Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What Makes A Good Writer?

I read blogs everyday and for the most part those I choose to read are very interesting and entertaining. I came across some cool sites the other day where people can submit article and several of them have writing styles and guidelines. I think those are essential - you can't just have caca all over the place - but is it essential for a good writer? For instance, should the word caca be caca in my previous sentence, to indicate a word in Spanish or even Slang?

I'm telling you there are some amazing writers just within the group of folks I read, but not everyone follows a certain style, or even rules.

I checked The Backword Magazine out after reading a post on the Art of Brownsville. They have this chingon style guide.

What do you all think? I don't like sloppy writing, but I also don't like writing being inhibited by rules. For instance - I like to be entertaining on my blog - so I just write all kinds of pendjejadas - and instead of using commas or breaking up sentences - I use chingaderas like this --. I reckon' I understand arguments for both sides.


Blogger La Brown Girl said...

I think it's all fair as long as you can pass it off as your "style." Look at Rolando Hinojosa's stuff, it's like a jarbled mess grammer wide, but he's a damn good writer.

6:04 AM

Blogger Aleksu said...

I agree, as long as you forge what you can call a style (bound to evolve no matter what) then everything is game.

8:30 AM

Blogger oso said...

I absolutely can't stand writing guidelines. I think almost always as soon as someone thinks they have to obey certain rules, their writing gets worse because they freeze up, second guess themselves, and use big words without having to.

I'd much rather read someone's raw slop than polished bullshit.

11:58 AM

Blogger Mayra said...

My obvious problems with writing are grammar and proof-reading. A child of the TAAS generation, my grammar got me by...I also blog late at night so even if I proof-read...I miss so many mistakes. I could try to blog straight from Word and then cut and paste to blogger but it just doesn't flow as easy...something about a blank screen stumps me and I am too tired by 12:30am to blog on blogger, cut and paste to word, spell check, cut and paste back to blogger and so forth...so alas I am not the best of technical writers.

5:15 PM

Blogger AnalisaGuzman said...

Oso, As a writing teacher, I have to say that I value rules of style. Of course, bullshit is going to be bullshit no matter what. A good writer will learn the rules so that she or he knows how and when it is appropiate to break them. Audience, media, content... rules are flexible to accomodate all of these. Writing "rules" are meant to ease communication not hinder it.

That said...I feel entitled to write caca in my blog in whatever style I want. hehehehehe.

5:13 PM

Blogger tortillasandwich said...

I admit the writing on my blog is horrible. In real life when I write I have editors who look over my work. I don't have that luxury with my blog; being dyslexic also does not get me any points either.

9:29 PM

Blogger tortillasandwich said...

Sheesh, looks like I can't even comment on blogs without sounding pyschotic.

9:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing guidelines annoy me to no end... but look at what language really is: a sequence of symbols with literal meanings, or a bunch of metaphors. So, if this is the case, how do we communicate with words? By creating a recognized standard by which we all abide. Punctuation is just more words... they're words that tell us how to read other words. They are a part of the standardization of the language. We need those tools to communicate.

4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes a writer good is his use of the language. Not a particular one, just the ability to compose fluently.

However, I believe that while guidelines are unnecessary, a writer must follow unspoken rules. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation must be correct. I do not ask for MLA or any other formats, but make your language translucent, let me feel what you write.

If a good writer was to describe a room, the reader naturally places necessary items in the room. A good writer lets me know that a living room is comfortable; pictures of children and family adorn the side tables and the mantelpiece, without having to tell me if there is even a fire place. At the same time, a switch in diction can replace those pictures with cold steel coasters and “modern art”, again without much more than a hint.

A good writer clears type from the page and draws me inside a colorful world, without moving from a keyboard.

9:42 PM

Anonymous Cool!!! said...

I agree that writing would be important.Grammer is essential as messages most often get misubderstood if not expressed correctly.Oh! there should also be a follow through with your text.Get these fundamentals pegged and you A for away :-)

11:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good writers, most importantly, have somthing to say. And then they have the skill to say it in a way that's clear to their audience.

8:16 PM


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