A Life Of Fiction CXLVIII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Some of my pet(ty) hates: There are a few things, as a writer, which tend to annoy me. One of those I have mentioned before, and that is not being able to find novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a bookshop, because some idiot has put his oeuvre under the letter D, not realising that he adopted Conan as part of his surname. His surname is Conan Doyle; and that is the surname of all of his descendants – such as Adrian Conan Doyle and George Conan Doyle. It is not his middle name. His middle name was Ignatius. It is excusable for some member of the general public to get it wrong. But not somebody working in a bookshop. They should know better.

That is just one of the petty little things which annoy me. There are others. But, as I don’t want this post to be twenty thousand words long, I will limit myself to those little hatreds of a literary character. There are a few.

The use of gifted (verb) instead of given or gave. I have no problem with it being used correctly: to present, as in to gift a person with a copy of Dickens. But, more and more, it is being used as a simple synonym for the verb give – which has a lot more different meanings than gifted. My dictionary lists sixteen transitive senses of give and five intransitive. Sometimes it really is gave.

Overuse of evidenced (verb) when a person really means evinced. This is one of the things which really annoys me. I like the word evince. While at college, I used the word in an essay which I did as part of my A Level Art. I used the word evince in my essay. I used it in its correct usage. But I had the essay typed up by one of the staff at the college, as my spidery handwriting is nearly illegible. The word evince was changed to evidenced, even though it made no sense. That is still annoying over thirty years later. (By the way, I should say that I bear no ill will towards the person who did the typing – it was my fault for not insisting that it should have been typed up as evince.)

Calling somebody a pedant as though it is a bad thing. I admit to pedantry, on one of its meanings: precision in teaching or knowledge. It is important to get facts correct. But people are accused of being pedants (originally just a male schoolteacher) by those who do not value knowledge; or who don’t like having their mistakes corrected.

I think that is enough petty hatred for one week.


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