Thursday, December 28, 2006

Elementary, My Dear Stewart

In one of his comments on this blog, Stewart mentioned “grammar” as a possible element. My first though was “yes,” but then I began to think more about it. If we add grammar we’d need to add vocabulary too, it seems. And what about punctuation? But grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation almost seem more like “tools” that we use to manipulate our elements, like the particle accelerator used by the physicists. This is probably needlessly complicated. Maybe I’m at risk of disappearing right up my own particle accelerator and ending up more quarked than I already am. Anybody have any thoughts? Grammar, vocab and punctuation? Are they elements or tools? Is it even useful to separate elements and tools?

I was also thinking of something else. Most storytelling is linear with the occasional flashback, but some writers, such as Jim Sallis, often make non-linearity a major part of their work. Is linear versus non-linear a part of “pacing?” Or is there a better name for such an issue?

By the way, the Sphinxy One has a nice post on blogging over on her site that suggests a relationship to “The Great Conversation.” Could be. Could be.

5 comments:

Sphinx Ink said...

Merci pour la reference, Gramlich. Sphinx Ink enjoys reading your thoughts on the writing process. It's fascinating to observe the processes of all writers, but most especially those for whom one has such respect.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Linear and nonlinear as pacing? It could be. It could also be style, yes? Does stream of consciousness fit in here? Under pacing? or under something else? Is it point of view or tense? Things get complicated when we try and break things down to elements don't they?

Stewart Sternberg said...

My blushes, Gramlich.

Linear and nonlinear as pacing? It could be. It could also be style, yes? Does stream of consciousness fit in here? Under pacing? or under something else? Is it point of view or tense? Things get complicated when we try and break things down to elements don't they?

Dr Sinophile said...

Tools??...elements???...this seems to be a very male "How-to construct..." session.

Is this a bold attempt to turn an Arts subject into a quasi-engineering one?

Charles Gramlich said...

Things always get complicated around me, Stewart. I can never leave well enough alone.

Now, dr. sinophile, I know many women who love tools. Or at least are better at using them than I am.