Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hyphen NOT example

Almost finished with the big article. In fact, I wrote the last line (replaying a motif that had been brought up elsewhere-- no limit, no net):

No limit, no fear, and no net fiction.

Hmm. I looked at that and knew that those "no" adjectives all needed hyphens ("What's net fiction? And why should we have none of it?"). But I didn't wanna! I just knew they'd visually detract from my point that this is fiction with anarchy. Hyphens sort of, you know, deny anarchy.

And if I hadn't just done that damned blog entry about compound adjectives, I might have just neglected to fix them. But I kept hearing, "Heal thyself, and all that."
But I still didn't want hyphens.

You know, the next time some writer tells me how "constricting" grammar is, I'm going to point to this. When I started looking at that line and trying to get around the whole hyphen thing, I realized that the terms that were most interesting, most exciting, most intense were buried as compound adjectives. Yeah, buried. Anything in the middle of a sentence is buried. It's the beginning of the paragraph (and this was at the end), and the end of the sentence where there's power. And I was wasting that powerful final real estate on an important but not very interesting word, fiction. So when I contemplated how yucky hyphens would be, I understood why they'd be yucky-- because they would call attention to the marginal position of what ought to be the big culminating terms.

Once I realized that, and realized that I wanted to END on one of the "no" terms (I'm still debating which one... probably "no limit" because it's the longest), I immediately came up with a STATEMENT, yes, a point, a sentence (with a colon, but this is academic writing-- I mean, colons and semicolons rule) which didn't just present my pretty terms, but put them in the context of the whole paper:

This is fiction at its most elemental: No fear, no net, no limit.

I'm still fiddling here, as "this is" is sort of lame, and I really prefer "story" to "fiction," as "fiction" implies prose and print, and I mean film and TV too. But that can wait (I'm presenting just a short version of this, not the long version, which isn't really done :). I have solved the hyphen issue by analyzing what I really want to mean.

Limitation is liberation, and that actually is sort of the message of my whole paper, though it has nothing to do with hyphens.



Adrian said...

> No limit, no fear, and no net fiction.

I'm sorry. I've read that line a dozen times now, and I still don't know what it means. Even when I put in hyphens, I don't get it. Maybe I'm imagining the hyphens in the wrong places. Just what did you mean by that line (sentence?)?

Riley Murphy said...

I got it. Although, your second line-up (I figured I'd throw in hyphen for fun) works much better for me. With no fear there is nothing holding you back as a net would and with no net, you can delve as deep as you want to go. Ergo, (I love that word) no limit, right?

Babs said...

This was a tough one to follow. Like Adrian I was confused. Reading Murphy's comment I see it now. I also was stuck on the:
no net fiction.

Riley Murphy said...

I think this was more about how a problem was solved, as in the process, than it was about the problem itself. I just thought that I would mention that I liked the second arrangement better.

Reading a line out of context is tough at the best of times but when it comes from someone like Alicia? That makes it even more difficult. Or, has no one else besides me, noticed how deeply that girl examines an issue? :)

Edittorrent said...

The "no net" is picking up from something a writer had said earlier in the paper, though now that I look, she said, "This is writing without a net."

But "no net" just SOUNDS better! Whine.....

Riley Murphy said...

Um, about the statement: "This is writing without a net." Can you say NO punch?! Your 'no net' is better.

Did you ever get the 'This is fiction' sorted? Curious because I wanted to put in place of: 'this is' - either creative or creating fiction after reading your comments about fiction being more than just prose and print.

Jordan McCollum said...

I didn't understand the line until I read the context provided in the rest of the post, so I think the line will make sense in the article itself.

I prefer it without the hyphens, too. However, the hyphens may make it clearer, even after the context of the article. One reason why I think we've been having trouble with the line is that we scan "limit," "fear," and "net" as nouns instead of adjectives modifying "fiction." I suppose you could invert the whole order to make it "Fiction without limit (not as good this way), without fear, without a net." But it still scans better your way.

Julie Harrington said...

Hm. There's always something like:

This is fiction at its most elemental: No limits, no fears, no nets.


Edittorrent said...

JT, yeah, maybe pluralizing? I'll try that.