I have a style of writing that is not correct in many technical ways. I know all the rules and I break them flagrantly. During my all-too-brief stint in college, my poetry class professor told me that people only learn the rules of writing so that they can break them with finesse. Generally, that’s what I try to do. I never drop a comma or break up a sentence into choppy fragments accidentally. That would just be silly.
Some people don’t like my sort of style. It reads in a staccato manner and their own personal voices rail against it. Unfortunately for me, my husband is one of those people. I’ve sat him down to read my latest chapter–biting my nails and staring determinedly away from him while he’s at it–and he will insist on pointing out grammatical “flaws”. I will, again, patiently remind him that I was looking for a critique on the content. It’s just my style, I will say, for probably the 100th time. This is an argument that will never, ever be finished. We simply don’t agree.
I would change in a heartbeat if my stylistic choices made it difficult to understand what I was trying to say. Any bits he points out that have clarity issues, I do alter. I’m not the sort of person who assumes that every word I pen is art and therefore must be taken as is. I’m prone to error like everyone else is. Since I’m still learning at this writing thing, I’m prone to much, much more than some.
But I won’t hear any other reason to change the way I write. A writer’s style is like a finger print. There are similarities from person to person but no one is exactly the same as anyone else. I’ve been reading Stephen King since before I should have been, and I recognize his style as easily as I recognize my best friend’s voice. I enjoy it nearly as much, too.
I don’t want to change my style because I hope that, someday, someone will treasure my style the way I do Stephen King’s. Or J.K. Rowling’s. Or Margaret Atwood’s.
And, dammit, I am a special snowflake.