Why you should use Capitalization as a literary device


Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, a collection of 200 poems about love and loss – abuse and healing, initially self-published in 2014 sold over a million copies, and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 52 consecutive weeks, in 2017.

Following the success of Milk and honey , kaur didn’t have to hustle to publish The Sun and Her Flower, she sat back and chose from list of firms a publisher with the finest deal.

Although the themes of Kaur’s writing is motivational, it is her lower-case-only writing style and lack of punctuation that I find most inspiring.

“we are all born
so beautiful
the greatest tragedy is
being convinced we are not”

One of her explanation for writing in lower case letters is to preserve the rudiments of her mother’s dialect, in which there is no distinction between upper and lower case letters in writing.

Not only does writing in lowercase preserves Kaur’s culture, in addition to the preeminence from such a noble cause, her style also distinguishes her work from her peers, which is a major objective of creative writing.

For creative writers who are tempted to use Capitalization as a writing device, Kaur’s story is a prime model on how to break away from the confinement of rigid rules stifling your imagination.

Capitalization as a Creative Writing Literary Device

Using capitalization to improve a creative writing.

Capitalization of words in the middle of a sentence is a form of literary device used by fiction writers to evoke emotional reaction from their reader.

Lorrie Moore is a famous for stylistic use of capitalization, in reviewing her, David Gate of New York Times stated that, she’s “one of the all-time great deployers of the exclamation point,” she does this mostly by using capitalization.

Here is a phrase from Moore’s “People Like That Are the Only People Here”, The New Yorker, January 27, 1997;

“The Oncologist describes the tumor as “fast but wimpy,” which the Mother sees as Claudia Osk from the fourth grade. The Baby likes the hospital. He smiles and waves: “What a little Cancer Personality!”

Critics suggests that Moore’s use of capitalization is imperative because she writes from a second person point of view (Telling the story as an observer; The Mother said…the Father). Notwithstanding, it is undeniable the distinction capitalization gives her writing.

Not many established writers uses capitalization as a writing device, in the article Fiction Writers Review, Anne Stameshkin mentioned a few names with some examples.

As a creative writer, the difficult part of using capitalization as a device is to apply it and still maintain the context of your work, even a creative mind can be subjected to scrutiny in case of misapplication of this literal device.

Read Also: Why use Capitalization as a writing device

At the moment, there isn’t a lot of material on using capitalization as a creative writing device, but I suppose a general understanding of capitalization rules should be the starter for anyone hoping to deploy it as a creative device.

Rules of capitalization is well explained in this online Grammar Book.

The Grammar Book mentioned above should be fine, but if you want to purchase a hardcover, here is a useful list from eBay.