Break the Writing Rules :: Confessions of a Dirty Blonde
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Confessions of a Dirty Blonde, wherein we meet. I’ll be in your inbox twice a month from here forward. Why?
To deliver the goods, naturally.
And for you to understand me and my language, we need a dinner date. But only if you want style, writing and editing tips.
I play with language, disrupt and restructure it until it fits back together. I use shocking words, making you feel like you’ve never read a combination so charged by someone so blonde and innocent-looking. I don’t feel bad for using sentence fragments. And I love a good conjunction at the beginning of a sentence and a powerful preposition at the end.
Try explaining my habits to a classroom full of kids learning formal grammar (which, by the way, leaves little room for creativity). “Capo,” they said, “why can’t I start my sentence with ‘but’?”
But they could, and I was dumbfounded because I felt I couldn’t teach the lesson without pissing off the state-standard-gods. Or parents. So I taught eight years of generation Y, feeling too dishonest for anyone’s good.
Obviously there IS a time and place for playing with language.
That’s why I’m here instead of my cinder block classroom.
When I say readers lose focus after a fifteen word sentence, you count and cut. Why? Because you want this.
You think long and hard about writing, about honing your craft and hooking your readers. I see you, you sexy thing.
How do we create the best writing? By digging under the surface. Finding the roots of our problems and passions. Extracting the bad and feeding the good. We practice. We learn. We grow. But you have to get a little dirty first.
I only learned this when I listened to myself and my editor, who told me I could write whatever the fuck I wanted at any time. Once I gave myself permission to break rules without apology, I finally finished talking about a career change and walked my terrified-yet-elated ass right out of the school building.
“Capo,” some student said, “are you insinuating teaching is a hoax?”
Not entirely. But I was a hoax. Any of you who have been around this site for more than five minutes know the truth is most important when you want readers to hear your voice. I was a good teacher. But I’m a great editor.
And I can’t wait to get to know you, because – well – you’re why I’m here, talking about the best parts of the English language instead of grading finals. And that makes you really fucking awesome.
Got writing questions for Lindsay? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Confessions of a Dirty Blonde goes out every other Thursday.