An Etymology prompt by David Swann

Here’s the second prompt in our series from award winning writer and senior university lecturer, David Swann, based on the definition in the frontispiece of his prize-winning novella-in-flash, Season of Bright Sorrow
We’ve quoted the definition here:

‘derelict (adj.) 1640s, “left, abandoned by the owner or guardian,”
from Latin derelictus “solitary, deserted,”… “leave behind,
forsake, abandon, give up,”… Originally especially of vessels
abandoned at sea or stranded on shore. Of persona, “unfaithful,
neglectful of responsibility,” by 1864.’ — Online Etymology
Dictionary, derelict | Origin and meaning of derelict by Online
Etymology Dictionary (
Season of Bright Sorrow – a phrase sometimes used to describe
the cold, sunny days of Lent, a time of both hunger and hope.

Our second print run of Season of Bright Sorrow will be back at the Ad Hoc Fiction book shop shortly, but in the meantime, you can buy from Amazon (linked to your country on the bookshop page) or purchase a signed copy direct from David. Just email jude at jude{at}adhocfiction{dot}com and she will pass on details to him.

David’s prompt

Browse the etymology website below until you find a concrete image hidden inside a word that intrigues you. For instance, our word ‘scene’ contains an ancient vestige of Arabian tents! Or ‘dereliction’ contains a stranded boat. This may take a while. But, once you have found an image that excites you, see if you can give this image to a lonely character. Then wait to see what happens when you connect their loneliness to the prop and the word. This is one of the ways in which ‘Season of Bright Sorrow’ first fired into life, all its elements brought together by the theme of ‘dereliction’. See: Etymonline – Online Etymology Dictionary

Etymonline – Online Etymology Dictionary
The online etymology dictionary (etymonline) is the internet’s go-to source for quick and reliable accounts of the origin and history of English words, phrases, and idioms. It is professional enough to satisfy academic standards, but accessible enough to be used by anyone.

Our 2022 Novella in Flash Award just finished and we’re looking forward to reading more wonderful novellas in flash. Thank you to everyone for entering. We expect final results to be out in April, 2022.

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