I had concluded an online writing program from a reputable writing school, Odyssey. Google Odyssey and the word writing. When reading people’s writing, published or not, I suspend any criticism about writing style. It’s kinda like saying someone is rich and stating it’s a good or a bad thing. Or saying someone is short or tall and placing a judgment on it.
Part of the writing class is reading and critiquing other people’s writing. I did my best to avoid talking about writing style, but I’m not sure I was successful. Other’s had commented on my writing style that ranged from good to not so good.
So the question becomes, who do I listen to?
I’d recently read Orson Scott Card’s response to criticism of his book, Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game has won Hugo and Nebula awards, which is really no small feat. But that’s not the interesting part. The main criticism is his writing style and how he doesn’t provide enough detail in a science fiction book. You’d imagine that that genre would require a lot of detail since the technology, cultures, etc would require it.
In my opinion, Ender’s Game provides enough for any reader to form pictures, unless they have no imagination.
Who’s right? Card or the readers who’ve complained? (Shit. Fragment)
One person in class said that my dialogue was filled with fragments. How dare I! People talking in fragments and not in correct college level grammar? Blasphemy!
Another person said that I had too much background information. And yet another said they wanted to know more about a deceased person my character referred to. What do I do?
But wait. Do these people have a right to their opinion? Of course. Does it mean it’s right? Not in this particular situation. For example, people don’t always talk in complete sentences. People also stutter, say um’s and uh’s, but that doesn’t mean I have to write that in. As writers, the dialogue has to be as clear as possible without sounding like an English professor wrote it. There’s gotta be some grounding (fragments) with clarity (eliminate stutter). Stuttering, um’s, and uh’s should be reserved for cases where we want to indicate something really important.
And, now we round back to the first question.