Sign of the times

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Bufty

Where have the last ten years gone?
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My grandchildren are currently reading one of my novels written fifteen years ago. One of the main characters- a dragon - makes his entrance as follows:-

Jason peered into the pool. Shiny bubbles spiralled up from a black dot in the depths. Clusters of the bubbles floated on the surface. Others rose in the air. As they burst against his face, the spray from their wet 'pops' tickled his nose. “That black dot’s growing, isn’t it?”

The black dot hurtled upwards. Now the size of a football – a medicine ball – larger ….

Kingsley glanced up then continued to study his nose-hair, mumbling to himself. “Hmmm. I don’t remember seeing a pool before. I’m sure I would have noticed a pool. I’m sure I would. It can’t have been there last time I looked.”

The pool frothed in a fountain of bubbles.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” A masked, green dragon in a canary yellow waistcoat and clutching a black leather bag rocketed out of the pool, gyrated wildly on top of the bubbles, then spun off, landing in a spluttering heap on the floor.

The bag flew open, spilling out a variety of tools and a jewel-encrusted leather belt. The dragon staggered to its feet, stumbled over its tail and blundered into the wall. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I’ve gone blind!”

Jason gulped. “Your mask’s the wrong way round.”

“Who said that? What? Ah! Oh, that’s better.” Eyes like tennis balls peeked through the mask eyeholes and glanced quickly around. At sight of the troll, the dragon heaved a sigh of resignation. “Ah, well, c’est la vie.”

And my nine-year-old granddaughter's and eleven-year old grandson's (my avatar) reaction at that point as told by my daughter-in-law -

'The mask that Drango was wearing on his entrance was interpreted by both children as the types of masks they made last week, covering the nose and mouth only. They’re now worn by practically everyone they see walking past our house at the moment! It temporarily confused them, when he had it on backwards and it covered his eyes; when he twisted it round, his mask had eye holes? How did that work? And if he was wearing one, he probably shouldn’t have taken it off when he was beside strangers not from his family, even if he was 2 meters away.

Gosh, isn’t life bizarre – who could possibly have predicted that in the feedback, when you wrote this? But that was quickly ironed out, and obviously it isn’t a problem as far as any editing goes - once this pandemic dies down, it hopefully won’t ever be an issue again.'

Bizarre, indeed :Shrug:
 

Sonya Heaney

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I taught children, in a few countries, for several years in the mid-2000s, and they definitely had a VERY different, post-9/11, internet-era take on everything around them that startled me a lot. What seems old to a child is last week to us. :roll:
 

spoonlamp

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This is an excellent lesson in the way certain words can have their regular meaning so quickly changed. The most obvious one that springs to mind is the use of the word "gay" which completely transformed at the beginning of the 60's. With the advent of the "digital age" and the world wide internets, I'm sure there are now countless other examples which change so fast we don't even notice.
 

Maryn

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Oh, this is quite a nice little story illustrating how language shifts with changing times. And I am, of course, reminded of the widely shared photograph of a guy on a plane who'd moved the (mandatory?) face mask over his eyes to sleep.

Maryn, who'd like a dragon in a waistcoat, please
 

t0dd

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This is more about situations (particularly political) than language, but the discussion here reminded me of when I read E. Nesbit's "The Railway Children", in which the children's father was framed by an envious co-worker of spying for the Russians (which leads to their moving to the country and triggers their adventures). The book was set in the early years of the 20th century, near the end of the Tsarist period, but I've wondered whether later generations of readers must have thought of Cold War-era espionage over that accusation part.
 

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