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Creative Typos

By David Flin

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I have a guilty pleasure. It doesn’t harm anyone, I hasten to add, but it’s not something I’m proud of.


I refer, of course, to what I refer to as creative typos.


We’ve all done it. We’ve used a similar word to the one we intended, creating a different meaning. We’ve misspelt a word, and the misspelling creates a word with a different meaning. The result is usually nonsensical and easily corrected. Sometimes, however, they can be truly creative.


They can be amusing and they can also inspire examples. Oh, you want examples. I thought you’d never ask.



This is one that always amuses me. I sometimes read where an author describes an army “having high moral”, which always brings to my mind an image of soldiers devoted to wholesome, law-abiding activities, they are scrupulously honest and fair-minded, and to be led astray into immoral behaviour. I picture soldiers preparing for battle by refraining from strong drink, turning down licentious offers from young ladies, and engaging in spiritually uplifting activities.


As you might imagine, this is not always the case.


“Moral was high as the army prepared to advance.” It cracks me up every single time.

Absolution being given before a big push in WWI. Moral is probably higher than morale at this point.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


A Night of the Round Table. A simple misspelling of a title, and ideas flood forth. It could be a romance – of various possible styles. It could be a ghost story, or an eve of battle piece, or dozens of other possibilities.


One can play around with ideas arising from “the Night Knight.” Sir Gawaine, according to some sources, had his strength increase as the sun rose, reaching his peak strength at noon. The Night Knight could easily be something like that, but in reverse; one whose strength increases as daylight decreases.



You can have funs with ideas here. I’m reasonably confident Watership Down owes its origin to Richard Adams having had a hare cut.


Of course, one can then play around with Richard Adams and Douglas Adams, famous for Watership Down and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy respectively. Confusing those two could lead to some interesting ideas.



We all remember that classic film Watch on the Rhine. Twist that slightly, and see what ideas flow from Witch on the Rhine. There’s the obvious one of a coven of magicians leading an underground resistance to the Germans during WW2. Alternatively, it could be that the witch in question is one or more of the three Rhine maidens, Woglinde, Wellgunde, or Flosshilde. Or maybe the Witch is the name of one of the Rhine barges on its way to England during Operation Sealion.



I saw this once in a film guide, where the advert was for a film called The Gnus of Navarone. I was very disappointed when the film didn’t involve a single gnu. Would it have been so hard to have had a Nazi breeding programme for offensive animals? Perhaps I should write a story about Allied Gnu Commandos.


Then again, I’d also like to write a story entitled The Gnu Fight at the OK Corral.



You will understand my confusion when I was attending a conference, I saw a sign at a remarkably upmarket hotel that was offering what it described as: “Afternoon Tease”. The possibilities that ran through my mind were endless.


Unfortunately, I had to attend the conference, so I never got to find out anything more about exactly what was being offered.


Which is probably just as well.



I’ve recently edited some work which talked about an old SF spaceship concept of “faster-than-life” drive.



There is a difference. Look them up if you’re not sure. When you read in an SF novel about how if a planet’s libido is increased, it becomes more visible, well, it takes a particularly unimaginative person not to imagine unfortunate images resulting from that phrase.



The whole point of little pieces of inspiration (or, if you prefer, little peaces of inspiration) is to get the creative juices (deuces) flowing. They won’t give you a complete story; just little hints for ideas that can give you a new angle (angel) on things.


It’s quite (quiet) simple really (rally).




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David Flin has written a number of books, including:





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