Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 284 of 365: A Line Break for Every Sentence

I know I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to get my stuff out the way that I have. Granted, it took a lot of work and a lot of rejection emails, but it's nice to say that I have had my stuff published in various formats and on websites that get a lot of traffic.

That being said, I can't help but shake my head at some of the editing choices.

Sometimes it's in the form of a click-bait-y title, or italicizing words I didn't italicize. Sometimes it's in the form of replacing perfectly good parentheses and semi-colons with hyphens (which strikes a nerve with me because I'm still trying to get over my own little obsession with the N-dash and I have an irrational annoyance over the M-dash). And sometimes it's watching my carefully constructed paragraphs become diced up snippets.

You've seen them before: every sentence essentially gets a line break, as if the world is so ADD that five whole sentences in a row will throw people for a tizzy. And I can't help but laugh. I already use an excessive number of line breaks when I write. Do we really need to make my small paragraphs even smaller?

In some ways, I don't mind it. I mean, whatever it takes to get people to read my shit (someone pointed out that I probably have reached somewhere around two to three million people with my writing, mostly through my two viral essays). I am still hoping to parlay this into getting a manuscript or two sold, so whatever it takes to build an audience.

In other ways, it bothers me. As evidenced by my opinion on N-dashes versus M-dashes, I have a very particular way of crafting my words. I have a very specific cadence and I have a very specific flow. I construct my paragraphs in a way that goes with that beat and dicing them up into "bite sized" portions is like chopping up a song into 10-second snippets, punctuated by a brief pause, lest you get too caught up in the music. It dumbs everything down and makes it look like my stream-of-conscious writing is even more stream-of-conscious-y than before -- like I was too hysterical to construct anything other than a string of random sentences, one for every line in my notebook.

However, I fully recognize that this is nothing more than a variation of the ubiquitous "creative differences" ranting of a writer. This type of stuff breaks up bands, gets lead writers fired, and forces movie production to come to a grinding hault. There are few things that get artists as defensive as when someone tries to fiddle with their shit. But, without those editors, those fellow writers, those people who are willing to say, "This should be changed," work would never evolve. We'd all turn in George Lucas, making Episodes 1 - 3 with Jar Jar Binks and remaking masterpieces so that Greedo shoots first. You have to imagine that the reason why such an empire (pardon the pun/throwback) became so mediocre was due to the fact that George Lucas was no longer around people who would argue about "his vision". He went from one visionary around many great creatives to the sole proprietor (I don't think it's coincidence that Empire and Jedi -- arguably the two best -- were directed by somebody other than George Lucas).

So, somehow this rant about editing became a rant about Star Wars. Apparently this chick's nerdom knows no bounds. How's that for hysterical stream-of-conscious-ing.

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