Showing posts with label language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language. Show all posts

Sunday 9 February 2020

Filler Words... What's Yours?

Ask any group of writers what their filler words are and 'just' is certain to appear. They're those words we write without thinking and don't help the clarity.

Those pesky filler
I'm guilty of using filler words, but I'm picking them up better than last year. Now, even stopping mid-sentence and asking myself, do I need to use that word? The answer, no.

There will be others that need removing in the editing process, but if I can reduce known repeat offenders along the way, it saves time later...

We use many of the filler words in everyday conversation, and according to an expert, in this 2017 article from the Independent newspaper online, those words have a purpose- politeness and processing.  (That explains my use of 'well' in conversations...) :D

Perhaps that also fools our brain into giving filler words a pass card when we're writing drafts?

My top three: so, well, and just. I'm working on negating very.

Which filler words do you have to edit out?

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Sunday 26 November 2017

It's Time for the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards...

Not sure whether you could call this a highlight of the book awards year, but it's certainly 'different'...

"According to the prize’s organisers, the Literary Review, the purpose of the prize is to draw attention to “poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction”. The prize is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature." (The Bookseller)

It seems there were a few nominations that despite being well supported didn't quite fit the spirit of the award so were ruled out.

So here are the titles and authors of the 2017 contenders:

  • The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet.
  • Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe.
  • The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen.
  • War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill).
  • Mother of Darkness by Venetia Welby.
  • The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek.
  • As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths.

You can read the extracts in the Guardian's article here.

This year's selection is much better than it's been in previous years; perhaps the trend for sex scenes in books that really don't need them has passed, so the poorly written stuff hasn't reached print.

So my contenders from this year's crop: The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek, and for what on earth is he going on about- it's sex not Meccano- The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet.

The results will be announced this coming Thursday (30th), and no doubt the winner will get a few extra sales as a result...

decision time...

Friday 24 February 2012

Early 19th Century Slang Examples...

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue-  a Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, an Pickpocket Eloquence by Francis Grose (a soldier) is now available as an e-book on the Project Gutenberg website (*).

There's a short piece in the Telegraph Books section about it's download popularity.

Just reading through a few of the words and their explanations quickly open the world of the past- as long as you remember that not everyone spoke this way all the time, it can start a creative spark for a low-life character, or an immature young man about town- I have a couple of low-life hired men lurking in my brain for a future story...

For the writers among us, we're Brothers of the Quill...Okay, I know we use computers and it should be Sisters of the Quill, but we all know the problems female authors had being taken seriously at that time.

As a left-hander, I'm Caudge-Pawed, but I'm not a Chatter Box- still basically means they talk too much today, as then.

A Cloak Twitcher would suggest a dubious character anyway, and it seems they lurked in dark alleys and lanes to snatch cloaks from passengers- clothes were valuable and a decent cloak would have been expensive to some people.

And how could you describe someone with one eye? They had a single peeper.

There are a lot of words and phrases we'd still recognise now, and others that we may even remember older relatives using.

If it becomes very popular again, who knows what words might start to appear in conversation...:-)

(*) Project Gutenberg works within the American copyright system, so they may have books available to download that are not out of copyright in the UK, so check out any author dates under the Bibrec tab.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Character Queries - Speaking Italian...

Yesterday I started chapter two and (just like the previous time I'd tried to write it) found myself changing my mind. After the fourth attempt I got something I was satisfied with and that's when queries started occurring...

My hero is stood looking at a neglected field and he curses. Now if it were in English then it wouldn't be a problem, I could have toned it down, but he curses in Italian.

(I had already decided that this story was not going to fit the pocket novel formula and this moment confirmed it.)

I considered whether I could find an alternative way, but that wouldn't have been true to how I see and hear him in my imagination; it would also have denied part of his back story.

So off I went and googled Italian curse words and phrases. I discovered that just like the UK, there are different dialects in various areas of Italy too. Plus I have to remember that my story is based in the early 19th C not the early 21st...

So whatever I choose will be simple (and likely to have been used at the time) but will still get over his anger and upset at that moment.

I think I will be looking into the Italian language in a little more depth, and it won't be wasted- yes, there's an attractive Italian waiting for his story to be written, he's the brother of another character's love interest...

But I mustn't get sidetracked, those are other stories. :-)