I'm gearing up to teach a seventh grade English class this fall. As in grammar. As in sweet-mercy-grammar-makes-me-throw-up-in-my-mouth-a-little. Nevertheless, I shall persevere in guiding young and supple minds in the the ways of proper English language usage.
But not with too much grammar.
No diagramming. Blechh. No memorizing vocabulary words. In one ear and out the other. And definitely not too many hard and fast rules. Why? Because clutching white-knuckled onto grammar rules chokes the life out of anyone's writing.
That being said, there are a few, er, guidelines that I like to impart to newbie writers . . .
Heck Yeah Fragments
Do you seriously know anyone who speaks using complete sentences all the time? Besides that freakish aunt you hate to associate with, I mean. Use fragments for emphasis. Like this. Got that? Use Only a Fewly 'LY' Wordlys
Why is it every junior high curriculum encourages liberal usage of adverbs? Not that you can't ever use them. Shoot, even I do. But sheesh. Where did this 'LY' craze come from? It's my mission in life to slow this particular grammar steam engine down to cruising speed instead of the insane train wreck it's becoming. Dialogue Breaks
Every time a different character speaks, you must break into a new paragraph. Think about real life. You speak and then the other person does. If you both speak at once, it's hard to figure out what each other is saying. If you blob together different characters dialogue, it's just as hard to figure out.
Keep it Simple
Writing to impress is for tight-laced academia types, not the average Joe Shmoe. If you can get your point across as if explaining to an 8 year old, then you are a rock star of writing.
And that, my friends, is enough knowledge to impart for one day because, you see, that's another lesson in and of itself . . . don't overwhelm the eager writer.
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me
two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the
latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and
Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that graffiti
phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?