Grammar Rules

Did you know there are certain rules regarding the ways you can write speech as to whether you are American or British? I know, I was shocked too! It turns out I’ve been writing the speech of my characters’ lines in my stories wrong for years because I’ve been writing in the American way! To be honest, I much prefer the American way. Maybe because I read a lot of American books, or just because it comes a lot more naturally to me.

Basically, if you are British (like me) and want to write dialogue you must use inverted single commas like this:

‘To write is to capture something beautiful’

as this is the proper way!

However if you are writing in American English then you must use the double quotation marks like this:

“To write is to capture something beautiful”

I mean, how crazy is that? I always thought it was a matter of preference. But when it came up casually in conversation at a fiction workshop I was in it made me stop and think. Had I really been writing incorrectly all this time? The answer was yes after I researched it. (Always to Google!)

I’m sure it’s never that important anyway. I have had things published with American speech marks in it for dialogue when I am technically supposed to be writing in British English. It’s not like you’re going to get dismissed from a writing competition or, even worse, a novel manuscript you’ve submitted to a publishing house, because you’ve included the wrong speech marks in your work. If you can’t make up your mind and use both frequently all over the place then that might lead to something different! But ultimately, it is up to you whatever you choose to do.

Since I am technical in all my writing and like to correct anybody’s grammar given the opportunity, I will be writing in the formally correct way constantly now and try to keep it up as long as I can. If you are like me, and like everything to be perfect in your writing, from the style down the spelling, you too will probably reflect and check your errors! This is exactly what I did.

Unfortunately, I hate editing my own fiction writing so it took me a mighty long time to correct everything! I hope, if you didn’t already know this little scrap of knowledge, I have enlightened your day.

Good luck with your writing!

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‘Safe’

As a uni student, we are told to undertake several writing challenges a week which I find incredibly stimulating and love doing it. I feel it lets my creativity out more, as a writer. One task this week was to take three different texts and muddle them together somehow. So, I took the lyrics of one of my favourite songs (Eric Church: Springsteen), a transcript of the diaologue from the new Haribo Starmix advert, and of course a line from one of the best TV shows, Firefly, which I then expanded on and just used the content.

I muddled all these together and came up with taking the form/layout of lyrics, a title ‘Gold Bears’ which the head business woman with a child’s voice squeaks out to her colleague in the Haribo advert, and the content and setting of that particular Firefly episode. I thought I’d put it up on here for other people to read, critique and leave their thoughts on, whether silently or type it away on your keyboard to me. If it’s any matter, here it is:

The character with strong stature and rustic thick brown hair
Wears a maroon shirt covered with lightly coloured braces
His boots say something of menace in his walk
Like a man who knows how to reason with evil folk
When it comes to it

The other, a tall muscular man with ashen, wire-like hair
Stands apart from him, the gloves he wears ones of
Good wear and tear, designed to protect the fleshy hand
From wary destruction of what he’s handling
In this instance: cattle

The cattle roam and they rumble
About the hovercraft that these men of goodwill have captivated them inside
Like shipmen, they boast and they banter about the rickety
Structure that is the first man’s dream and home:
Its name holds up like a beaconed torch of light: Serenity

One wise, and one a mercenary type, they unite as space tradesman
Prattling around the orbits of space with their crew
Both happy, both unhappy
Their lives are located on this ship
And nowhere else

Having landed on a distant rural planet
They get set and ready for the makers they’re about to meet
That is, the makers of their privy fortune
Having not eaten actual food for weeks, they were rather peckish
‘Alas’, they thought, ‘finally some hands on a bit of wealth?!’

The first, with his bare and brawny hands, pulled the lever
And warned the second to keep clear of the cattle,
Not to get sorely trampled
The reverse door mechanically opened
Like an old time earth bound garage

The cattle stampeded out of the large gateway
Their clackaty hooves banging down hard on the floor
Out onto the dusty sandpath and into the fenced pen
Ready for them to eat and graze
And eat and graze

The mercenary type, the burly one, held a whip in his strong arms
And smacked each cattle, one by one
Eager to get them off the ship
The stench was by far enough for him

‘Y’know they walk just as easy if you lead ‘em’ the first told him
A sense of quirked amusement in his voice
The second, merely looked back at him, a gleam in his eye
‘I like smackin’ ‘em’ he protested
Whilst the first only rolled his eyes

Finally done, and with the loading deck squandered in cowpat
The two stretched their legs onto unfamiliar planet soil
The braces around the first hung tight
And the heat made him sweat through his shirt
Everything on this planet was burning

With the trade’s cash in mind
The first rotated the field
Looking for the men he desperately wanted to see
So they could give him his money
And get the hell off this planet so he could eat

You may say it falls flat at the end. I know this, but I only had 300-450 words to use up but, hey, if you’re intrigued why not watch the actual episode? This particular one is called ‘SAFE’ – it’s brilliant. You should watch it.
And, if anybody’s slightly confused over the sources I’ve used, I’ve taken the liberty of posting them up here for you just in case. All you have to do is follow the link.

TTFN.x