Hyphenation

The last two posts explained how my writing began to change, using more commas to elongate sentences and make the writing more ‘poetical’, and the introduction of alliteration. A couple of writers group meetings after I presented my ‘On The Road’ piece I wrote a flash fiction extract  in which I included a hyphenated word and it turned out to revolutionize my writing. Since that piece just about everything I have written has been centered around this use of hyphens and inventing new words by using hyphens.

One particular hyphenated word drew much discussion at the meeting when I presented the writing and encouraged me to continue developing the idea. The fact that it was causing such a discussion, with people arguing fervently for and against the use of such made-up words, made writing much more exciting for me. It certainly was a change from getting the usual platitudes that fill up so many writers’ groups meetings. The word was ‘tyre-roared’, or since the story made more sense to be set in America, ‘tire-roared’. The two characters in the story were a modern day Bonnie and Clyde and I had them ‘tyre-roar’ away from their latest crime. As people said, and I realized too, the use of two words joined with a hyphen drew a picture which otherwise might require a whole sentence to create in the reader’s mind.

I also used ‘cry-laughing’, again the idea being to create in one word a complete image of what the two people were doing. The word also helped to create an idea of a poetical edge to the writing.’Dead-dropped’ was another – this time simply by reversing the word order I was trying to add interest and something unusual to the reading experience. The phrases were beginning to become as important as the plot of the story – maybe a good thing, maybe not.

This writing was read out at the last meeting before Christmas 2015 and during our break I wrote a series of short pieces based around black and white photographs I found on Google. Each saw me experimenting with using longer sentences with commas, alliteration and hyphens. One of these pieces was, in a couple of months time when read out at a meeting, the stimulus for a writing project which is still going on today. More about that in another post.

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