Sunday, April 2, 2017

Writing for the Pulp Houses: Wonder Stories

This week's advice comes from Hugo Gernsback, the first editor of a magazine devoted exclusively to science fiction. In the June 1932 edition of Writer's Digest, he lists a number of editorial pet peeves. While most of these focus solely upon the submissions process and the failure of writers to pay attention to the guidelines, one of his pet peeves might be of use for the practicing writer:
Why do so many authors like to interject foreign language words into manuscripts when they do not know the language themselves? Very often, authors will use a dictionary and, as often as not, get the wrong meaning. The other day the office had a good laugh when one of our best authors sent in a manuscript in which he wanted to use the word "underworld" but, bethinking himself of a happier idea, he used the word "demimonde."  We receive manuscripts of this sort right along, and my advice to authors who are not well acquainted with foreign languages is, use English.
This advice is also useful with English itself, as meaning mismatches are no less common in the mother tongue, especially one known for "pursuing other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

No comments:

Post a Comment