Thursday, 19 May 2011

Putting Your Thoughts On A Piece Of Paper

When it comes to creative writing, there is one principle that you need to understand and live with all the time. That principle is... you are free! Even though creative writing has some standard 'rules' you need to follow especially in a sense of grammatical aspects such as subject-verb agreement, tenses and articles just to name a few, you are allowed to 'bend' them and let your ideas flow however they want. Because in the end, it's all about creativity. And not to forget, presentation.

Well, I am more than happy to share a few tips on how to be free while writing creatively. Please be reminded, though, that these suggestions are only a type of personal point of view. You don't have to necessarily agree with them.

1. Start your sentence with freedom

Some people say you can never start a sentence with an 'and'. Guess what? 'Never' is a strong word. Way too strong. That is nonsense and there is no absolute indication that putting an 'and' at the beginning of a sentence is grammatically wrong. That notion is just a personal opinion or preference, hence you are free to use it whenever you want, especially in creative writing.

2. Split your infinitives

An infinive is normally formed by two words, the word 'to' and the base form of a verb like 'go', 'walk' and 'feel'. In order to make it sound more descriptive, we add an adverb like 'naturally', 'sadly' or 'deeply'. It will then form 'to go naturally', 'to walk sadly' or 'to feel deeply'. And sometimes, we disrupt the positions and make, 'to naturally go', 'to sadly walk' or 'to deeply feel'. This is called a split infinitive. And to certain linguists who follow a certain Latin grammar rule, a split infinitive is a grammar mistake. You know what, just ignore this and let us all sound like Captian Kirk in 'Star Trek'. It's not wrong, it's acceptable and it sounds cooler.

3. Ignore the format and play with your title

If you realize, every first letter in every word in every single title that I have in this blog (and other blogs) is written with a capital letter (you won't see this because this blog uses 'ALL CAPITAL LETTERS' for titles, se let me write it back for you - 'Putting Your Thoughts On A Piece Of Paper'). See? Capital letter for every word's first letter. In English, supposedly but not compulsory, the only words in a title that should be written in capital letters are the significant ones. Not the preposition or verb to be (unless it is the first word in the sentence). For instance, I should have written 'Putting Your Thoughts on a Piece of Paper'. But will it change anything? I don't want to waste my time thinking, "Eh, is this a preposition or what?". In fact, the one thing you should focus on is how to make your title sound catchy and interesting. My advice, don't make a statement, but make a description instead. How? You know yourself better, don't you?

4. Mess with the SVO (Subject, verb and object)

Yes, this is one rule you should master before writing a sentence. The order of these three should always comply with the type of sentences you are producing. Is it active? Is it passive? Is it this? Is it that? Oh please, it doesn't kill you if sometimes the sequence becomes less organized. For me, it is more entertaining if the structure is somehow 'messy'. It's like playing with your mind, a riddle, a question, or a poem to ponder. It can be a personal style of writing too! But of course, the readers know if you're just messing with it, or you simply don't know. Be smart and careful.

5. Ignore the ending preposition

Some people say it is not a good sentence if it ends with a preposition. Doesn't matter if it is a statement or a question. "Can you tell me where the library is at?" and "I have no idea where the library is at" don't sound so right, some say. My question, do you understand what the sentence is saying, or asking? If you do, then it's not a problem.

6. Be observant

There are lots of people who have problems with this part of writing. When they want to say, "He is badly injured", they'll write, "He is badly injured". Well what about, "He cries in agony", or "His white shirt turns red", or even, "I could feel every sense of pain by just looking at his condition"? What I am trying to say is, instead of telling people what your idea is, why don't you describe it and let those readers define your intended meaning themselves? Observe your ideas carefully and you will see that there's more than one way to skin a cat. At this junction, skin an idea.

Do not let rules stop you from writing what you have in mind. You can follow them if you want, but always know that you can sometimes break the pattern as well. Writing is like eating where you can use a spoon, you can use your hand, or you can even ask your mom to feed you. But still, it's eating. Comprende?


ilyani said...

good! but for certain people especially lay man they do not understand certain words and may not be intelligent enough to interpret those words/sentences.. some people are more comfortable to use a very simple English in their writing.. for instance Lord Denning.. but, for experts and professionals they love to use bombastic words in their writing..hehe.. ey, i can consult you and ask many questions on English!! yay!! keep writing okies! coz sometimes i oso do minor and simple grammatical mistakes.. haha...

Igniz said...

ilyani: heheh. no problem. we can help each other.

btw, yes, it's good to be direct as it is easier to understand. what i'm trying to say is, make it a variety. if let's say, your style is direct, then stick to it. no problem. but occasionally, try to be a bit more descriptive. it'll give colours to you writing. and you do not have to necessarily use bombastic words. in fact, i prefer to read a piece of writing where it uses simple words, but very abstract and descriptive. just a thought. ;)