Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Why Can't Characters Sit Down and Stand Up Any More?
One of the things that has been said the last few years is not to use the terms "sit down", "stand up", or "stood up" because if you sit, you usually sit down, and if your character stood up he stood because all he can do is stand up.
I took all this seriously even though it bothered me because what the average person from all walks of life says is, "Come in, sit down." Or "He sat down and we had a good talk."
In the classroom, teachers tell students to stand up all the time. "Stand and get in line" just doesn't sound right.
So why are we, as writers, being told to reeducate the public not to use the words they've always used and continue to use?
I've been paying attention as I read some of the best sellers on the NY Times list. And, I know when you are famous you can break the rules, but these authors let their characters sit down and stand up a lot. Some follow the rules most of the time, but usually there's a slip-up. One even wrote that his character, "...sat down on the couch..." So why has this become a big no-no?
I'm trying hard to follow the road of rules set forth for the unpublished but sometimes it just doesn't seem natural. How do you feel about this? Are you making changes in your own work?