literary elitism

I am not a grammar Nazi (or Alt-Write as some wag put it). Back when I was writing technical manuals and legal contracts, I adhered to the “rules” of grammar and the house style sheet. But as I transitioned into writing feature articles for magazines, I began to loosen my standards with the idea of aiding the communication of the message by means memorable rather than means strictly correct. (It’s one of the reasons I gave up teaching freshman comp at the local community college. I no longer “believed” in the authority of grammar. Also, I was a crap teacher.) Now that I write fiction, I give no care at all to the rules; if a collection of words works, it works. (That being said, grammar, or at least culturally standard methods of arranging words, can help avoid confusion — hence my advocacy of the Oxford comma. Still, the rules of grammar are, some say, the imposition of the culturally elite’s way of speaking on everyone. I’m so conflicted.)

Flowing ever so obviously from this is my tolerance/acceptance/respect for all genres of writing. I don’t try to write Westerns, for example, or bodice-ripping Romances, but I have no quarrel with those who do or with those who read those genres and enjoy them. Writing is still writing, and even the most formulaic story took effort and concentration and some amount of skill to write.

Which then leads ever so obviously to the Twilight novels by Stephanie Meyer. I have not read them, though millions of people have, and I have only seen one of the movies (which I can never un-see, I’m afraid). Yet this post (item #5) over at Interesting Literature seems to raise those novels out of their genre a notch. Who knew they had such a pedigree?

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