Writing

204 – Bad Wordcraft Devices

The Mythcreant Podcast
Since we’re lucky enough to have Ariel in the studio once again, we’ve decided to take a deep dive into common wordcraft mistakes. There’s no plot or character analysis here, just the words and punctuation on the page. Mostly, it’s how those words and punctuation marks are used poorly. We discuss rhyming names, the prevalence of exclamation points, and POVs that make no sense. Also, what happens when you name something without describing it. Spoilers: it confuses the reader.

Download Episode 204 Subscription Feed 

Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Goblin Emperor

I Am Number Four

Discworld Death

His Dark Materials

Harry Potter

Twilight vs 50 Shades

Eragon

The Awakening

The Blade Itself

Spell for Chameleon

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Comments

  1. N

    Would it be possible to have transcripts for these podcasts, even rough approximations of transcripts? I have trouble paying attention to audio, so unfortunately I’ve never managed to finish any of these, as interesting as they are. Text would be much easier for me to handle. I’m sorry if I’m asking too much

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Transcripts are something we’ve been looking at, unfortunately the services for creating them cost money we don’t have at the moment. It’s something we’ll keep our eye on for the future.

      • N

        Oh, okay!

  2. Lizzie

    Hey, not sure if this is just my laptop, but when I press play the audio is that of the previous episode. I’ve tried refreshing the page, but it’s not fixing it. Not sure if this is happening for everybody but I thought I’d let you know!

  3. Paul Jonathan Drury

    The seems to be the previous episode on writing female characters.

  4. Razr39325

    The link seems to be broken. I can’t download the podcast.

  5. Annie Nk

    I am Nigerian, because of naming conventions across quite a lot of the tribes alliterative names are pretty common. I would find it weird to have that suggested as something I would need to change in my writing because it didn’t read properly even if I was using created names because it’s pretty natural to me. I am sure that it’s something that occurs in other cultures, especially ones where surnames are given based on the first names of parents or grandparents and those aren’t necessarily just non western. So I think it’s just something you should be aware of when suggesting it as ‘bad wordcraft’.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      That’s good to know, thanks for the information! Crossing language barriers is always gonna create some unusual situations, even between something as similar as American English and British English, but names can be especially sensitive so it behooves us to learn as much as we can.

  6. P. R. Bunke

    I always thought of “daemon” in the same vein as “faerie.” It’s a tone thing more than anything else–creating a kind of otherworldly feeling for the story, making the words have an unusual flavor. It sounds all, for lack of a better word, steampunk. By the time I was a kid reading Philip Pullman I guess I’d seen the “ae” being used in other words that were pronounced with a long E (Aether? That kind of thing?) so it didn’t seem unusual to me. But that might not be the beeeest practice since it can be confusing.

    Regarding em dashes, based on the way I’ve seen them used often (especially in YA, contemporary romance, etc) I like to think of them less as just like parentheses and more as an extended pause. Thinking about it that way, the em dash is a long pause that can be used in the same space that you might use a period, a semicolon, OR a colon, and on top of that it also serves to add a longer pause than a comma in a place where none of the other punctuation marks would really be appropriate. It can join two independent clauses or put spaces into a sentence that you want to draw out in spots that other punctuation doesn’t make sense. So I am definitely on Ariel’s delicious em dash train–though when I was writing in high school I made a rule for myself that I could only have one per paragraph, because they CAN get overused quickly.

    “Readers use the amount of description to judge how important a thing is to the story.” This line is a very useful clarification of something that should be obvious but isn’t… I need it on a quote somewhere, heh.

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