Sunday, February 26, 2012

Contractions: A Pain Regardless Of Location!

Oh, the torture of it all!!
Ask any woman about childbirth and you're destined for disparity. Simply put, where one woman may look at contractions as a blip on the radar (I'm sure an IV bound cocktail helps with that scenario!) another woman would say the pains were literally a pain in the rear end. The same goes for the use of contractions within a manuscript.

Rest at ease, there is method to my madness . . .

With all the "research" reading I've been doing of late (to keep my head in the game, of course!) I've noticed a vast difference in contraction usage. I adore reading historical romances, mainly within the Regency Era, so of course, I'm picking up any type of book with a dashing duke or an erotically posed earl draped across the cover. While the covers may all carry the same scene of a buxom beauty being bent over a bed by a bemused baron, the comparison ends there.

"No duh!" You might have cause to say. No story is ever the same . . . and that would be true if I were talking about plot, but I'm not. I'm digging into the framework of the story structure. The *gasp* grammar of it all!!! Namely, CONTRACTIONS!
That's what She said!
The usage or the non-usage of contractions is as wide spread as some heroine's heels. (Oh, come off it! The heroines are forever giving up the goods, some faster than others, so let's call a spade a spade! lol)

So, do we contraction or don't we contraction?

That, I'm afraid is the million dollar question, my friend!

The argument could swing toward being historically correct. Simply put, would our forefathers have spoken using contractions? Would such usage been considered slang and therefore crass? Watch any period film and there's nary an utterance.

On the other hand, is using contractions more about ease of reading for the modern day masses rather than endeavoring to represent the past authentically?

Both of these quandaries have been proposed to me via feedback from contests I've entered over the years, which just goes to show that for every ying there is a yang!

What's my preference? I plan to make use of contractions until instructed differently by the powers-that-be. Am I wrong or am I 'write'? Heck if I know! I'm just going to write the best darn book possible! But I'm curious . . . What floats your inner grammar snob? Are you a contractor or not?

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