Dedicated To Those of Us Who Don’t Even Know What A Beat Is … #RRBC #RWISA #RRBC_Community

Welcome to our very first (of many) informative and entertaining blog posts on our new site!

For those who don’t know, my favorite author out of all the authors in the world, has been my favorite since I read her book for the first time in 4th grade. Yes, that was many moons ago.

Louisa May Alcott and her classic “LITTLE WOMEN,” are the only two reasons that from a very young age, I wanted to become a writer.  There were only two professions that I intended to grow up into – Author and Teacher…and Teacher was only my backup plan.

When I gave birth to daughters, the very first gift each of them received was their very own copy of “LITTLE WOMEN.”  I’m saddened to share that neither of them has read the book all the way through, if even just a bit of it.  I have faith, though, that one day, they’ll come around.

I was reminiscing yesterday on just how much I loved this book, how much it meant to me, and how many hundreds of times I must have read it – and, I’m pretty sure that number is actually in the hundreds.  {In 4th grade alone I read it 11 times…that’s how much it moved me.}

Yesterday, I decided to open it up and read only the first chapter.

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From the first page alone, I knew that some of today’s writers would be appalled at the style of writing in this book – you know the ones I’m speaking about, the ones who go on and on and on about “beats.” What the heck is a “beat” anyway?  (That wasn’t a question by the way, so please don’t answer it for me in a comment.  Thank you very much!)

I’d like to share with you just a teeny bit of the very first page of the book – what some of us might refer to as hiccups today, was clearly OK way back when.  {You do know that I believe all of the greatest authors lived way back when, don’t you?}

Take a look at a snippet from Chapter One…

“PLAYING PILGRIMS”

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

“It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

“We’ve got Father and Mother and each other,” said Beth contentedly, from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly: 

“We haven’t got Father, and shall not have him for a long time.” She didn’t say “perhaps never,” but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute, then Meg said in an altered tone:  “You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure when our men are suffering so in the army.  We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly.  But I am afraid I don’t.” And Meg shook her head as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

“But I don’t think the little we should spend would do any good.  We’ve each got a dollar, and the army wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that.  I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself.  I’ve wanted it so long,” said Jo, who was a bookworm.

“I have planned to spend mine in new music,” said Beth, with a little sigh.

 “I shall get a nice box of Faber’s drawing pencils.  I really need them,” said Amy decidedly.

I’ll end it there.  I have highlighted in red the things that many of today’s new-age authors might find sinful.  I readily admit that after reading some books (not this one), I, myself have sighed a few times, as well, noticing an author using too many “said” phrases;  and even after listening to these new-age authors and buying into the “beats” craze, I may have rolled my eyes a time or two when I happened upon too many of the other descriptive words or phrases above.

So, I write this post for two groups of people –

  1. Those of you who have bought into the “beats” craze – let it go.  Get over it.  Who cares.  (Again – that’s really not a question.)
  2. And, for those of you who have been made to feel inferior because you don’t even know what a “beat” is in writing, ignore the noise and go ahead and write your hiney off, any way you please, just so long as it is good, clean, written entertainment.  If Louisa May Alcott wrote that way, you better believe I’ll follow her lead any day over any new-age author.  I mean, she was LOUISA MAY ALCOTT!

Think of it this way, many of the people who are practically married to these new-age writing techniques, made them up…and if they didn’t, somebody else did.  I don’t know if they wanted to create the next craze, or, if they wanted to have a legion of followers, following their lead, but, it’s the style of writing they liked.  You don’t have to like it and you sure as heck don’t need to continually beat yourself up because you don’t understand the technique.

I’m going to leave you with this.  The only beat I’m interested in is me, writing to the beat of my own drums!  Now, that’s a lead I’d encourage you to follow any day!

~Nonnie Jules

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Thanks for dropping in!  We’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, so please don’t leave without sharing a comment with us, as well as hitting the LIKE button below.

{If you are an RRBC member and would like to guest post on our site with a writing-related post that our readers might benefit from, please CONTACT US and let us know.  Our blogging schedule allows for posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week.}

16 thoughts on “Dedicated To Those of Us Who Don’t Even Know What A Beat Is … #RRBC #RWISA #RRBC_Community”

  1. I adore Little Women! Always have! I feel like there are so many different styles of writing, so many things factor into it… As long as we’re doing what we love, hopefully with little/no error, that’s what matters.

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  2. People have changed over the ages, and writing with it. Today, people are in a rush all the time and don’t like large expanses of description–just enough to place the characters in the world. Eat your heart out, Charles Dickens, and Henry Fielding (who wrote whole chapters in Tom Jones in which there was no advance in the story.) Reading Jane Austin, I discovered she does a lot of ‘telling’. (Remember ‘show don’t tell’?)
    Nowadays people don’t like long sentences and paragraphs.
    We are also told not to use adverbs and adjectives, or at least keep them to a minimum.
    I wonder how many of our classic writers would get published today?All these ‘rules’ are broken by them. And didn’t someone say once, ‘Rules are made to be broken’?
    An excellent post. Thank you.

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  3. I can boldly say that I did not know about “beats” in writing, but yes, I do in music. As for writing, I write the way I think and speak, and I leave the editor to clean it up afterward. If I had to think of “beats” and the like when writing, I would never have written at all.

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  4. I admit I had to look up what the beat was in writing. It sounds like a term to describe what we already naturally do. Or least that’s my take on it. I write what comes to me and hope for the best, of course, good editing is certainly important:) I’m a fan of Little Women and yes they way they wrote is different than now because life was different then. I used to say I was going to have four girls like Little Women, but then I had a boy in the mix, who I adore, so I have half of Little Women…lol.

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  5. Good grief, Nonnie, this is heresy! Thou shalt not denigrate the “beat”… or some such! If we aren’t writing from the heart, we’ll have few readers. Writing is a journey and our style will change over time. Good post – there’s lots of food for thought here.

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  6. I absolutely love this, Nonnie. We can definitely stress way too much over things like dialogue tags. Writing to the “beat” of our own drum is called writing from the heart and it’s the only way I know to do it. Thank you for sharing Little Women and your words of wisdom!

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  7. I’m revisiting Little Women right now, too, mostly because I saw the new movie, which I thought was a lovely adaptation. Every time I look back at a classic from another era I’m struck by how writing trends change and I admit sometimes I have a hard time letting go of my contemporary notions of what makes “good” writing. You’re absolutely right, though, that it’s not really worth stressing about. If we tell a good story, most of our readers will come along happily with our stylistic choices.

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    1. Hi, Sarah! I haven’t seen the new movie but I will. There have been many adaptations from the first production, but, I’ve only enjoyed that one. It took some time for me to even see it, after having read the book. I’m like that, if I’ve read a tremendous book, I don’t want to see the movie because I feel that it will take away from the enjoyment that was brought to me in the read, but, this time, I’m going for it…the comedic value that I have seen in the trailer is what is drawing me in.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  8. The only beats I know come from music and poetry. Lol! Like you, Nonnie, I write with my own style. I’ve never tried to mimic anyone. My voice is my own, and I don’t see the point of silencing her just to follow someone else’s style. 😊

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  9. After writing 8 novels, so far, I have no idea what a ‘beat’ is. I write from the heart and yes I believe I’m improving all the time and have revisited mu first two works for a rework and harsh edit. The famous authors of yesteryear did not have the benefit of university courses, they simply wrote down their feelings and created their own styles. I encourage all indie writers to be daring and create their own style; who knows in a hundred years you could be the shining example that louisa May has become.

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