Monday, April 22, 2013
S is for SENTENCE
To an extent, I have the same mindset with writing. I'm good with story structure, dialogue, setting, character development and all that important stuff which goes into writing a great story. But ask me to diagram a sentence beyond the basics? Nuh-uh.
A few years ago, I bought The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It's a slim little volume of grammar rules, a go-to guide for writers who want to brush up on the principles of plain English. That edition even had pretty watercolor illustrations by Maira Kalman — a bonus!
I've always relied on my ear when writing. I'm pretty good at reading aloud and hearing when something is off, but not knowing why has always bothered me. Now I can spot a participial phrase and independent clause with one eye closed, thanks to The Elements of Style.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only writer who's grammatically-challenged. Should I be self-conscious about checking rules now and again, even though I've been writing professionally since my college days? Nah. If anyone questions me, I'll claim to be admiring the illustrations.