I’m an actor. This means that I hear everything in my head like it’s dialogue meant to be said on stage. I have made my poor husband read my book aloud to me going on three times now just to make sure everything sounds right. Some may call this being compulsive, but it makes it easier for me to understand the rhythm to make sure that every word fits. And yes I know, my husband deserves the “best husband in the whole world” award for the rest of his life just for putting up with me during this crazy editing process, and always, really, but that’s a matter for another day.
While reading through the book this time around, I got hung up on the word shard. Shard is a perfectly good word. It’s descriptive. You know it means something jagged with the implication of dangerous. It’s very useful, but the kid in me keeps giggling at how close shard is to the slang term shart. For those of you who don’t know what shart means, please click here.
I asked my husband if I should change the word to keep my young adult readers from giggling like oh so mature me, and his response was, “No, I don’t think so. J.K. Rowling says shart in her book.”
My immediate response was “WHAT!?”
My husband is a huge Harry Potter fan. We’ve both read the books, and on our many cross-country trips, we listen to the books on tape. I firmly believe that Harry Potter books on tape saved my marriage. If we had to drive through Texas without it, one of us would end up dead.
My husband thought in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it went, “Dudley learned a new word today: shart.” It’s shan’t. Dudley learns the word shan’t, which, with the confusion of the British accent, my husband misheard for years as shart.
I have decided to leave the word shard in my book. Partially because I don’t think the word should be blamed for its unfortunate similarity to a term for pooing ones pants. A little bit because sharting is funny. And mostly because words will be misread, and you can’t win them all.