The word for the day is outre. Life is so much more interesting when you show your kooky, quirky and wacky side.
See what I mean? Such a classy word, but when have I used it lately?
So borrowing from her, today my blog post shall be a Word of the Day that will showcase my kooky, quirky and wacky side, well at least outre enough to go along with an online tool I just discovered, Google Ngram Viewer. (Hi Joyce, thanks for the link to this!) This new tool will be a great resource for me as a writer of period pieces to make sure my word selections match the era.
My selection shall be piccolo. Sounds familiar, a flute-like musical instrument, right? This word came up last week during an interview about my current project when the person I was talking with said she put money in the piccolo at the skating rink. We're talking early 1940's. Coin operated. I must have made a squishy face because she felt the need to explain it to me. It was a jukebox, the original brand name for jukebox, as in "Here's a nickel, put another song on the Piccolo."
|Source: Musikbox Treff Arietta Jukebox|
Piccolo, sure enough, was on the charts from the beginning of their research target, 1800, but aha, peaking in 1937. (Takes a couple years to get to the backwoods of the Carolinas, so 1941 of my manuscript would fit the time frame.) Jukebox beginning in 1937, peaking in 2002. Interesting. I searched but didn't spend time to find when the two intersected. Instead I turned to another tool, my favorite because of its homepage picture of the day, Bing, and there it was, Piccolo, a jukebox. Bingo.
Word usage changes and authors must keep on their toes. I found that to be true often during my Pilot Mountain project as words that were commonly used in the forties and fifties had no connection to today. Anybody played with a mollypop lately? A taw?
Today I was going to post about a term writers use, pantsing, as in "Which writing technique works best for you, plotting or pantsing, outlining or writing by the seat of your pants?" But when I used ngram and checked the many usages of pantsing, I decided I would find a much tamer word. You are welcome to explore that one on your own. https://books.google.com/ngrams
Catch of the day,