Go Back   Literotica Discussion Board > Main Literotica Forums > Editor's Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools

Old 01-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #1
PennLady
Literotica Guru
 
PennLady's Avatar
 
PennLady is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,468
Dissent on Strunk and White

I put this in the Author's Hangout and realized I probably should have put it here.

Found this via a Facebook link today and it's a neat read. I haven't read the whole thing yet, nor have I read "The Elements of Style," but after this, perhaps I won't. And as the author points out, he is not taking issue wit the "style" guidelines, but the grammar advice.

http://chronicle.com/article/50-Year...-Grammar/25497

Excerpt:
Quote:
The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
There's no reason that Strunk and White should be esteemed by college graduates. It's meant for the high school level (and not fiction). College graduates should be esteeming Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers. (which also isn't for commercial fiction).

Style guidance really is different for the different levels and types of writing.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-17-2013, 11:33 PM   #3
wooodyme
Really Experienced
 
wooodyme is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: mountains back East
Posts: 295
May I step in this argument?

Strunk and White and Terabian are "guides." That's all.

There is no steadfast law about any of this grammar and punctuation stuff. It has all been made up as we went along. But, standardization helps us read all this mess that passes for writing. You don't have to go back many years to find all kinds of examples of different styles. Nowadays there are several different style guides which surprisingly similar.

The only goal is to make the printed language usable. The guide of choice is determined by the editor.
__________________
more more
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-17-2013, 11:49 PM   #4
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
Well, no, I think you miss the point. Strunk and White is a guide for high school level essays; Turabian is a guide for college level written studies.

We write adult fiction here. Those two guides are better than nothing, but they aren't very relevant to what is written here. (Even though, as someone eventually will point out, the Web site itself recommends using Strunk and White).

And, I think you are looking through the wrong end of the teliscope on who guides to standardization are for--they are for the readers. What publishers decide to use in terms of guidance is based on their view of what paying readers will absorb most comfortably.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-20-2013, 05:21 PM   #5
AsylumSeeker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Shakes SR. Good to "see" you again, so to speak.

You talked me into, at one point, using the Chicago Manual of Style. And I did for a while. Then reality struck me.

Now I say just write. Write in whatever style you want.

It's worked for you.

Shakes, my man.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-20-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
VonRuden
Virgin
 
VonRuden is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
I typically use the Gregg Reference Manual. I have found it to be as thorough as I need it to be.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #7
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
Quote:
Originally Posted by VonRuden View Post
I typically use the Gregg Reference Manual. I have found it to be as thorough as I need it to be.
For fiction? The manual for stenographers, typists, and business correspondence? Really? Hmmm.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-20-2013, 11:43 PM   #8
sunandshadow
Cocksnail!
 
sunandshadow's Avatar
 
sunandshadow is offline
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,572
I've disagreed with Strunk & White since it first appeared on my required reading list in high school. The whole idea of prescriptive writing rules is wrong; language usage is constantly evolving and should only be documented and discussed in a descriptive way, such as by describing which methods of comma use are most commonly seen in writing of specific types from specific times and places.
__________________
I was wondering why I was having trouble getting inspired to continue an erotic story I've been working on. Then I noticed my shampoo bottle said: "Herbal Essences Drama Clean: I'm so good I'll put clean thoughts in your head!" And I thought well, clearly I need to get some new shampoo if this one's washing away all my nice dirty thoughts!
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-21-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
VonRuden
Virgin
 
VonRuden is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
For fiction? The manual for stenographers, typists, and business correspondence? Really? Hmmm.
It's definitely not just for business writing anymore. While I haven't specifically looked at it with an eye for fiction manuscripts, I have yet to consult on a point of grammar or usage and been disappointed. It's so comprehensive everything else seems fairly anemic by comparison.

I'll grab it when I pop into the office tomorrow and give it another look with a new purpose. I'll let you know what I think.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-21-2013, 01:51 AM   #10
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
There are, of course, basic points that cover all writing, but fiction and nonfiction are two entirely different animals. Most every manual that has been mentioned on this thread is for nonfiction writing, not for what we write here on Literotica. It's amazing that folks don't seem to get that there is a difference. There are also differences in levels of writing. You just don't take high school essay guidelines to commercial fiction.

I find that frequently in comments on stories--commenters with a high school essay mind-set trying to tell someone writing commercial fiction that they aren't doing it right.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-21-2013, 08:08 AM   #11
DeftTongue
Really Experienced
 
DeftTongue is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: location, location.
Posts: 157
I love strunk and white. The set of books is perfect for adjusting the height of that one damn couch leg after I've banged a woman on it and it's shifted again.

Garner's and Chicago Manual of Style for me.
__________________
"It's okay, baby," I whisper as I kiss the back of your shoulder. "I'll be gentle... for a while."

I plant a series of soft kisses from your shoulder toward your neck. I pull the strap off your shoulder as I kiss, lick and suck on the nape of you neck. Your scent is intoxicating.

Last edited by DeftTongue : 01-21-2013 at 08:09 AM. Reason: addition
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 01:27 AM   #12
StephenMiletus
Experienced
 
StephenMiletus is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 35
Responding to PennLady's original post, I was surprised to read the accusation that Strong & White -- well, maybe specifically White alone -- is so poor in its grammar. Both were of an age where one did not graduate from college without learning a foreign language, & one can't learn a foreign language without also learning grammar, both of that language & of English. Sometimes learning grammar that way can go horribly wrong (read a page of Milton's Areopagitica to see what I mean), but more often it sharpens one's command of grammar.

Frankly, I'd be happy if most people on Literotica could avoid the most obvious grammatical mistakes -- forget about which authority to use as a guide in grammar & usage. I'd be happy if people could properly distinguish between "you're" & "your", & did not have confusions in tense or number. It would be even better if people didn't think every use of the verb "to be" wasn't the passive voice & avoided its use like herpes, but that's the next lesson in grammar.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 01:35 AM   #13
sethp
I want you to slap me!
 
sethp's Avatar
 
sethp is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 12,307
This

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Well-3.../dp/0060891548
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 01:39 AM   #14
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
Quote:
Originally Posted by sethp View Post
Zinsser has very good discussions on grammar points, but it's not anything close to a comprehensive guide.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 01:49 AM   #15
sethp
I want you to slap me!
 
sethp's Avatar
 
sethp is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 12,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Zinsser has very good discussions on grammar points, but it's not anything close to a comprehensive guide.
True, but for a good read every year or a quick reference...refresher. I don't know if I would read anything too "clinical". Know what I mean? I think there is a place for these types of books...this one especially. The question should be if this will make you better writer and the answer would be yes. If the question was something about what the most comprehensive guide or single best book is....it's like when they ask, what the best workout is. The answer is always. "The one that you'll do".

What is the best book? The one that you will read and use. For me it's this one.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 12:42 PM   #16
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
There isn't any one "best book." Unless you're letting a lot of what should be questions just drift by you, something like Zinsser is too general to be either an "only" or even "best" guide. For technicals in writing fiction in the U.S. market the Chicago Manual of Style is the "best" guide, no matter how much "it's all about me" writers want to rail against it. It's the most comprehensive. But books like Zinsser's can help explain some issues more fully. I have Zinsser in a bookshelf in reach of me, along with Bernstein's Careful Writer, Sharpe and Gunther's Editing Fact and Fiction, Gordon's Transitive Vampire, Fowler's Modern English Usage, the American Heritage English Usage, and about every style manual known to man. I haven't needed to pull Zinsser out in years.

If I want I quick, very basic explanation of a grammar or punctuation point, I pull out the American Heritage guide, Daniels' English Grammar, or Ehrlich's Punctuation, Capitalization, and Spelling. Very basic explanations with clear examples.

There isn't any one of these that's going to trump the Chicago Manual of Style, though in finding the answer that gives "best use" advice in the American system. All of them, though, will help in some areas where the CMS is sketchy. I rarely go to Fowler, though, as it seems to try to be as confusing as it can possibly be and to treat me like I was dumb even to need to ask the question.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #17
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
How many style manuals are there? you ask.

On the shelf next to my left hand, I have:

The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White
Turabian's Manual for Writers
The American Heritage English Usage
The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage
The Government Printing Office's A Manual of Style
The MLA Handbook
The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual
The American Psychological Association Publication Manual

Nearly all of these I use in nonfiction editing only.

The only two that are directly relevant to fiction writing are the Chicago Manual of Style and the American Heritage English Usage manual.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote

Old 01-25-2013, 08:48 PM   #18
AsylumSeeker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Edited to: The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.

Last edited by MistressLynn : 01-25-2013 at 09:09 PM.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-25-2013, 08:58 PM   #19
AsylumSeeker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Be Hesitant of Using An editor That Can't Spelll

Or do so at your own peril
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-27-2013, 07:08 PM   #20
AsylumSeeker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My point being that I am very impressed by SR71's knowledge,

As much as I distaste her, she has much knowledge.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-27-2013, 07:18 PM   #21
_Lynn_
Literotica Guru
 
_Lynn_'s Avatar
 
_Lynn_ is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 45,139
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsylumSeeker View Post
My point being that I am very impressed by SR71's knowledge,

As much as I distaste her, she has much knowledge.
He is knowledgeable, yes.
__________________
. . .
Pay It Forward ~ by JaeLynn Topper (begins halfway down the page)

My Page
My Blog
FAWC 2 Winner

Kink Bingo
Romance Bingo

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #22
AsylumSeeker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsylumSeeker View Post
Edited to: The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.
You are quite correct. Excuse me. I asked Laurel to erase my account, but she has not yet found time to do that. Maybe you can spur her on. In the meantime I will do my best to limit my comments to story-writing and editing.

Please take note that in another thread I have agreed to edit a story. For the record. In another words, I am doing what SR won't. For the record.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-28-2013, 12:56 PM   #23
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
Once again, I do edit Literotica stories for folks and have done so recently. That said, there's no requirement that I do so. I am writing and contributing my own stories regularly, which takes up my time--and I'm not signed up as a volunteer editor here. None of this has anything to do with whether I know how to edit--just as others offering to edit constitutes no evidence in itself that they really know how to edit.
__________________
______________________



Last edited by sr71plt : 01-28-2013 at 02:42 PM.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-28-2013, 02:14 PM   #24
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 33,972
The point of using commercial fiction style guides if you can for writing stories to Literotica rather than nonfiction and/or high school or college guides is that the latter are more confining in how you can present your story and are more likely to arrive at a dry, stilted story. Using any recognized guide, of course, is better than using none or relying on hearsay. But if you want to be able to write fiction with as few impediments to your creative expression as possible, commercial fiction style guides are the better way to go.
__________________
______________________


  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:02 PM.

Copyright 1998-2013 Literotica Online. Literotica is a registered trademark.