Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quotation marks, rah!

You know I'll agree with this: an editorial in support of the quotation mark.

Alicia

19 comments:

Laura K. Curtis said...

I got 1.5 pages into a book without quotation marks--a book that began with dialogue--and gave up. Please. It drives me absolutely batty when authors do something like this.

Although, I must admit, much about lit fic drives me batty. So perhaps the punctuation thing isn't so unexpected.

Dave Shaw said...

You know, I've never actually read a book that did this. I guess I'm too inured to "commercial fluff". ;-)

Ooh, nasty comments over there!

Edittorrent said...

Dave, Cold Mountain eschews quote marks, as I recall. Try it and see what you think. :)

Alicia

Leona said...

That's ridiculous and pretentious. I'm so tired of the "avante guarde" types I could scream. I swear when people ask me what I read they are fine until I list romance. Then they give me this, "Oh, you must be stupid" look which I equate to attitudes like this.

What's funny is that my vocab and intellignece meter, even after my Thyroid Cancer, is usually higher than those who do it.

GRRRR

And yes, I purposefully found a way to use quotes. LOL

For all those pretentious authors - I will never knowingly buy your book. If I do buy it and start to read it and it eschews the quote marks, then I will take it back.

Be forewarned. Why should I have to work at reading something that is done wrong much less pay for it? Because that's all it is - prose written wrong.

JewelTones said...

I'm so glad that, when I sold out my Art to become a commercial hack writer of romantic fluff, the sale included free quotation marks. Whew!

JT

Jami G. said...

Like Dave, I've never seen a book that did this. However, I would think the author an idiot for doing such a thing. It already drives me batty enough when authors don't include commas that I would have. (Not to mention my new aversion to leading PPPs - I should scowl at Alicia forever for that. :) Every time I read one in a published book, I'm analyzing it to see if it was really necessary!)

But I will freely admit that I'm not literary fiction's target audience. Oh sure, on the outside I might look like their type - educated overachiever and all that. But the reason I read is to lose myself in a story. If I have to parse missing quote marks or pretentious tangled sentences, I can't do that. Escapism - now that's my thing! :)

Leona, I so hear you. I've spent too much of my life being judged by people assuming that I'm less smart than I am. I am so freaking over trying to prove myself to those types. So I just don't. :) One of these days I may get a bug up my butt to finally test into Mensa just so I can wave it in their faces and say "Yeah, I read and write romance, you wanna make something of it???" (Again, I survived public school in the then-current murder capital of the world, people really shouldn't mess with me...heheheh)

Jami G.

Wes said...

AMEN!!!!!!

Having read Cold Mountain and a couple of books by Cormac McCarthy I vowed to never read another novel that didn't use quotation marks. Rather than finding such writing an elevated form of artistic expression, I find it sophomoric.

Dave, try to wade thru McCarthy's Blood Meridian and The Road. At least he should have used some his saved effort from not typing quotation marks for punching up the dialogue which was flat and of little use in advancing the story.

But then, he has won a Pulitzer, and I have not.

Wes said...

Sorry, JG, for leaving you out of my comment to Dave.

I have additional issues with Cold Mountain. I didn't find the story or the characters compelling. How can that be when I was raised on stories of my ancestors' exploits in the Civil War? I found the movie far more powerful. How often is that said?

Jami G. said...

Hi Wes,

I haven't seen Cold Mountain either, so I can't compare the book and movie. I wonder why you found the movie more powerful - did it make you feel more connected to the characters?

As I said, that aspect is more important to me than anything else when I read. If I don't get lost in the character's lives and world, then it's just words on a page. I want to forget that I'm reading at all. I want the immersive experience.

Literary fiction often wants to draw attention to the prose itself - the lyrical quality of the words and rhythm, etc. And while I can appreciate that - and I'm not knocking it by any means - that's just not what I want to spend my little free time reading. And if someone wants to dismiss me because my tastes are too "pedestrian", I shrug. :)

Jami G.

Dave Shaw said...

Okay, Alicia, how did you know I have Cold Mountain sitting on my bookshelf, still in the pristine condition of a book that has been opened but not read? (Yes, I said I haven't read any books that pull that stunt, not that I haven't seen them.) I suppose someday I'll have the time and fortitude to actually read the thing, but I haven't done it yet. (BTW, I had ancestors who fought in the Rebellion, too, but you don't see a lot of fiction written about the Union soldiers - I wonder why? And yes, I just called it the Rebellion - we used to do that in Vermont, back in the day.)

Edittorrent said...

Well, in Virginia, where I grew up, it was called The War for Southern Independence, or The War of Northern Invasion, or The Second American Revolution.

But Cold Mountain doesn't excuse the war or anything-- the real villains are (straw men) the Home Guard, oddly enough.

At least, that's what I remember, though probably the lack of quote marks messed up my ability to follow the story. :)
Alicia

Edittorrent said...

Dave, it's worth a read. Brush up on Homer's Odyssey before you read Cold Mountain, and you might get more out of it.

Theresa

Edittorrent said...

Yes, Dave, it's based on the structure of the Odyssey. It's interesting how many modern works follow the great O!
Alicia

Amy said...

Hear, hear! I can't stand it when literary novels leave out the quotation marks. It screams, "Look at me! Look at me! I'm so pretentious!" Yet another reason to avoid the genre.

Edittorrent said...

It makes my mental ear go flat-- all the dialogue reads to me as deadpan. Those quote marks are like little ears pricking to tell me to inflect what follows... and if they're not there, I lose the inflection, and it all sounds like one of those early American Idol contestants. (Flat, I mean. :)

alicia

Wes said...

I agree, Alicia.

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Iapetus999 said...

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