This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

If You Can't Do: a rant.

I generally find Facebook a profoundly depressing place. Yes, yes, all right, I probably do have the wrong Facebook 'friends'. If they were people I actually knew, and who didn't spend their whole time pointing out how much more successful they are than I am, my Facebook experience would probably be much pleasanter.

Anyway, one Facebook friend who happens to be a real friend (as well as a very good writer indeed and a good egg into the bargain) is Jean Ure. She's written many different sorts of books over the course of a long career, but recently she's been writing lively character-driven comedies for mid-graders - and also for the rest of us (like my husband and me) who thoroughly enjoy them, too.

This is a story Jean Ure told on Facebook a little while ago:

Just a year or so ago I was in a primary school classroom and overheard one young teacher bitterly complaining to another, 'Why is it that children's authors write so badly? Why do they so often start their sentences with and or but or so? Why do they use said all the time? It's just sloppy writing. Is it because their intended readership is children and they think it doesn't matter?"

What, as Jean concludes her post, you gonna do?

So, what are we gonna do?

Well, the first thing is probably to pause to allow my blood-pressure to drop to within safe limits.

Then we could examine the rules the teachers teach (and are taught); then we could try to communicate the truth about, and purpose of, good writing; and then we could perhaps explain the real rules.

What we won't do, of course, is to change a single thing about the way we strive to present the truth of the world in written form.

Because that - the art, if you like - is absolutely sacrosanct.

Word To Use Today: sloppy. This nice word is probably something to do with the Old English slyppe, and may be related to the Norwegian slipa, which means, rather thrillingly, fish slime.

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