Monday, 8 November 2010


As I revise my 11+ SF/supernatural thriller, I find I’m using the search and replace function to eradicate certain words, or at least limit them, as part of changing the tone of the story under editorial guidance. Since at some level this action is driven by the current market, I thought it would be interesting to display the corpses of those words here, as a warning to others. So here’s the gibbet:

Paranormal (dead)

Psychic (mostly dead)

Agency (very dead, along with all ‘agents’)

Department (dead, along with ‘government/al’)

Spy (mostly dead, though there are still two left in the field)

I’m actually queasy with embarrassment seeing these words listed here, because they suggest my book is about something it’s not. So it’s just as well they are gone. Words favoured and promoted as part of the same change are: spectral, ghostly, dreamwalker, dreamself, Metascape and Somnarium. I like these words.


  1. Interesting! And, yes, I do like the second list of words much more, especially "dreamwalker", which is a great word and which also tells us quite a lot about your book is about ...

  2. I have a scientific lab called "The Facility" in my book and I deliberately chose a name like that because it actually turns out to be a wholly ramshackle affair when the characters finally get there. But it does sound rather clichéd and it turns out that Being Human also had a lab called The Facility in their last series. I'm just not quite sure what to change it to...

  3. I would very much like to have a Somnarium...

  4. Thanks, Simon. I'm pleased to hear you say that because you really do know what the book is about.

    Hi, Nick. I think shadowy governmental involvement in paranormal activity got done to death back in the 90s with the X-files. But the fact is, fashion aside, if supernatural goings-on actually took place, you can bet that that governments would get involved in shadowy ways. Finding names for these things that aren't cheesy is perhaps the hardest part.

    Mum, get a grip! I'll send dome pills:)

  5. I like the second set of words better, too.

    Revising sounds like fun. No, really:)


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