February 17, 2020, 06:11:48 PM

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Re: Do you read like a writer?
I read like a writer, and yes, it's painful to do so. If I'm being honest, some of the things mentioned in Eric's article infuriate me. It's the sort of advice you see everywhere, yet were new writers to actually apply it they'd probably never get published, because most big names don't abide by any of the supposed rules.

One of the first books I read after starting to write was JK Rowlings Harry Potter. To clarify, I really liked it--a lot. For sure she's a fantastic author with wonderful characterisation and imagination. But I was doing a writing course at the time and one of the first laws it stated was not to use caps lock for shouting. We see it on forums and we cringe. Yet in the first thirty pages of Philosopher's Stone almost every time Harry's uncle blows a gasket at him we're delighted with two rows of block capital letters. This is the sort of thing that an aspiring nobody would get an instant rejection for. But not only has the most successful author of the modern age made this elementary mistake, her work has also gone through a large publishing house and been okayed by, I assume, a fleet of high paid editors. Some might argue that it's okay because it's a children's book, but is it? Do we really want children to learn that to shout on forums you hold down shift? So if I'm reading this work to see how it's done you can forgive me if I start capsing those words up, right?...

So yea, that's my late night rant. I apologise if I've inadvertedly offended anyone.

How dare you speak against the great J.K. Rowling?

In all seriousness (and by that, I mean actual seriousness; it takes more than pointing out that she uses all caps for someone to offend me), part of learning the rules of writing involves learning when to break those rules. After you learn "show, don't tell", you have to learn when it's best to throw that out the window and just straight up tell the reader something. After you learn never to use all capital letters for shouting, you have to learn when it's best to use all capital letters for shouting (or anything, really). The only way to tell when it's best for any of these is just to do it when it feels right and when it works, and in my opinion, using all caps for Uncle Vernon works. It works because he's such an over-the-top character and because it shows just how intense his rage is at whatever he's raging at.

And really, how else does one shout on a forum? Personally, multiple exclamation points are much more of an eyesore than rows of all capital letters will ever be.

Basically, if you're good enough, you can break all the "rules" you want - and thank goodness for that.

April 04, 2015, 11:31:32 AM