P is for Principles: #atozchallenge2015

Here's me in super-pretentious mode for the Alexandria Publishing Group challenge: http://alexandriapublishinggroup.com/2015/04/18/p-is-for-principles-atozchallenge2015/.

froot-loopsKnow you of Messrs. Strunk and White? They of The Elements of Style? Anyone who considers herself a wordsmith would do well to pick up this slim little volume. I recommend it mainly because you’d be hard put to find a more condensed and sensible approach to style in writing.

I bring up this subject because in certain enclaves, aspiring writers claim they are not bound by mere conventions of grammar and spelling. These free-thinkers seem to say, “If you don’t like seeing bits of eraser, buttons and mouse droppings in your Froot Loops, move on and have oatmeal or something. I won’t pick those things out for the likes of you.” (All types are required for the stew that is our world, I’m sure.)

Strunk and White have some interesting advice, though, that I think gives us all Froot Loops for thought. If it is natural to you to experiment rather than conform, they say, “Do not forget that what may seem like pioneering may be merely evasion, or laziness—the disinclination to submit to discipline. Writing good standard English is no cinch, and before you have managed it you will have encountered enough rough country to satisfy even the most adventurous spirit.” [Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, 4th edition, p.84.]

Stringing words together randomly doesn’t make you a writer. Writing is about communicating your thoughts and ideas, dreams and nightmares, the unique experiences you’ve had that no one else in the world can duplicate. You owe it to those individual, distinct stories, the ones that keep you up at night and pound on the inside of your head for release, to present them in the clearest way possible. That’s when we touch lives. That’s when we truly share the heart and soul of another human.

With that amazing goal in mind, could it hurt to learn a few principles of grammar and spelling?

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