I ask you, what is happening to our words these days? When did all these new -- I almost feel like saying, new-fangled, but won't -- words appear on the scene? How is one expected to keep them straight?
Take that good old catch-all, 'bumpf'. We all know what that means. It's the stuff you get in your 'loot' bags at conferences, much of which is spread out on the tables in the hallway next to the registration desks or in the hospitality suite. Bookmarks, postcards, pens, lollipops, packages of smarties...all shouting out the merits of someone's new title. Make that many writers' new titles.
There's no more bumpf. Now it's called 'swag'. When did that happen? And where did it come from?
And while I'm on the topic of words, I'll slide right into spelling. That's because I've been caught a couple of times recently spelling a character's name (not one of my own) incorrectly. Usually someplace public like Facebook or Twitter. 'Twit' -- most appropriate.
I don't want to single out any authors because they know who I am. And really, the spelling's are often quite catchy. But really...do you expect me to remember?
I'll illustrate using some of my own character's names to avoid stepping on toes.
Hmmm. Having trouble here coming up with alternate spellings. OK, here's one. Sally-Jo Baker could easily be Bayker. Or Stephanie Lowe could be Stefanee. Mark Dreyfus -- Dreighfus. Maybe a bit far-fetched, I agree. But you get the picture. I challenge any of you to remember those spellings next week.
That's it...I'm done. No more ranting. It's been said. Words are words are fun to play with but it would be nice to get an updated rule book once in a while. Or maybe I should treat it as a mind game, something to keep the old brain razor-sharp. That might just werk.
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime