Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rude Mood

The blog in which I rant about things that bug me.

Today I'm in a rude mood. And since I don't have many followers, and I choose to let some things bug me, and I just don't care, I am going to vent. So on to other things . . . .

Bloggers tend to read blogs about subjects they are interested in. In many scenes they also give advice, information, link to informative posts, and try to set parameters for what is kosher and what is not. For instance, I've read blogs about dance etiquette on the social dance floor. I've also read blogs from writers about whether or not writers should include a prologue in their work. Many people write blogs to gain some sort of following or attention, or to promote themselves. 

Guess what? I don't care about you or your blog. 

Now let me qualify that statement. If you are going to rehash something you've heard from someone else, or some supposed authority on the subject without giving any valid reasons, explanations, or qualifications, go away. I don't care. If you can give me a well-reasoned, thought-out treatise on the subject, I will take interest. 

You see, I don't care if you are trying to be an authority on the subject. Most people who can't give a valid reason or explanation about their topic is obviously not an authority. They just quote authorities on the subject. Here's one reason why. If one cannot articulate something in a clear, concise, meaningful manner, then they don't understand the subject well enough to pontificate about it. That isn't to say the pontiff doesn't have knowledge of the subject, just that the pontiff's knowledge isn't enough to be considered an authority.

Let's examine a rule that floats around in the writing scene--ly words. Many writers group all "ly" words together as adverbs. Guess what? Some of them are adjectives. Can you tell me which ones are adverbs and which are adjectives? (I can tell you, but I'm not going to because I want to make a few other points here.)

So, for decades authorities have been spouting the no "ly" word concept. In fact, I can't think of any grammatical category that gets beat up on by writers more than "ly" words. Why? Because many times authors misuse them. 

Consider this sentence. Sheila went to the law office to take care of the problem personally.  Whether or not personally is an adverb or adjective in this sentence doesn't matter. What matters is that this sentence is stupid. The sentence tells us that Sheila went to the law office to take care of the problem, so, it's kind of redundant to say she was taking care of the problem personally. 

Consider this sentence. Jessica reacted furiously to my statement. Inherently, there is nothing wrong with this sentence. However, for writers, it isn't the best technique to use, because it's telling not showing. Consider this instead. I said, "Dad's dead." Jessica grabbed a chair and threw it out of the window in reaction to those words. More showing less telling = better writing. 

Consider this dialogue. "Dad, I really, really, wanted to win the game," Timmy said. This is very good use of "ly" words. Why? Because you could hear a young man saying that. It's realistic, and very well could be used in a number of settings. In fact, "ly" words abound in our everyday conversations. Just listen to people talk and you will find how often you and others use "ly" words in everyday speech. As a writer, do you say, "Damn, I just used an "ly" word in that sentence while I was talking to you?" No, you don't. So don't sell your dialogue short by not using "ly" words in dialogue. However, I try not to use them in my dialogue tags because it's another case of showing and not telling. 

See what I did there? I made a case, for and against the subject. Do I claim to be an authority on the subject?  No, I don't. However, my English degree might disagree with me. Anyway, there is a reason and rationale behind my thoughts, and whether you agree or disagree, you might find the blog interesting, because I stated everything in a clear concise manner. It doesn't bother me when I disagree with someone's blog if it is well-reasoned and articulate. In fact, I find the opposite point of view refreshing to read. 

However, there are clear cut ways to describe just about anything . . . authors have been doing it for centuries. I guess in the end, what I am saying, and what I could have said in one sentence is this: don't talk about what you don't know. Because those of us who do know about it will think you are an idiot. 

If you read this whole thing and are still here, kudos to you! I see so many blogs that try to explain concepts that the writer doesn't truly understand that it makes me sick. This goes for just about any topic. I've seen it in genealogy, music, skateboarding, writing, dancing, and on and on and on. 

And just one little note. My lady friends over at just wrote about adverbs. This is not a response to Angela's post. The three ladies over there are talented, unique writers who constantly help me improve my craft. This is however, a statement about life, blogs, the reason people blog, and me being tired of reading things from people who are only out to inflate their egos. 

One last little note for those who use their blogs as a kind of diary or journal. That's kind of cool. Keep it up. Okay, it's really cool. And since this blog as a rule must have something to do with music, here is a little Stevie for you, summing up my mood. 

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