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minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Jan 22 15:33:28 EST 2004


widdy wrote in reply to my sortes:

>Not quite . . .
>It's not that a concept is repeated like that. That's . ..  ok . . .
>it's that a fairly basic word is used twice within two sentences when
>it would have been just as easy and accurate and more . . . stylish . .
>. to rephrase the second sentence. Sparked a "She really needs a better
>editor" response in me.
>
>I don't have time right this second to find a specific example, but
>I'll take a look this evening.

Would "...behind them a crude sort of statue; a gigantic merperson hewn
from a boulder.  Four people were bound to the tail of the stone
merperson." be such an example?  Just taking "merperson" as a word, rather
than as a concept?

I can't imagine that in a DWJ book, let's put it that way.

It is alsoan example of my own minor peeve, just from the five pages I
scanned: poor use of the semi-colon.  (In fact, when I was transcribing it
just then I put a colon automatically, and had to "correct" it to the
text.)

On p.438

"Harry had the impression that Krum was drawing her attention back onto
himself; perhaps to remind her that he had just rescued her from the lake,
but Hermione pushed the beetle away impatiently and said, 'You're well
outside the time-limit, though, Harry ... Did it take you ages to find
us?'"

Why a semi-colon after "himself"?  I would have said it made the sentence
actively wrong, and a comma would do the job there.  If it were after
"lake" it would be less wrong (though purists wouldn't like a semi-colon
before a conjunction).

These aren't the only examples; just above on the same page we have:

"He was the only judge who had not left the table; the only judge not
showing signs of pleasure and relief that Harry, Ron and Fleur's sister had
got back safely."

Why a semi-colon after "table" rather than a comma?


Such punctuation is surely the business of a proof-reader, even if a
copy-editor doesn't pick it up?

I'd have to agree with lizzie:

>Rowling, too, is not strongest as a technically perfect writer.

on that showing.  Presumably the story makes up for it.

Incidentally, on another list I frequent somebody has just pointed out a
nasty pedagogue by the name of Snape and a housekeeper called Mrs Flitwick,
as well as a married couple called Dursley, in the work of Georgette Heyer,
as bearing the same names as characters in Rowling's work.  Someone who has
read both: is this characters who are similar in behaviour as well as in
name, or is it just that Rowling, like Heyer, uses place-names as surnames?
Heyer does it almost all the time.

Minnow


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