Friday, February 18, 2011

Around the Word

Today on the BloGG, we're looking at biased writers, Broadway writers, and writers with a "bajillion" things to say.

Is writing objectively possible? According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff, the answer is a resounding no--and it's not because writers aren't trying. Rather, he tells, it's because language itself is inherently biased. "If you study the way the brain processes language, every word is defined with respect to frames. You’re framing all the time.” Lakoff advocates that writers ditch the traditional standards of objectivity, balance, and "the center," and instead acknowledge--and investivate--how morality-laden terms work in public discourse. While his prescriptives are targeted specifically at journalists, his challenge extends to anyone writing thoughtful prose about policy. Take a look and let us know how Lakoff's views jibe with your process?

Some projects in trouble need a ghost. Others need a superhero. According to The New York Times, the production team behind the much-maligned Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is hoping to enlist writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to rescue the troubled show. If anyone's qualified, it just might be Aguirre-Sacasa--in addition to being a playwright, he has written a number of Spider-Man stories for Marvel Comics. So far no agreement has been finalized. On his behalf, we turn to those of you who've book-doctored flailing manuscripts: any advice when signing onto a project in trouble?

With about a jillion of the craziest wordy-whatsits in his arsenal, Mark Peters writes about “The Joy of Indefinite Words.” From creative quantitative measures like “metric butt-load” to 1930s slang terms like “hoofenpoofer” and “doo-whanger,” Peters contends that these “vague yet strangely vivid words are virtuosic testimony to our endless creative potential.” Just be sure not to ask your publisher for a spillion-dollar advance on your bookamajig.


Alice G said...

Rescuing a flailing project requires one essential item: permission. The purported rescuer must have the full buy-in of those in charge: full permission to change anything and everything. That may be too scary for some, but if you don't trust your editor, why did you bring him on board? You have to trust that he'll keep the essentials and throw out the rest. Tiptoeing around with baby edits and minor shifts that save egos will only end the project back where it started - with a mess to clean up.

Gotham Ghostwriters said...

Thanks, Alice! We hope Taymor & team are reading...