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17 December 2010 @ 01:51 pm

It's a cool sort of authorial wankery, I think, to write a series of stories in which you use one word at least once in every story.  The problem, though, August Derleth, is that batrachian is not a word that really . . . fits in with any other words.  Even when your diction is fairly ornate and your tone is fairly formal, batrachian really jumps out and strangles its readers.

But not in the way you want.  When you're writing a collection of monster stories that all hint at a single, horrifying conclusion, I can see how you might be tempted to use a uniform tone, but, since I'm pretty good at vocabulary and still had to look up the word batrachian, I somehow doubt that every single one of the narrators in 20 freaking stories saw the horrifying apparitions which for the rest of their lives would haunt their restless sleep and felt BATRACHIAN! spring immediately and irreversibly to the forefronts of their minds.  

Because batrachian is not a very horrifying word.  In fact, after it shows up in eight or nine stories in a row, it starts to get pretty funny. 

I don't fault you for the idea, of course.  A person with great, lantern-like eyes and no chin and a rubbery, downturned mouth, and gills, really is rather disturbing.  But you could have described them as " froglike" or "reminiscent of a toad" or "distinctly amphibian," and it would have been decently creepy without sounding comically, ostentatiously delicate about the whole thing.

Also? frogs and toads don't have gills.  Just sayin'.