Friday, April 10, 2009

What I learned from Miss Snark - part I

I have taken on a momentous task. I have determined to start at Miss Snark's beginning and read through to the end. I have to say that I already wish I started writing a few years earlier so I could have been a part of the site when Her Great Snarkiness was still active.

But as I can't turn back time (yet! Doc Brown, I'll meet you in the mall parking lot tonight! Bring your 1.21 gigawatts baby! ), the next best thing is to read back and see what I missed. Without further ado , I present you with the things I've learned from Miss Snark this week. :)

~ Double verbs are BAD! Watch the had, was, were verbs and avoid them unless you really understand the past perfect tense and KNOW that is the correct way to convey what you want.

~ Writing is NOT the same as a police report. You don't have to include every fact, every detail, every causal link. Trust your audience enough to let them work to keep up with you. They won't mind, in fact, they will become more involved in the story.

~ The rhythm of your sentences is almost as important as the actual words. Shorter sentences at the start, building to longer ones in the middle. Falling off to shorter ones at the end. Not an ironclad rule, but practice and perfect this so that when you break the rule, you are doing it because it is a choice you make and not because you just don't know how else to do it.

~ Don't overwrite!

~ When you are trying to build tension, keep your sentences short and punchy. Long sentences drag down the reader and the intensity.


What I found really interesting about most of these rules is that it is more about perfecting the art than hard and fast rules. Almost every writing rule CAN be broken if you know what you are doing and choose to break the rule for the right reasons.

I feel educated, don't you? ;)

P.S. final tip of the day - if you get a chance to retire and run away with George Clooney... YOU TAKE IT!

19 comments:

  1. I love breaking the rules, but I learned them first - got a late start in learning all these things, but learn them I did! Although, I believe in always learning - always finding out new and interesting things....wheee and la tee dah! Writing are very very fun. teehee ...

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  2. Lol, George Clooney! Well, thanks for telling us what you learned. Reading all that must be quite a task, but surely worth it if it helps with the query.

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  3. Thanks for giving us a 'heads-up', Jenn!.. I'm trying to tone down my mile long paragraphs. It's funny, I love writing description, but I hate reading it. Weird.. Don't know if George Clooney would be my choice, but to each her own :)

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  4. Lots of good tips. Thanks. I have read a bit of Miss Snark, but never from the beginning.

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  5. Fantastic tips. There are things there that I need to work on.

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  6. You've taken on a large but worthwhile task. This is great. Thank you for putting up the tips! You're like a Cliff's Notes for Snark. :)

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  7. Kat - How did I know you'd be one that knew the rules and broke them proudly? ;) You rebel you!

    Cindy - Yeah, I really am learning a lot so far and I have a LONG way to go. :)

    Shanti - LOL George Clooney was Miss Snark's choice, not mine. Although, I wouldn't argue. ;)

    Jessie - Yeah, I'm getting a lot of very useful information. :) It will be worth it, and it's hecka entertaining :P

    Lotusgirl - Same here, I plan to incorporate these into my next round of edits.

    Davin - OOH! I need some kind of Cliff's Notes Blog Award! w00t! :D

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  8. I'm glad you're summing this up because now I don't have to go back and read it all!

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  9. Thank you for this post. Those are great rules! I hope I can learn to follow them and break them and all that jazz. Sometimes thinking about everything I have to remember makes me tired, LOL. Writing involves so much. It is truly an art!

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  10. Candi - LOL yay! I'm useful! ;)

    Lady Glamis - I know, there are so many things to remember. I'm so thankful for the human brain's ability to learn and adapt. If we had to actually think about every rule as we write every sentence--we'd never complete anything. :)

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  11. Hi. Great idea, reading through the blog. I will be back.

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  12. littlescribbler - Thanks! :) I'll go check out your blog too. Look forward to seeing you around!

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  13. I love the tips and education but I have to admit the photo was my favorite part (how flippin' cute is he?) :) Happy Easter!

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  14. Thanks for the snarky rule review. Good to hear now and then. Especially enjoyed the last tip. :)

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  15. Karen - I know! I thought he looked like Easter meets Jurassic Park. So, not too far off... right? LOL

    Angie - You are welcome... heehee only someone who actually read her blog would understand the obsession behind that one. ;)

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  16. I love the one about the rhythm of sentences- I am trying to show a friend of mine what I mean and this really helps.

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  17. So great, Jenn. I'm glad you're doing the work and I'm taking advantage of the benefits. That's the way it should always work. Now get back to reading. LOL

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  18. Terri - I know, that is one I need to practice, I think.

    Kasie - LOL! Yes, your highness. ;P

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  19. Miss Snark is awesome! I loved reading her posts. Sadly, I arrived late also. But I read through them all, just like you. :-) Very informative. And funny.

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