Monday, August 22, 2011

The Written Word and Black and White

The word is mightier than the sword. Do you take this wonderful adage as explicit truth?

Of course not. It implies a richness of unstated meanings.

A razor-sharp blade can take off your head.

A rumor can ruin your life, send you to the gallows.

There are many levels of power in between. A sword can remain in a scabbard in a musky closet until it is nothing but rust, and the word can remain in a closed book for a hundred years never read.

I laughed out loud from an anonymous commenter of a June, 2010 posting of mine. The writer was irritated that I dared say one thing and do another (hmm, another worthwhile adage).

I had shared notes I thought were valuable, outlining the general guidelines for improving dialogue tags. Anonymous criticized that I used adverbs in my tags myself.

The biggest danger behind "the word" is when it is taken as Scripture. Life isn't black and white. We shouldn't get our panties in a wad because we read something that goes against our preconceived notions. We should absorb it, entertain it, allow it to enrich our beliefs, open our minds.

And don't shoot the messenger. (There, I've shared three great adages. I hope you feel enriched.)

Regards,
Mac
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Editing novel number nineteen!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I still have trouble using the em-dash. I'd rather use the ellipse. I also am not fond of semi-colons either, but can see how they could be useful. Adverbs in dialogue tags....hmmm, that's not like you Mac.

    I'm staring at my Harbrace College Handbook, and Strunk and White Third Edition. Those are my mainstays in black and white. Oh yeah, I also use two spaces after a period. Some things I just can't change.

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