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.

Write Your own Original Story

How you can write your own original story with your own fresh ideas.

Original stories have voices of their own, and that originality is the indelible marker that imprints a story in the minds of readers.

I wouldn’t be writing today if not for the inspirations I got enjoying original stories. Think about those classics like Eze goes to school, Things Fall Apart or Arrow of God? Honestly, all my burnt candles and broken lantern discarded in the process of reading those great books were worth it, but more important is their originality.

Of course I give credit to my mom who among other hobbies enjoyed reading. She regularly recommended good books. Thanks to her, I read George Orwell’s Animal farm even before realizing its global acclamation.

The moral of my story is that anyone can write an original story. Never mind the notion that new ideas don’t exist, it’s only an excuse of a lazy writer for copying another person’s work. Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with imitation, after all it’s the funniest form of flattery.

I remember one evening, we had just finished dinner and were chilling at the verandah, enjoying the smell of roasted corn from a neighboring vendor. Then my mom started talking about Kumin-rikuku, a book she had read.

Later I read the book, and saw for myself the protagonist; whose tortured character till today remains my personification of “vengeance”. That I dedicated a whole chapter of my story, The Smoke Writer, to vengeance was not an accident.

At the end of the day, this piece would tantamount to a mere recitation of nostalgia, if I fail to share factors that helps with writing an original story.

First of all, understanding the difference between evolution, and imitation is the first step in creative writing. It doesn’t matter how many times a story has been told, re-telling it from your perspective is one way of creating your own original story. The Star Wars series, and saga remains very popular, because each edition is an evolution of the former. ( Star Wars Boxed Set: Episodes I-VI).

Secondly, don’t focus on the words count. It is better to write a short, and an original story of your own, than to write a long collection of lines from other peoples’ work. If you must flatter a writer, go to his or her page and pour your heart out. Who wouldn’t appreciate that? As opposed to someone finding traces of his work, published under your name. Short stories genres are growing in popularity, who knows, maybe we are becoming lazier. But in a world where news is faster than food, few people wants to read a cyclopedia in the name of a novel. A lot of people would prefer to read a short, and enticing story.

Thirdly, remember that necessity is the mother of invention. Invent facts to personalize, and add originality to your story. Let your imagination run wild, design facts for your characters. That is the main difference between a fiction and a non-fiction. Although cautious is advice, to avoid crossing that thin line between creativity and madness. There is an unwritten rule about keeping fictions closer to the realm of reality.

My last advice is that you create a character from a part you. Your talent will manifest mostly in the characters in your story. To a significant extent, your characters will define your writing. I wouldn’t have remembered anything about Kumin-rikuku, had it not been for the vengeance seeking protagonist, who gave his life for justice. If you can illustrate your protagonist perfectly, you would leave imprints in the minds of your readers.

In conclusion, believe that you can create your own original story. Creative writing is not a skill reserved for the talented few. American novelist, Professor James Hynes, in his work, Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques, illustrates how we all can achieve great writing. You can be successful, but I recommend his book, as a guide to writing your own original story.