Saturday, November 11, 2006

Victoria Strauss -- A Small, Well-Mannered Rant

Today I want to talk about something that has been bugging me...well, pretty much since Writer Beware was founded.

Ann, I, and several others who prefer to remain nameless are volunteer staff members of WRITER BEWARE. Not the most inventive or exciting name, perhaps--but simple and descriptive and our own. Note that there are no plurals or possessives. There's a functional, attractive space between Writer and Beware. The W and the B are capitalized, and the rest is in lower case.

You wouldn't think there'd be much margin for error, would you? Nevertheless, people get it wrong. A lot. For instance...

- Writers Beware (this is an understandable mistake, since our warnings are aimed at all writers. However, we wanted our name to be declarative. Hey! You over there! Writer! Beware!)

- Writer's Beware (a manifestation of the misplaced aspostrophe disease which seems to afflict so many people. Think about it. Which writer does Beware belong to?)

- Writer Bewares (this kinda sorta makes sense, I guess, since there are lots of Bewares. However, it's clunky and awkward--and it's a noun. Our name is meant to suggest the general action of Beware-ing.)

- Writer BEWARE (Ann and I are much too ladylike to shout. OK, you can stop laughing now.)

- WriterBeware (this is our URL, not our name.)

- writerbeware (the discount version of the above. What, we don't deserve capital letters?)

- WritersBeware (this is neither our URL nor our name. It is, unfortunately, the URL of one of those ad sites that hijack people who mis-type the names of legitimate sites. Check out the first listing.)

- Author Beware (what's the difference between an author and a writer? Publication? State of mind? Level of income? We'd rather not get into that controversy. "Writer" is more inclusive, anyway.)

So please, folks, get it right. It's Beware. Writer Beware.

So endeth the lesson.

12 comments:

Matt D said...

I always thought it was "Writer? Beware!"

Dave Kuzminski said...

Don't feel bad. Some even manage to refer to P&E as Editors & Preditors along with several misspellings and the occasional deliberate diversion to one of those.

Hopefully, I haven't written WB's name wrong on too many occasions myself.

BuffySquirrel said...

JK Rowling is possibly the biggest household name of any writer right now, and even she can't get her name spelt right by her fanbase much of the time. There's no hope!

Dave Kuzminski said...

Shaken, not stirred, right, Victoria? ;)

Victoria Strauss said...

Absolutely, Dave!

Sam said...

You didn't list Writer Bee Wear - famous for its togs for author bees!

:-)

WWWWolf said...

Yes! Observe how well articulated and obvious the spaces are when read aloud.

=)

Sam said...

So, "Beware Writer!" is out, eh? ;-)

BuffySquirrel said...

The Beware Writer! page is for agents and editors, and has a secret password. Very secret!

Killer Yapp said...

Right Hair Be Where? a question I ask every day

Anonymous said...

It is so nice to see somebody else rant about stuff like this. I feel so alone sometimes. Poor abused apostrophes...

Janet

Anonymous said...

If you guys are such great writers, why do you need to worry? You probably work with just the best publishers like Scribners and Random House. It's just interesting how people on the bottom of an industry always lament the bottom feeders (you are the reason they are there). My two cents, that's all.