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A Way With Words

November 29th, 2013

First, thanks to Jane for her post on research. At one time writers were told “Write about what you know.” Now, I think “What you know, or what you can find out about” is more appropriate! And it’s never been easier to find the facts and the background information you need or contact an expert for help.

Times are also changing in the world of words. It used to be a huge undertaking to update a dictionary, taking out words that had become obsolete and adding in new ones that were coming into vogue. But now the Oxford Dictionaries Online is updated four times a year. I’m sure you’ve already heard that the ‘word of the year’ for 2013, chosen by their editors, is ‘selfie’, which according to their definition is:

A photograph that one has taken of oneself typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media site.

I know, it sounds rather pompous for something so trivial, but apparently its usage has increased 17,000% over the past twelve months.

I’ve had a look through a list of the latest additions and the three that I like best are:

Food baby: A protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. You’ve got to admit, you see plenty of those when you’re out and about.

Phablet: A smart phone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer. Sounds about right. I can’t imagine anything worse than something too big to comfortably fit in your handbag/pocket but too small to make browsing pleasurable.

Squee: An exclamation used to express great delight or excitement. So, in future, you’ll be able to seriously cut your heroine’s dialogue and replace it with repeated squeals of ‘Squee…’

OK, now onto something more useful. Harper Collins’ Australian division has launched The Wednesday Post. No matter where you live you can submit your manuscript to them on a Wednesday (Australian time). Their editors are interested in adult fiction, young adult fiction and many types of non-fiction (though there are some areas that they don’t wish to see). So, if you’ve got a book that you’re trying to get published, visit their website for full details of how submissions can be made.

My guest next Friday is novelist, Dawn Marshallsay, who will be looking at motivating yourself as a writer and not feeling guilty about shutting yourself away while you work.


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