Shunning Slang

In Sin And Syntaxauthor Constance Hale suggests not to shun slang. I buy that. Do you?

She uses as one example some author named Shakespeare. Constance writes that Shakespeare invented, “long haired, lackluster, unqualified, green-eyed, heartsick and hot-blooded’ to name a few.

Earlier she quotes Walt Whitman, “I like limber, lasting, fierce words.”

Operationally correct is not the way to go. Remember the Harry Chapin song about the little boy painting and not doing the colors as the teacher thought he should? Do our schools make future writer’s boring? How is a balance between good writing and creative found?

Teachers arise. Tell us what is going on today to instill creativity? As I said to one of my professors, I don’t want to be an academic. I want to be a writer of books. Before it is too late. I am almost old.


10 thoughts on “Shunning Slang

  1. Jnana Hodson November 27, 2013 / 11:17 am

    In my own writing, I love to use slang. Even have a thesaurus of it and find that its choices often get me straight to a “right brain” or emotional vibe.
    But there are cautions, beginning with the fact that slang is often in motion — what a word or phrase means now might mean something quite different in a few years or a few decades. And the biggest caution is the reality that slang can also be unintelligible to all but a few insiders. Or even embarrassing.
    Dig it!

    • fictionfitz November 27, 2013 / 12:08 pm

      I read your bio. I want to buy one of your books. I write poetry and creative non-fiction. I am in a fiction class at NYU. I like to read all of the above genres and want to buy one of your books. Which is your favorite? Any on Amazon? It looks like we both write from an old barn in NH. Next year is the year of the book for me as I am finally finished with a master’s degree. More time for writing…..I hope.

      • Jnana Hodson November 28, 2013 / 6:27 am

        Asking an author for a “favorite” among his or her books is like asking a parent which child’s the favorite. It depends on the day, I suppose, and how they’re behaving.
        Since we’re looking at the use of slang, though, I’ll suggest “Hippie Love,” where many of the period’s phrases spice the text. “Ashram,” in turn, incorporates many of the Sanskrit terms and phrases that underpin yoga, so that might also be viewed in this light.
        As for my genre, I suppose adult fiction or literary fiction is as close as I come to any.
        I’m not yet on Amazon, though my novels are available at Barnes & Noble’s ebook service, among others. Or you can just click on the links in my Novelist section of the Bio and go from there.
        Best wishes on wrapping up the master’s and turning to the book. Hope your barn’s warmer than mine, especially in this wind.

  2. Kim13 November 27, 2013 / 11:58 am

    I get tired of “auto correct” wanting to remove slang and idioms…I like them. Pffft!

    • fictionfitz November 27, 2013 / 12:09 pm

      Embrace! So says Constance, Shakespeare and Whitman.

  3. New Hampshire Garden Solutions November 27, 2013 / 5:35 pm

    I was going to say that it seems like the setting would determine the use of slang but it must be used just about everywhere, especially these days.

  4. Carole Webber November 27, 2013 / 7:44 pm

    If slang fits the meaning of your creative writing , use it !
    I for one, try to avoid it. I do not know why.

    • fictionfitz November 28, 2013 / 12:13 am

      I think we all avoid because it is supposed to be wrong. I am beginning to like wrong more and more.

  5. Carole Webber November 28, 2013 / 8:36 am

    My mother would term that “contrary”.
    Using slang may get a meaning across but I do not find it creative.

    • fictionfitz November 28, 2013 / 1:26 pm

      Good comment, a different perspective

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