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  1. #1
    Chris Chamberlain

    Help With A Cool Acronym?

    Oh God, I’m back.

    Couple of small, and therefore irritating points I’m stuck on with my children’s writing, aimed at the nine-to-fourteen age bracket.

    I’m suffering complete creativity fatigue as regards the name of a military intelligence unit my boy hero and girl heroine have been recruited into. For the moment it’s called ‘Ceewoo’ or CWU, the initials for the Clandestine Warfare Unit. But I’m much rather it spelled something alluring and sinister and otherwise cool: like ‘Psychlops’ as I think our ( the UK’s) psychological operations outfit is known. Something James Bondish would do, if it’s not too corny to embarrass the children.

    If at all possible I’d like to avoid associations with the Classical and Romance languages and culture in favour of something Anglo-Saxon-looking, if that makes sense. But please don’t think I’m fussy as it’s rather the point that I’m getting a wee bit desperate.

    Thought I’d have had an inspiration by now and this provisional term ‘Ceewoo’ is beginning to dig itself a rut …

    One other thing whist I’m about it: can anybody think of what else to call an errand rider, in the context of early tenth century England? Again I’m calling them that to be going on with, but readers are bound to think I’m just copying Tolkien. Of course you could say Professor Tolkien merely hit upon a common sense way to call a rider of errands so it’s not derivative, just a bit of sense. But nobody’ll give you credit for that, but I’m strapped for a clue as to what else you’d call ‘em.

    I should be glad of the merest hint…

  2. #2
    Florencia Mazza

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?


    I came up against a similar problem in seeking an acronym for a covert operation my characters were dodging. Here's some ways I found to move forward. (Maybe you've already tried them, but I'm hoping they may be helpful to help you find your way back from the fatigue).

    I did two searches: CIA declassified documents and Greek mythology. Both landed some beginnings that spurred me on to find what I was seeking. Greek mythology lends itself well to Shakespeare and you may find an Anglo-Saxon reference from that.

    Another thing I found was that actual historical references are familiar already. Can you possibly tie your reference into a recognizable operation? I did with my references to Project MONARCH. I tied in the dates, keyed in on what practices were used and applied them to my character. This could work with your Psychlops reference if the dates work. If not, it's a stretch. Another great alternative for psychological operations lies in Nazi practices. They had many "Mind Kontrolle" practices. It also prepares you to understand exactly how they approached the operations and who was involved.

    Good luck to you!

  3. #3
    Denis Bonner

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    My WIP is full of acronyms. One I wanted to create for a particular maching was quite impossible but I finally managed to find one that worked backwards. ETAF - after that it was just a matter of pointing out how hopeless an acronym this was until someone turned it back to front. So I finished up with the FATE machine. Hopefully this will save it from being too corny,

    Keep trying. It will come.

  4. #4
    Hanuman Kavidevi

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    What about something like VJO ("vis juvenis occultus"); i.e., "Hidden Youth Forces"? Since few would know Latin syntax, you could possibly switch the letters to "JOV" or whatever so your characters could pronounce it in a fun way for them.

    I got the Latin words from: http://www.sunsite.ubc.ca/LatinDictionary/

    If you use it, be sure to hit the return ("enter") key after you choose your desired word and click on "English" in the top of the blue box. They left out that instruction, and I finally decided to try it after sitting there waiting for a result.

  5. #5
    Joe Zeff

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    Alas, those of us who do know Latin would know that it should be vis occultus juvenis because that's the proper word order.

  6. #6
    Stephen Moorhouse

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    How about:
    C overt
    O pperations
    W arfare
    A nd
    R ecruitement
    D ivision?

  7. #7
    Florencia Mazza

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    I second Joe Zeff's comments. A person wouldn't necessarily have to only know Latin to determine that. Latin has provided the foundation for the grammatical structure of other languages as well. Someone familiar with German, Italian, Spanish, French and most other languages would sense the oddness of that grammatical structure.

    While you may feel you are directing your work towards an English-speaking audience, keep in mind that today many people who read English also enjoy the ability to speak other languages. Changing grammatical structure in other languages probably isn't a wise thing to do if you want to be taken seriously.

  8. #8
    Anthony Ravenscroft

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    Not so many years ago, I would've said that any Evil Conspiracy that puts efforts into catchy acronyms is probably not much threat against the Forces of Goodness, except maybe in "James Bond" & slightly wacky science-fiction.

    Then we got a presidential Administration that gave us Operation Iraqi Liberation, & USA-PATRIOT (most folks don't know it's an acronym...).

    So, maybe you folks are onto something -- anyone else think Cheney would make a good Blofeld-type character? Or would Rove be better?

  9. #9
    Joe Zeff

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?

    Stephen, that's a great mynorca. That's the late Dan Alderson's term for a "reverse acronym." That is, you come up with what you want it to spell, then craft a phrase to fit.

  10. #10
    Florencia Mazza

    Re: Help With A Cool Acronym?


    I was thinking this regime fit more under the label of cliché. I keep having this feeling of something I've seen before a dozen times in so many other fascist regimes.

    I must confess though, your analogy and acronym do make sense.

    I keep wondering when Paraguay will call for this "leader," because after the death of Stroessner, they certainly must be raising their fists in the air and cursing for lack of adequate goose-stepping fellowship. After all, the helicopters are grounded and there are still so many people to to be thrown to their death, once the SS mentality determines they are not "good, patriotic citizens."

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