|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
A Quick Reminder:
I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next nine weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
SHOULD YOU BE A PURIST?
(Do You Really Want To Bore Your Audience To Tears?)
When it comes to language usage, form, and structure in writing I tend to stick pretty close to the more or less accepted rules. Strunk and White's, ELEMENTS OF STYLE, Margaret Schertzer's, ELEMENTS OF GRAMMAR, dictionaries, thesaurus's, and about ten other works are all within arms reach as I'm posting this. Does this mean I am constantly pouring over them for the absolute perfect examples? No. It only means I like to be somewhere in the ballpark when writing fiction. It is the easiest way to produce something that is appealing and readable for my audience.
Do I always write like that? Again, the answer is no. I have sat down with ideas that begged anything but a "normal" approach. (Whatever that is?) I have virtually thrown out the book with some pieces, simply because it was a hell of a lot of fun! I have used dialogue sequences that used no pronouns for identification, I have juxtaposed words to trick up semantic registration, verbs used as nouns and vice versa. Stripped stories down to as few words as possible and then built fast paced sequences of stream of consciousness full of holes to suck in readers.
The point to all this is, LEARN THE RULES, LEARN TO WRITE BY THE RULES, AND, WHEN YOU HAVE A GRASP OF THE RULES, THROW THEM OUT! That's right, toss all the stuff you learned up to that point in the waste basket and get a little (Or friggin' TOTALLY) crazy. Why? Because, if you expect to stretch yourself and your medium, there's no other way.
Isn't that kind of risky? You bet your ass it is. First off, if you've already developed a following for a particular style and voice, your readers may be completely put off by any change. Hey, they're the ones shelling out green for the black and white and they don't like it if you seem to forget they're, nominally, in charge. Not only that, editors and publishers can be really paranoid about a paycheck. If they feel you straying too far they'll definitely let you know.
Solution? There's always the pen name game. You can approach your usual or another outlet and suggest they give it a try under another name. All else fails, the world of self-publishing grows daily.
The whole gist to this is the art won't grow without the daredevils. Michelangelo didn't believe he was a painter. Hemingway took out the hearts and flowers. Kerouac fought a stream of consciousness battle with his editors that never seemed to end. But look at what they gave us. So what the hell, set fire to your references once in a while and re-invent the novel. Never know, you might be the next Vonnegut.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis