Capturing the colloquial
A Sin & Syntax fan who is writing a memoir questions whether he should edit conversational letters to his son, lightly edited, for grammatical mistakes and informal diction.
In assessing the litter of "kinda" and "really," Ken Guidroz asks, “Just like you might make allowances for this practice in dialogue, would you do so in a letter?”
I love beautiful, powerful, elegant prose, but I also love the colloquial.
The point is to make sure all words we use suit our purposes, to have a nuanced understanding of how to use words to our advantage.
So the idea of leaving words a dad might actually use in a letter to his son is completely fine, as long as they add to the believability and power of the prose. That thing about power is key. These words can often add something in conversation but detract in written language, so the true question is "Is this what I want to say and the very best way to say it"? As authors we have to think not just about our own "expression" but also about how words will register with a reader. We try to control how they register with literary style.
Have I proven why I'm fascinated with such questions? There is no easy answer, and I will allow myself to resort to an editor's cliché: "the proof is in the pudding."