Friday, June 21, 2019

Rules? Eeeh. Sometimes.

It's not a week unless there's a new foster. This little dude is Perceval, a silver tabby boy. He's about 5 months old. He's at that stage where his body is bigger than his head. He looks like he was made up out of mismatching cat parts. His adult teeth are coming in, so at the moment, he has a double set of fangs as his baby teeth are still in place. He has yet to be neutered, so we'll be taking care of that soon. 

The other foster cat, Murphy, went to a perfect forever home on Thursday. 

Life is good. But hey! Folks in Florida and surrounding environs. Anyone looking for a sweet, handsome kitten?? Let me hook you up.

Yeah, I guess I follow a few. I might even be pedantic about a some of them. Ask anyone who's asked me to critique a manuscript before. I can't claim that certain rules are dumb - they have their uses and their reasons for being. But you know, if the purpose of the written word is to communicate exquisitely - not perfectly, not always precisely - but to convey voice and tone and meaning all in one twist of phrase? Ah, then the rules cannot contain us. We're serving a higher master.

If you read through my post, you'll be able to guess which rule I most enjoy flouting. It's starting a sentence with a conjunction word. And. But. I annoy my editors with it, yet when a book gets published, a couple of them remain. To this day, I see one of my English teachers glowering at me over it. Thing is, in extremity, how many of us think in perfectly grammatical sentences? We don't. At least, *I* don't. Actually, I never do, but that's another rant. I like saving starting sentences with and or but for high frustration moments. It's a bit of character revelation. You know something about a character who rolls her eyes and thinks, "And that's me out of ammo. Fuck." You know something different about another character who shouts, "But you're wrong." at someone. Sure, in a draft I go overboard. Waaaay overboard. I try to dial it back in edits. But yeah. I'll argue that breaking the rules is all kinds of valid so long as it's being plied consciously to achieve a specific effect. Furthering characterization/character voice. Or to convey a specific image or emotion. So. If you want to break the rules, go for it. I'll stand by your decision to do so. 

(The observant among you will also note I have a thing for sentence fragments. It's true. Oh, look. It's Mrs. Briedenbach. Frowning at me again.)


  1. And there's nothing actually ungrammatical about starting a sentence with a conjunction. Someone along the way decided it was frown-worthy because it can lead to sentence fragments. Which are, apparently, the SPAWN OF THE DEVIL.

    1. And yet, in the course of listening to real humans speak, fragments are a thing. If people speak in fragments, I'm willing to bet a lot of them think in fragments, too. Verisimilitude, oh ye judgey teachers from my past! :D