I like going down the rabbit hole of etymology of writing terms. Some terms are hard to pin down. Here are three of my favourites, and if you can enlighten me further I would be most grateful.
The Easter Egg
An Easter egg in a game or video is a hidden or secret feature, often for the amusement of the creators rather than the users/audience. Wikipedia states that “The use of the term “Easter egg” to describe secret features in video games originates from the 1980 video game Adventure for the Atari 2600 game console, programmed by employee Warren Robinett.” HOWEVER! In the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the crew and cast had an Easter Egg hunt on the sets, and eggs turned up during filming. I would suggest that – since the movie was released in 1975 – that Robinett may have been a fan of the musical and this inspired the name.
Jumping the Shark
The origin of this term is straight from an episode of Happy Days, the television series, when Fonzi feels the need to prove his courage by jumping a shark. ‘Jumping the shark’ is when a show starts doing ridiculous storylines in an attempt to stop haemorrhaging viewers; it usually means the show is about to be cancelled. Often, it is these bizarre storylines that deliver the death blow.
Lampshading is a way of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the verisimilitude of a narrative or television show or movie, and interferes with the audience’s suspension of belief. Lampshading is calling attention to the very implausible plot development, or overused stereotype or tired cliché, by highlighting it. By pointing out the issue, the writer hopes to turn it into a in-joke with the audience, rather than an example of lazy writing. So where did the term come from? My research couldn’t turn up a straightforward answer. It seems to have its murky origins in vaudeville, where it was a common comedic ruse for a character to hide by sticking a lampshade on their head.
Frenetic, frantic, frenzy…
Glimmer, gleam, glitter, glisten, glow…
I am currently in the middle of editing my Steampunk narrative. I have become obsessed with using the right word.
My last few posts have been of a serious nature. I think it is time to take a breath, sit back, and assess how this blog is doing. I started this blog when I noticed I was writing a lot of notes on my personal Facebook site, and decided it was time to take things to the next level. As you might have guessed from the name, it was to be an outlet for my passion for both writing and for Steampunk. From that point of view, the blog has achieved everything I set out to do.
I use this blog as the warm up for my day’s writing. It is a place to share the research I am doing for my Steampunk novel …so that even if the research never appears in the novel, it isn’t ‘wasted’. It gives me a feeling of connection to the writing and the Steampunk communities. I really enjoy the comments from other people, and this has motivated me to comment more on other blogs. I was kind of a ‘lurker’ for a while. These were advantages I hadn’t counted on when I started this blog.
I know that a lot of writers use their blogs as marketing tools, but that was never my ambition for this blog. I want to entertain and educate. When I do start my website as an author, this blog has given me some strong opinions as to how it will look. It won’t be a full-on marketing tool. Rather, it will act as a fun site to broaden and deepen my audience’s connection to my books and stories. It will be an interactive site, allowing for comments and suggestions and the posting of fanfic and fanart. (Am I the only writer in the world who longs to have other people writing fanfiction and making art about my characters and worlds?) The marketing will be an option, not the main goal.
I find this blog is a greater resource for my own personal growth than I ever expected. And I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for coming along on my journey so far.