Saturday, 26 March 2016

Kitchen Wolves, and what do we call chairs?

While editing Omega Blues this week, I got caught up on a tiny detail: What do I call the bar that joins chair legs? In the story, I have a wolf climbing onto a chair slowly. I described the wolf standing on the chair's 'rung' and then wondered... ladders have rungs, but what do chairs have?
Image from Visual Dictionary Online
In this picture, Visual Dictionary Online call the 'rung' part a spindle. Other places on the internet label it as a stretcher or spacer or, on circular chairs, a foot ring. My woodworking experience makes me lean towards 'spacer,' but what does it matter if no one's going to understand what I'm talking about?

With words like this, there's a balance to strike between what's technically accurate and what readers will understand. None of these words turn up in the Wikipedia article on chairs, and chairs aren't high on the search results when you google them, so I have to assume they're not in common usage and, even worse, they might confuse readers and drag them out of the flow of the story.

For the sake of making the story easy to read (in a tense moment with a wolf in the kitchen and climbing closer, every sentence is precious!) I defaulted to 'foot rest' which I think is a happy medium between accurate and easy to understand.

Of course, now that I've crawled this far down the rabbit hole of furniture names, I should talk to a carpenter about the (American) technical term and drop a reference to it earlier in the chapter: "I'd seen Will making these chairs, shaping the legs on a lathe and fitting the whojiwhatsit bar between them," to lead seamlessly to "The wolf put a paw on the whojiwhatsit of my chair." Sort of a Chekhov's spacer bar. Or perhaps I could run a quiz for my readers and see what the average Omega Blues fan calls that part of a chair—not necessarily technically accurate, but at least most people would know what I'm talking about.

But this is the sort of small detail that I get caught up in, and the reason it took me two and a half years to edit my last novel. The whole point of making Omega Blues a serial story was to hold myself accountable: I have to get a chapter edited every week, whether or not I know the correct or common word for a chair's rung.

With that out of the way, here's the link to the new chapter of my m/m werewolf romance, Omega Blues on free serial-fiction site Wattpad! This chapter is called Kitchen Wolves and has—whoa!—wolves turning up in the kitchen.

Omega Blues is a free serial story, with a new chapter uploaded every week. So you can read it as it's uploaded and enjoy the thrill of waiting (like with oldschool TV shows) or you can wait until it's finished and read the whole novel at once!

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