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Discussion Points plus Five Spellings from the Conference Fringe
Happy New Year of the Monkey – reason for all these animals later...
The SCBWI Conference in Winchester in November 2015 included a Fringe skill share on Proofreading Tips. Here’s a further look at some of the discussion prompts I offered at this session. We looked at choosing titles and character names with marketing and the digital world in mind. Using topics first looked at here we agreed it’s essential to try out the initials of your title to anticipate a usable hashtag or website name. ‘Usable’ here merely means not confusing or silly. You’ll know what I mean when you’ve tested those initials and imagined trending.
Though you can’t copyright a book title you can, of course, buy the appropriate domain name. This is a moot point, self-publishers, at what point do you buy a website name? And which extension (.com, .co.uk, etc)? Further new dilemmas for writers include:
- check your title when run together with no spaces. You don’t want a child, a troll or the Press to try this first and find a hilarious or rude juxtaposition
- avoid punctuation marks in your title, as they are not used in domain names and hashtags
- avoid words with alternative spellings
The fringe session included a discussion of our most frequent typos, so here are Five Spellings and Handy Hints Thereof. These are the five words I see misspelled most often. They may not feature in your work in progress, but you never know when they might be needed in your covering letter...
1 separate not seperateSeparate has ‘a rat’ in it. That’s the handy hint that goes through my head, mind and brain when I’m about to type separate. It might work for you, and to remind you we’ve now arrived at the appropriate Chinese Zodiac Animal:
2 definite not definateDefinite does not have an ‘a’ in it. It may help if you remember another word in this family – definition (I don’t see this misspelled as often as definite).
3 independent not independant and then there’s dependent or dependant as appropriateIndependent – here’s another one that does not have an ‘a’ in it. The antonym (opposite) is dependent, again without an ‘a’.
Dependant– following on from the two adjectives above we have this noun which does have a letter ‘a’ and refers to a person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support.
The way to remember the correct spelling here is with the assorted paper goods including envelopes beginning with ‘e’. So that’s stationery.
4 stationery and stationary
And if you like you can have stationary (traffic).
It’s easy to imagine supersede should have a ‘c’ because it’s the only ‘sede’ word, whereas there are six with ‘cede’: accede, concede, intercede, precede, recede and secede.
5 supersede not supercede
The difference occurs because all the ‘cede’ words originate from the Latin cedere (go) and supersede comes from Latin super (above) and sedere (sit). So we also have preside (‘before sit’), residual (‘back sit’ ), dissident (‘apart sit’), subsidiary (‘under sit’) and sedentary (too much sitting).
More Proofreading Tips next month.