Now, what exactly IS yoga writing, you may ask. Since yoga is good for me, shouldn’t it be good for my writing? Not so fast my little holistically minded writer.
Yoga writing (my own term ;)) is writing in which the author has endeavored so much to adhere to all of the writing rules, plus anything critique partners, judges, random readers have said they must do to make their work “good”, that they have created writing that is often extremely, if not completely, difficult to read, not unlike this sentence which actually violates many rules, but is in itself a twisted example of one form of yoga writing.
An easier to read example of yoga writing comes to mind from a few years ago where an agent or editor mentioned he didn’t like the word “as”. There were cries and wailing women at this pronouncement as writers fought to get all of the examples of the offending word out of their work.
This led to some really odd yoga writing contortions, let me tell you. The editor/agent (forgot which now) didn’t mean to attack the word itself, but rather specific uses, or misuses, of the word. But many writers took it to their hearts that the word must be destroyed, no matter how unwieldy it left some of their sentences.
Another culprit, and more wide spread than the great “as” purge, is the word “was”. Yes, this little dickens can often be a sign of weak or lazy writing. Many times a sentence with this monster in it can be turned into a stronger, brighter, shiner, (and depending upon your genre) more able to leap tall buildings in a single bound version of itself with a “was-ectomy” and some reconstructive surgery.
But sometimes they need to be there for ease of reading, and well, because removing them often leaves a weirdly twisted sentence that often takes longer for the reader to read than it would have had there been a simple…was. Like the word “said” most readers don’t notice “was”. Now, this isn’t carte blanch to go dumping "was’s" all over the place. But it does mean that you shouldn't panic and run screaming for the hills if you have some legitimately in your work.
Our goal as writers is to make our work as evocative, inviting, and magical as we can to a reader so we can pull them along the path of our story with us. We can’t do that if we sprain their brain with a confusing and tortured sentence structure.
Lol! I like your new name for this. It's so true, everyone keeps telling writer's what 'not' to write, or how to write, and if we're not careful, we forget to do that what we wanted to do - simply write.ReplyDelete
Thanks, T! It makes it easier to keep in mind I think ;).Delete
Well put! Maybe we should all have signs over our keyboards, "Simply write."
Thanks for coming by and commenting!
Another informative blog post, Marie! Great job! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Cassi! And thanks for coming by!Delete
Marie- stuck at work- can't get onto blogger :(
What a great expression - yoga writing. Yes, indeed. Tying yourself into editorial contortions because of some 'rule'. I agree completely. There. I just used an adverb. ;)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Greta :) You are such a rebel! LOL! Maybe we can start a trend, start writing, "Ummm, ya have some yaga writing going on here." on projects (both our own and friends ;)).Delete
Thanks for coming by and commenting!
I wrote much more happily before I was inundated by rules and preferences...once the first draft was finished I could go back and fix POV, passive voice, and anything else. Now I start hammering out a passage and doggonit if I don't stop to worry about whose POV I'm in or how many times I've used 'troubled heart' in the last three pages. Now I have a name for it, and I can tell it to go away until needed. THANKSReplyDelete
I agree! The innocence of not knowing what was "wrong" was a much better time to write. Maybe stick a "NO YOGA WRITING" on your computer?Delete
Hmmm- I may try that myself!
Thanks for coming by and commenting, Mona!
Hee! Great post Marie!!!ReplyDelete
And you're right... Nothing in the English language is 100%... No rules! :)
Thanks, Lisa! And thanks for coming by! Oooooo- maybe biker jackets that say "No Rules Writers" we could be a club! ;)Delete
Oh my yes! I found your link on the Insecure Writers Support Group page and was intrigued by your blog name. :)ReplyDelete
I once fell victim to yoga writing - back when I first started. It got so twisted and convoluted I gave up and threw out the rules, starting fresh with a greater appreciation for moderation. :)
Nice to meet you!
P.S. You might want to turn off your captcha before the first IWSG. Others in the group will mention it to you. ;)
Hi Laura! I'm so glad you came by (I'm looking forward to my first IWSG run next month!)Delete
You are so right, moderation is the key and something we all need to keep in mind.
Thank you for coming by and commenting! (and for the advice- I have no idea how to do that--but I'm on it! :))
Sorry I missed your blog when it first came out. I must have been consulting with my yogi, working on my latest pose, Dead Adverb Down. After I've learned this we are moving on to a head stand called Passive Voice Inverted. As I am currently doing a revision, all those shouldn'ts, don'ts and nevers are running rampant through the first draft daring me to get rid of ALL of them. It is so true that sometimes it's just much simpler to write sentences which speak to us whether they follow the rules or not. Great post.ReplyDelete
LOL!!! I can just see you at your desk, contorting yourself ;).Delete
Thanks for coming by and commenting, Sharon! And don't let those nasty words taunt you into something twisted ;).