Style Guide Rules vs Artful Grammar - Page 2


Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 16 of 16

Thread: Style Guide Rules vs Artful Grammar

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Oh, there is, but me thinks it's not what the OP means. Strong = irregular verb: bring/brought. Weak = walked/walked. It would look pretty strange having no -ed suffixes on a verb throughout a story, though.

    But a story with a load of relational clauses: She was X-ing, He was Z-ing, can make for very dull imagery and one boring story.
    To amplify what you seem to be acknowledging, there is a concept in writing that can be called using strong verbs, or active verbs. I don't know what else to call them. And when a writer advocates using strong or active verbs, they are not trying to speak linguistically or use the terms the way the linguists have appropriated.

    John is standing versus John stands. The house was built by John versus John built the house. The necklace is old versus the old necklace.)
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    To amplify what you seem to be acknowledging, there is a concept in writing that can be called using strong verbs, or active verbs. I don't know what else to call them. And when a writer advocates using strong or active verbs, they are not trying to speak linguistically or use the terms the way the linguists have appropriated.

    John is standing versus John stands. The house was built by John versus John built the house. The necklace is old versus the old necklace.)
    Active and strong verbs are totally different beasties the way Aquilo is using the term. From a linguist perspective, a long, long time ago in an England far away, there were two forms of any given verb: a strong one and a weak one. Same verb, just different suffixes. "Strong" verbs had non-"ed" endings in past tense (they're irregular). "Weak" verbs were conjugated normally--they're regular verbs. We don't use such terms anymore, so it's an obscure thing that I would only expect Aquilo to know (I only found out about it recently via a linguist rabbithole on the forms of awoken/awaken/wake/woke/etc.).

    Most of the time, when people are talking about "strong" verbs, they're talking about "active" verbs, but to a linguist (especially one with a sense of humor) a strong verb doesn't have that connotation. Active verbs aren't "strong"--they're just active, so there's no reason to call them "strong" as opposed to "active".

    Not all "active" verbs are even all that "strong," depending on how one feels the need to define "strong" which has a lot of meanings and is subjective anyway.
    Bob tuckered himself out. VS Bob exhausted himself. VS Bob tired.

    Bob shook/spasmed/quaked/shuddered VS Bob had a seizure. VS Bob flailed everywhere VS As he fell onto the floor, Bob's eyes rolled into the back of his head; his arms and legs flailed everywhere, clattering on the linoleum tiles; blood oozed out of his mouth as the children screamed and cried all around him, afraid and unsure of what to do.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Oh, there is, but me thinks it's not what the OP means. Strong = irregular verb: bring/brought. Weak = walked/walked. It would look pretty strange having no -ed suffixes on a verb throughout a story, though.

    But a story with a load of relational clauses: She was X-ing, He was Z-ing, can make for very dull imagery and one boring story.
    Yeah. To clarify: I accept that strong verbs exist as a linguistic concept - a google search proves that.

    The problem is people associate 'strong' with superior. So a simple concept becomes contaminated by value judgement, basically, and confuses people just the way it has confused the OP - who thinks using 'strong verbs' means a faster track to his/her writing being better. And that's not necessarily true.

    There's a John Prine song called 'Lake Marie' where the chorus line hook is We were standing by peaceful waters. A linguist would probably fault that line for the watery weak 'we were standing'. In the context of the song's narrative, it fits perfectly.

    Then what about 'as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil'? Walk is often touted as a weak verb. So, would 'as I stride through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil' lead to a more powerful sentence? No, I don't think so. Not least because it sounds weird. Nobody strides down the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death. They walk - probably pissing their pants. A weak verb fits a weak action, and the contrast of the weakly 'walk' with the stature of 'valley', 'shadow' and 'death' contrasts well. For one thing, weak verbs contrast well with strong nouns. It delivers the emotion it needs. And that's just one example, of course. How about "Because you're mine I walk the line"?

    So, bottom line is...well...actually I can't really remember what this all was even about sorry
    Last edited by luckyscars; August 23rd, 2019 at 08:45 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    So, bottom line is...well...actually I can't really remember what this all was even about sorry
    I'm feeling that way as well. If I were feeling strong and active today I'd now be carpenting in my garage. (By the way, if you want to discuss whether "carpenting" is really a verb I suggest you start a new thread, maybe on some other website.) Instead I'm having a leisurely day and am unlikely to make any useful contribution to this thread. However, my fickle creativity is in fine fettle, (evidently) so I can only observe that the "Artful Grammar" in the thread title just suggests to me a female ancestor of a character in Dickens's Oliver Twist. Clearly her dodgy grandson was equally opposed to any rules as she must have been according to that title. Perhaps there was even an amorous liaison between her and Fagin in a prequel that Dickens never got around to writing. That was evidently how the young dodger came to be so fondly under his wing.

    It surprises me how deeply these discussions go when I regard the grammatical subject matter to be little more than a coat of paint over the structure of a story. A well structured story may benefit from such treatment but a mere coat of grammatical paint won't do anything for a ramshackle story. My angel has observed that during her beta reading activities here. The technically good writers aren't necessarily the good creative writers. Is there another forum somewhere here for effective creative writing rather than technically correct writing because if so I ought to be there, not here? No doubt you agree of course.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    It surprises me how deeply these discussions go when I regard the grammatical subject matter to be little more than a coat of paint over the structure of a story. A well structured story may benefit from such treatment but a mere coat of grammatical paint won't do anything for a ramshackle story. My angel has observed that during her beta reading activities here. The technically good writers aren't necessarily the good creative writers. Is there another forum somewhere here for effective creative writing rather than technically correct writing because if so I ought to be there, not here? No doubt you agree of course.
    Good point.

    Not even sure on what a thread about creativity vs grammar would be like. We get themes on such regularly, but... maybe we don't debate creativity vs SPaG because SPaG can be fixed. It's got bite-size enough rules that people can debate it.

    Of course, there's the "How creative is creative?" argument because everyone has a different definition. One persons' "creative" isn't another's, and different people put a different weight on the subject when grading creativity. They may be exceptionally lenient for tropes in one genre but intolerant of worn tropes in another. A tired plot with a fantastic execution is salvageable (and even celebrated) at the bookstore, but an experimental work is often a failure. Too original, and one risks coloring outside the predestined lines and not fitting into a genre enough to sell...
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    A tired plot with a fantastic execution is salvageable (and even celebrated) at the bookstore, but an experimental work is often a failure. Too original, and one risks coloring outside the predestined lines and not fitting into a genre enough to sell...
    I wrote separately on the subject of innovation, destiny and predestiny yesterday. See HERE. People say that reality is stranger than fiction, so maybe fiction writers need at least to explore the full extent of reality in order to find their destined fiction. Yes, there are risks but there are also risk premiums, as people in the world of investments call them. There's a difference between gambling and pushing out the boundaries.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.