them if you wish. But learn the d*mn rules first. Demonstrate mastery. Tell six stories in the traditional way first. Only then will I attend your Halloween party.

    First chapters count more than Nobel prizes. Especially if they're dynamite. <grin>
     
  20. Letharg

    Letharg Troubadour

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    Within the confines of a literary work I see no problem with creative grammar, though I haven't employed it myself. But when it comes to communication and sharing of knowledge, clarity is paramount. I often deem communication on this site to take place on a semi-pro level. You are after all talking to other people, interested in writing, about their craft and often both of you are trying to improve their writing to reach out to a broader audience.

    Look at it like this: If you're at work do you make creative rules for yourself? Like "I'm quitting one hour ahead of everyone else because I want to." Well if you do that would get you kicked out. It's just the same here, follow the rules set up for the site you choose to join. If not for your own sake then for those of us who are actually trying to use this site as a way to learn and share knowledge. It's not a violation of your creative persona, it's merely an act of respect to your fellow writers.
     

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