June 1st, 2005

bear by san

English for Time Travelers, and self-indulgent notes.

Evelyn Browne's English for Time Travelers (Past) and (Future) at Reflection's Edge is well worth perusal. I have an interesting relationship with these articles, because while I agree theoretically that accuracy is important, I take a more moderate stance practically. Transparency to the general reader, to my eye, is the most important thing (which is why my Elizabethan stuff generally uses what I refer to as Nature-Identical Elizabethan Flavoring. Because I've read A Dead Man in Deptford. And while I applaud and admire the obsessive Early Modern Englishing of that book, I suspect it alienates more readers than it enchants.) So I tend to take a more moderate path, and avoid the obvious anachronisms, but also work hard not to make it sound too foreign. (Unless the foreignness is the point, of course. The Kit POVs in "This Tragic Glass" are a pretty good example of how I handled this stuff in The Stratford Man as well; I want it exotic, but transparent.)

Which is not to say that screwing up your thous is acceptable. *g*

For the Norse stuff, I use a different cheat. Which is to say, I want to present a Norse flavor on a different planet, because both A Companion to Wolves and the Edda of Burdens are second world fantasy. Which means they're living a culture and speaking a language that may be superficially Norse-like, but isn't historically Norse, and I handle this (having neither the inclination nor the ability to remember a language wholesale, as it were) by cherrypicking words and names from Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Icelandic. And sometimes German, too.

We love our Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Primer. Yes, we do.

It's a balancing act. It's impossible to get everything right in any book--or frankly, even a short story. (Get back to me on stage makeup in the Elizabethan Theatre: nobody knows what they did, but there's textual evidence that they did something, so frankly, I looked at the available evidence and I made it up! (hold your nose and jump!!) and somebody, somewhere is going to disagree with me. But we have Rumour painted in tongues and we have some suggestive language in Stubbes...)

But enough about me: what Ms. Browne is suggesting in her articles as the right way to handle this stuff... pretty much is. As in most things in writing, the hard way is generally the good one. They're quite marvelous resources.

If you want to get even more in depth than these articles, I can recommend C.M. Millward's A Biography of the English Language as a starting point. Shiny book. Fascinating stuff.
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bear by san

Was it hard to fold a hand you knew could win?

slithytove on "Diamonds and Rust," once or twice.

For those of you following the A Feast for Crows saga, my imprint-mate Mr. Martin has good news, and bad news. (via yhlee)

...I think this was the best solution... and the more I look at it, the more convinced I am that these two parallel novels, when taken together, will actually tell the story better than one big book.

And if there are those who don't agree, and still want their Big FEAST with all the trimmings set out on one huge table... well, there's an easy fix. Get both books, razor the pages out with an Exacto knife, interleave the chapters as you think best, and bring the towering stack of text that results to your favorite bookbinder... and presto, chango the Big FEAST will live again.

mabfan has a potential comet impact listing to share.

Progress notes for 1 June 2005:

Whiskey & Water

New Words: 1,611
Total Words: 99,339 / 111,000
Pages: 444

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
111,000 / 160,000
I am still pushing this Sisyphean chapter up the hill. 7,330 words and climbing. It will top out around 10K, I think. Push! Push! Push!

I would like to be done with it.

However, I killed a character today. Bloody and sudden. Irrevocable changes are always a good way to make me feel like I'm making progress and the plot is moving forward.

Reason for stopping: Quota, work, stupid
Mammalian Assistance: Summer is upon us, and the cats have been taking turns coming by to get combed. The cat jumps on the desk, I comb the cat until it bites me, and then discard whatever fluff has been removed. Well, except for Mith. He never actually gets tired of being combed, but he also doesn't jump on the desk and demand it, so I go and track him down and comb him while he puurs and headbutts me. We have a system worked out.
Stimulants: hazelnut tea
Exercise: gothercise!
Mail: There's a nice review of Hammered in the Broadsheet for the end of last month.

To be honest, I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about picking up Elizabeth Bear's debut Hammered. I don't often read science fiction set in the near future, particularly if it has a cyberpunk bent, which is how this book is being marketed. However, I grew more interested...

She's right in that it's not a book about shiny ideas. There are some shinier ones further up and further in (in Scardown and Worldwired). Or at least I think so. But shiny ideas are not and never have been my strong point as a writer. I'm more about the logically inevitable developments.

Today's words Word don't know: mitochondrial, limerence (and limerent), untelegraphed, tiercel, slickness
Tyop du jour: At the last moment, he lost sight of his pray.
Darling du jour: n/a
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Dorothy L. Sayers, The Unpleasantness At The Bellona Club;
Interesting research tidbits of the day: n/a
Other writing-related work: n/a
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