Recently I had this email exchange with an editor who was going through a story I wrote. Overall the edits he suggested were great, and I’m happy with the way the story ended up. But at one point he mentioned that the narrator (an adolescent boy) describes another character’s “wall-eye.” He wrote:
Character can’t really have a wall-eye. Is walleyed.
I wrote back:
I know that. But he doesn’t. And wall-eye is funnier than walleye.
A strange argument to make, and strange to think that I believed it mattered. But 1) I worried that a lot of people just aren’t used to seeing the word walleyed and would hear it wrong in their heads as the read the line, and b) the hyphen really does make it funnier. And a little meaner, somehow.
A strange note… I went looking for an image on Google for “wall eyed” (or wall-eyed). At the top of the results, Google had helpfully broken out some of the top results into categories. Along with dog, fish, people, and cat, one of the categories was “Kate Moss.”
(Still miss you, Sophie. You were a great dog.)