If You’re Gonna Write It, Know It!

Authors, one of the most important things you owe your readers is to be unimpeachable. That’s shorthand for know what you’re talking about. If you make a mistake, you’ll lose the reader’s trust. If you lose their trust, you may find your book skittering against the walls, removing the paint. 

That’s a bad thing.

And really, there’s just no excuse. You have the time to research everything that goes between the pages. Why take shortcuts? 

Something that I see a lot of – and it drives me nuts – is the author insisting on calling the thingy that holds bullets to a guy a “clip.” For the love of all that’s holy; it’s NOT a “clip.” It’s a “magazine.” 

Sure, it’s a small thing to you, but it’s tantamount to admitting you’re bantha fodder to a reader with a knowledge of guns. Don’t be bantha fodder. Or a nerd herder, for that matter.

One Response to If You’re Gonna Write It, Know It!

  1. Frank Mazur says:

    Yes and No on this one. While ‘magazine’ is technically correct, ‘clip’ has been used, however improperly, in its place for decades and by many who know guns well and use them often. Even checking my 7th edition Merriam-Webster (1970 pub. date) reveals a definition for ‘clip’ that begins ‘a magazine for….’ Thus, if one is creating a fictional character, the author might want to question which word would be the better fit. I wonder if ‘clip’ came into use, not because of a confusion with an actual ammunition clip, but because the magazine soundly ‘clips’ into the weapon upon insertion.

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