Creative License

Posted On November 16, 2009

   That last time that you created a word document, and before you ran spell check, was your writing similar to a pre-holiday advertisement with nearly every sentence underlined in red or green? Perhaps this is just my experience. The good news, I completed the final edit on manuscript #3, Of Stars and Secrets, and uploaded it to the company that formats for me. The criticism will arise, maybe, when readers decide that my sentences, which, according to Microsoft Word Spell Check, are all, or a majority of them, fragments. By the end of my editing, I was talking to the program using such “sentences” as, “You know what? I don’t really care that you think this sentence needs to be reworded. What? Don’t like my choice of verbs? And where do you receive your creative juices from? I don’t want to use ‘and then’, so stop underlining it in green!” But then I have to remind myself to check each error carefully, as the index finger on my right hand tends to be trigger-happy, and I begin to click “ignore once” multiple times and might pass over something that may, legitimately, require a second, or tenth, look.

   Spell check also seemed to be confused whenever I used a reflexive pronoun. It obviously isn’t familiar with the spoken English language, as Its suggestions never made sense. “That” to “which” was offered several times. Sometimes I opted to change it, other times I left it as it was. Or were. That, too, I argued with the program about. I will give the software designers credit for developing a button I could click to “add to dictionary”. This allowed me to convince spell check that yes, “Vancurelians” really is a word, because I said so. It was handy to have it in the dictionary, as invariably, a paragraph later, I had flip-flopped two letters, and my well-read brain put them in the correct order, but that clever spell check caught my dyslexic tendency.

   There were some words, such as “jump suit” and “flight suit”, that I was attempting to decide if it was a compound noun, or two separate words. And what about “half-smile”? I decided to make it hyphenated. I had to phone a friend and ask about capitalization of Prince and Princess, Weapons Room, and Control Booth. My friends, the same two who eagerly await all my stories, told me the same thing. “You’re the author. Do what you want, just be consistent.” Okay. They, both voracious readers, reminded me that when it comes down to it, I am the creator of this work, and if I choose to capitalize something, or hyphenate a word, I have creative license to do so. Don’t think that if you pick up my books that the grammar will be abhorrent! But each artist composes their work in a unique way. I have, to the best of my ability, ensured that I was consistent throughout with my spellings, hyphens, and capitalizations.

   If you haven’t already, jump on my web site and check out the poem describing the homeless woman I discussed a few posts prior to this one. The title is “Absence of Home”. I’ve been collecting poems describing my transformation as I’ve traveled the past, almost eleven months, completing the teacher training program at Yoga Pura in Phoenix, Arizona. I sent one to the director as an example of what I’d composed. There are twinges of wanting to “get it right” and second-guessing myself in my choice of punctuation, or not, and the fact that one line has a noun and then an adjective while the next line has an adjective and then a noun. Why did I indent? Why did I choose that word over this one? Why end the line there, compile a stanza of three lines and then five? This isn’t a Limerick or a Diamonte or a Quatrain. It is free verse with no end rhyme. That is the order in which it came to me, or through me, and onto the paper. Does it describe a feeling? A sensation? Yes. Will everyone understand it? Perhaps. Will anyone like it? I don’t know. Does it matter? Not if I’m writing to understand and creating from where I’m at in that moment. I then remind myself that by sharing my work, I’m increasing my capacity (thanks, Eric!!) for openness, critiques, and connections with others. Is it scary? Any breach in the wall we’ve constructed around ourselves is cause for trepidation. If someone doesn’t care for a piece of work, that’s okay. If another does, that’s okay, too. If I’ve offered an alternate perspective, and it speaks to someone, moving them to think about things differently, it’s cause for a warming in my heart. Not because of the compliment, but because, through what I’ve offered, they have an expansion in theirs.

   Of Stars and Secrets, hyphenated words and unusual spellings included, is available at a pre-publishing price. Visit my web site, read the poems and short stories and prologues and first couple of chapters of my three novels. Perhaps it will shift your thinking or perspective. Or not.


Written by Michele Venne

Writer of immersive and intriguing stories.

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