Friday, 14 June 2013

TO ‘E’ OR NOT TO ‘E

TO ‘E’ OR NOT TO ‘E

Now as a writer I’m about to make a confession. I am a horrible speller, not a very desirable trait in a person that has aspirations to be a writer. Ever since I can remember starting to read and write, nearly 55 years ago spelling has been a profound challenge for me. For many years a good dictionary was one of my best friends, so the creation of spell check is a true blessing!

Where am I going with this post? Well, when I started my second novel I had several titles in mind and as the book progressed one title just seemed perfect.

REBELS AND DESPERADOES

Short, simple, descriptive and it really summed up the story line well. Now when I had the cover produced and I showed it to friends, family and acquaintances - their first reaction wasn't wow, great cover, it was - hey you spelled DESPERADOES wrong!!!  Virtually everyone that saw it thought it should be spelled without the E, as DESPERADO.

OK, I’m not stupid and I checked several online dictionaries, pulled out my old book version. In every case it was correct to spell DESPERADOES with an E or without the E, it’s sort of a tomato- tomatoes sort of word, and either spelling was perfectly acceptable. I even went as far as asking my father Captain Stuart (a walking dictionary) if my spelling choice was correct, and after a long discussion - he agreed DESPERADOES was an acceptable version of the plural of desperado.

So to further delve into this challenging word I posed this question to the WRITERS HANGOUT GROUP on Linkedin. Several members responded and concurred that either was correct, however one Spanish writer pointed out that the word desperado is of Spanish origin and in Spanish the plural is spelled without the E.

But the most pertinent comment was that it didn't matter what was correct, it’s what’s perceived to be correct.  There cannot be a spelling error on the cover, no matter what!

So what it comes down to in the end is that it rally doesn't matter what I believe is the correct spelling, or what I prefer. What’s crucial is what do potential readers think is correct. If they see the book’s cover and immediately say, hmm - is that a spelling mistake, then - yes it’s a spelling mistake. It doesn't matter in any way shape or fashion that I know it’s correct, if they see it as a spelling error, that it’s an error.

Therefore, the title will be:   REBELS AND DESPERADOS

I’d be remiss if I didn't credit the bard- William Shakespeare for inspiring the title of this blog post.
But: ‘Would a desperado without the E be just as desperate?’


  Sorry, but I just couldn't resist!