Thursday, September 29, 2016

THE POWER OF WORDS: MY RESPONSIBILITY AS A WRITER


  
    Whether we are speaking or writing the words, we must always be cognizant of their power. As an author I try to keep this important concept in my awareness. It is not true that sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Words can and too frequently hurt the heart and the very soul.


    There are five ideals I try to achieve when writing: they are honesty, being ethical, and using good grammar. Even when writing fiction I need to stay true to the characters and the storyline. There must be a consistency in how the characters are described. On rare occasion I have read where a particular character in a book has a certain attribute that suddenly changes or no longer exists but the author does not explain why there has been the change. Sometimes it is hard for a new author to keep “small facts” consistent.

    When I write a non-fiction book or article, my statements must be substantiated by facts. My resources must be legitimate and current and be listed for the reader to see. In writing Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I cited a number of resources so I could provide accurate information.

   The same is true for a book of fiction. The setting, geography, history must be consistent with the time period and location of the story. In writing Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens I named the resources for historical information.

    I try to be ethical when I create certain fictional situations for my characters that might say or do things that are considered immoral or illegal. For instance in my book, Novy’s Son the main character, Murray frequently lied to get his way or to bring attention to himself. As the author I attempted for the reader to see why he behaved as he did.



    Poor grammar can ruin a good story. Misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, or poor sentence structure can quickly have the reader close the book and not finish reading it. However, the language of the character must be true and honest. An uneducated man from a poor family will not speak the same as the well-educated man from an affluent family. Nor will a Southern woman have the same diction as a rancher in Wyoming.  

    Or often the error is incorrect spelling, wrong placement of punctuation marks, incorrect order of words, or just the wrong word. Here are some examples:

     Their probably just unaware of the affect they're words wood have on us. Its no big deal and we should just except it. I wouldn't altar a single word. They've been served there just deserts, and I would of maid the same mistake. Let sleeping dogs lay. They probably never past English class anyway, and your far two picky about these things.
(http://gawker.com/5743238/comment-of-the-day-the-most-ungrammatical-paragraph-ever)


Five Further Funny Grammatical Errors

  1. It takes many ingredients to make Burger King great but, the secret ingredient is our people. 
  2. Slow Children Crossing.
  3. "Should Madonna be aloud to adopt again?"
  4. Automatic washing machines. Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.
  5. "Elephants Please Stay In Your Car."  (Warning at a safari park).
             http://www.guy-sports.com/funny/common_grammar_mistakes.htm


    There is such value in having authors be in a club or organization where they can communicate with one another. To share our struggles, to ask our questions, and to be supportive of one another are just some of the benefits. I see this as part of my responsibility as a writer.

    After I joined Rave Reviews Book Club, I met many Indie authors who have taken their love of and respect for writing to the same level as I have outlined above. They hold dear the power of words and their responsibility to the reader to be honest, ethical, and grammatically correct.



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