Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Be wherry of words

I just heard on the television a director talking about a film festival based about the east end of London. He said that people of the past ‘left a residue’, which to be honest made me feel a bit queasy. I pictured a thin film of people left smeared onto brickwork and windows. I don’t think that is quite the image he was hoping to achieve.

This leads me to a mistake I made very early on with writing. I put on the page that ‘the rain was running in rivets down the window screen’ – you can just hear the smashing of glass, can’t you? Of course I meant rivulets…

But it is enormously easy to reach for the wrong word when you are writing (unless you are a Writing Guru. Such people do exist, so I hear). Homonyms are the most obvious ones…

Eye have always liked poet tree
Eye think eye wood be rather good
If only eye didn’t believe my spell-chequer
Witch says lies are better than Ruth
I have severed books and like to reed
When the whether outside is coaled
One day I will right and rime my own
Poems when I am feeling bowled


Today I have gone backwards to pick at chapter eighteen. I feel a bit better about it now, so tomorrow will be facing chapter nineteen again. I just need to somehow propel myself over this hurdle and then I think I will be fine. What I need, in fact, is a medieval rock-slinging contraption. I could sit in it and it could throw me into chapter twenty. Although if you’re all out of rock-slinging contraptions, I notice Madeira cake works pretty well instead.

I think one of the first things I will do when I finish this novel is join a gym.

4 comments:

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

I was just talking to someone else about this today! My first round with my editor was great and luckily she did not mention the fact that in several spots in the MS I meant "shuddered" as in shook with fear, but wrote "shuttered", as in all the windows were shuttered! How embarrassing! She just circled it and neatly wrote the correct spelling on top! Thank God for kind editors! We are only human after all. ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Plain Jane said...

Too bad spell checkers don't catch homonyms. I can't even spell regular words. My husband doesn't understand how someone who reads so much can be such an idiot with spelling. I guess I just never pay attention.

Jayne said...

Hi Hilary! It just goes to show we all do it - and it sounds like you have a lovely editor. And the great thing is once it is pointed out the mistake never happens again - we live and learn! :)

Jayne said...

Hi Jane! I must admit (and I am hanging my head in shame here) that I am absolutely hopeless at any word games, especially Scrabble. People always think I will be amazing, and yet the only word I will think of to spell will be something like 'red'.