When I was in school, the rules of grammar were drilled into my head. No matter how old you get, English 101 never seems to leave your mind completely. I specifically remember my sixth grade teacher beating into our brains: “You NEVER begin a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’!” For years I would feel so incredibly stupid if I started a sentence with a conjunction. I’d quickly erase my mistake and take it with me to the grave.
However, when I started writing more, I found myself ignoring all the rules I learned when I was younger. I read other stories where the authors rebelled against those restricting grammar rules. I was baffled! So, it IS okay, I thought. If published authors can do it, then it is allowed. That’s when I split my writing personality between Novel Writing and School Writing.
Recently I returned to school. Being an English major it’s pretty obvious that I am taking English courses. The first English course I took my first semester back kicked my a… you know…! I discovered I had developed an ego. I thought my writing style was top-notch because I did what I wanted. Then I relearned all of those grammar rules that sifted through my head over the years. While I will never pretend to understand all of the rules—Who vs. whom? Forget it!—I am much more aware of when authors break the rules.
Alright, alright. I’ll get to my point! I recently read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (almost done with Catching Fire, no spoilers please!). Ms. Collins breaks so many rules! Even though the story is excellent and I find myself unable to close the book, sometimes I am districted by her (I have to say it) terrible grammar! She begins many sentences with conjunctions and more than half of the story is comprised of sentence fragments. I get so aggravated when I’m reading and reading and reading and all of the sudden a wild sentence fragment appears and tears me away from the scene because I stumble over the sentence. What did that say? Wait… that makes no sense. Oh, I get it now! Why did she just at “you are” at the beginning of the sentence and make it whole?! Then I want to throw the book.
Oh my point, right! My point is. I have decided I want to be that author that adopts a style of writing that is both unique and grammatically correct in narration. Dialogue is different but as for the person narrating (whether it be first or third person) has no reason not to narrate correctly. I don’t want my readers to stumble over the words in my novel and I refuse to dumb down my writing. I do not believe people are so illiterate that I need to be grammatically incorrect for my novels to be understood.
Whew, okay my rant is over. If you read this far then I thank you!