Monday, January 25, 2010

What I learned from Miss Snark - part 1 - revisited

Unfortunately, the Universe decided to give me strep throat. Thanks a lot Universe! Now you owe me! Ha! Talk about backfiring! All you have to do is get me all published and stuff and we'll call it square. Okay? *crickets chirping*

Because I'd rather be doing anything than thinking at the moment, I've decided to revisit an old post from early last year.

If you've seen it before: WOW! You've been actively following me for a year! I love you guys!

If you haven't: Miss Snark's fab and you should totally check out the following.

I have undertaken a momentous task. I've 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 follower of her blog when Her Great Snarkiness was still active.

But as I can't turn back time (yet! Doc Brown, I'll meet you a 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 it's 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're 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, follow Miss Snark's example - YOU TAKE IT!

19 comments:

  1. I feel super educated, thanks for presenting these tips/facts to us. I especially like the breaking the rules part, but I am going to avoid that as much as possible, I don't want to get carried away.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! Miss Snark is great!

    Oh and strep throat...ewww. So sorry. Try gargling warm salt water. It usually helps me... a little. : (

    Hope you get to feeling better soon.

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  3. Excellent advice! You can never share too much Miss Snark. :-)

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  4. It's all good but I like the don't overwrite advice. Short sentences to build tension is right up my alley.

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  5. Good tips, particularly about the rhythm of the sentences. That's one thing that's hard to notice in a first or second write through. But it definitely makes a difference in how your work is read and enjoyed.

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  6. I only got around to Miss Snark after she was long gone. So many good (and fun) things there.

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  7. Strep? ICK. But thanks for stopping in and sharing!

    Feel better soon!!

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  8. I love the backlog of Miss Snark's stuff. Such great info there--most of it still applicable!

    I hope you're on the mend!

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  9. Thanks everyone! I'm glad you like Miss Snark the way I do. :)

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  10. Great Post Jenn. So good, I'll be quoting you on my blog tomorrow. Don't forget to stop by and take a look.

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  11. I'm pretty sure I was following you when you wrote this. I think that makes you (and me by association) awesome! Miss Snark is always good for tips.

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  12. So great to find your blog! I love coming across these writing "rules". Thank you for sharing, Jenn.

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  13. Totally educated. Great post, Jenn. :)

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  14. I loved that police report comment! Sorry it's taken me forever to get over here Jenn. (Plus stupid google is being...well, stupid so it will be at least 2 hours until I can officially FOLLOW you. But be assured! I will!)

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  15. Yes - Miss Snark in her heyday would have been awesome. Lots of good info. I personally don't like wouldn't want to run off with George Clooney - now Eric Bana on the other hand... check out my blog and you'll know what I'm talking about.

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  16. I've been following you for a year. Wahoo. That's crazy. I don't believe I've known you for over a year. In a way I feel like I've known you forever and in a way I feel like we just met. :) Get better and have fun on your trip to help your mom.

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  17. Hope that throat's all better now. And this below? Amen sistuh:

    "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."

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  18. Wonderful post! You can't go wrong when sharing Miss Snark's wisdom!

    I hope you feel better soon. Strep throat is the worst, isn't it?

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