Whilst I’m thinking about it….

Recently, I read a book by an author who doesn’t like to use punctuation. I won’t go into specifics, but she has written several books and even won some prizes for her writing! Sentence after sentence without commas or semi-colons makes for some confusing reading, I tell you. The book was very good–once I got past the punctuation problems–but I still wonder if style should be placed on a higher level of importance than proper grammar. It doesn’t make for an all-round enjoyable reading experience, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

I’ve read several articles complaining about the poor writing in Fifty Shades of Grey, particularly the use of words that are too formal. That being said, it didn’t stop people from reading.  I sometimes wonder if authors think they need to use BIG language in order to make their work seem more literary. Let’s face it, Fifty Shades is not a literary piece, so why does this author (and others) use words like “whilst”, “thus”, and “heretofore” in her dialogue? A modern setting just doesn’t call for embellished language such as this. It draws a reader out of the story and makes  books clunky.

Is it “bad writing” then, to use long words when a simple word would convey the same thought and move the story along better? Does proper punctuation (or lack of punctuation) make or break a work?Should story trump all? If recent publications are any indication, it would seem so.  What do you think? Is story more important than language?

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3 thoughts on “Whilst I’m thinking about it….

  1. Communication is about clarity. Puntuation is an agreement between the writer and reader. A person shouldn’t have to figure out your personal system of puntuatuon while also trying to understand what you were saying. Serveral people could read the same sentence differently without proper puntuation.

    Most writers have broken a rule occasionally, but follow them otherwise.

    It has been said, “Something reads easy was rough for the writer.” The reverse is also true. I probably would not have read the whole book, because I don’t like the feeling I have to put forth more effort than the writer did.

    I wrote about some of this recently in a post titled, Writing’s Urban Legends.

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