Look on the Bright Side

Amelia E. Browne:

Just a reminder :)

Originally posted on Callum McLaughlin:

Why not try a little optimism?

Why not try a little optimism?

I’ve seen quite a few posts recently about the hardships faced by writers and whilst I firmly agree that being realistic in your expectations is paramount and that true success in the industry is rare, I think it’s also important not to get too weighed down by the negatives. Many of the world’s most well-known, loved and respected works of fiction were either rejected or were produced by writers who overcame extremely dire odds to reach such heights. For example:

  • The first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before publication. Its author, JK Rowling, overcame depression and near poverty to become one of the most successful writers of all time.
  • Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before eventual publication. It has since sold over 30 million copies.
  • Agatha Christie faced continued rejection letters for five years before securing a single deal.

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*INSERT CREATIVE TITLE HERE*

Today I’ll be talking to you about all the things. Yay! :) On the agenda – WIPpet Wednesday because it is Wednesday, ROW80 because I really need to update that, NaNoWriMo because I think I’ve finally worked out what to do for it (even though it is a ridiculous number of months away).

But first, if you missed my post about language creation earlier this week you can find it here! :)

So WIPpet Wednesday. As it is the 10th of September I thought I’d give you 10 letters from Queen of Hearts. Just kidding! This section is almost 500 words! How exciting is that? It’s from chapter 11 not because of math but because yesterday was the ninth so obviously I thought today would be the 11th because that’s how dates work, right? Anyway, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. You can join us here. Or stalk us. We’re flexible.

Context: Kara is about to suffer the consequences of defying her father. Again. Except this time she sort of plotted with some rebel lords and assembled a secret army. And then thought it would be totally fine to swan back to the castle because the king is never going to find out… You’d think she’d learn. Anyway.

When Kara woke the next morning, the chamber was cold and dark. She frowned. Lyea should have woken by now. Crawling to the foot of the bed, she peered sleepily through the curtains at Lyea’s palette below. “Lyea?” No response. Scrambling from the bed she knelt down beside the empty mattress. It was only as Kara stood once more, intent on looking for Lyea in the antechamber that she noticed the man standing by the door. “What are you doing here?” she demanded, snatching a blanket from the bed and swinging it around her shoulders.

“I am Piyar, Captain of the Royal Guard.”

“Sir Anotis is Captain of the Guard. And you have no reason or permission to be here and in my bedchamber no less. I demand you leave. Now.”

Piyar smiled lazily, sliding a finger down the polished hilt of his sword. He startled Kara with a laugh, “Oh, I have a right to be here, girl, more so than you. I bring a message from your father,” he pulled a scroll from his belt and began to read, “Karavere Anya-ren si Piren Astiryn, Duchess of Kandar, you are hereby arrested for crimes against the state, the people and his majesty the king. You are to be taken to the cells and held there until your execution.” He rolled up the parchment and tucked it back into his belt, “In other words, girlie, you better say your prayers.”

Kara did not move.

“Come along, you’re not my only appointment today.”

“Make me.”

“Pardon?”

“Make me, Captain.” Kara spat the title from her mouth as if it were a bitter almond.

Piyar chuckled, “Two options. You come with me, nice and quiet like and I’ll go easy on you when it comes to the interrogation. Struggle and I’ll make sure when I’m investigating your motley crew, I’ll start interrogating your maid and the blacksmith’s ready to pluck daughter first.”

“They know nothing!” Kara protested.

Piyar shrugged, “No? Well, we’ll see. But first, let’s get you to the dungeons.” He stepped forward.

Kara clutched the blanket tighter to her body, “May I dress first?”

“I don’t see why not.” He didn’t move.

“So leave me, please.”

“You’re going to die and you’re worried about privacy? Very well. Don’t bother trying to escape. I’ve seen a man jump from the fourth floor before. Not a pretty sight.”

Once Piyar left the room, Kara ran to her desk, scribbled a note to Eriden, gathered some clothes into a bag which she shoved under her bed and pulled on a tunic, breeches and a simple over dress. Slipping her feet into her boots, she flung open the door to the antechamber and stormed past Piyar, “Coming, Captain?”

So, now for ROW80 updates. I have things to report!

Edit Queen of Hearts

Some editing done. Not as much as I’d like. The usual story.

Write

A giant essay of doom! And a few snippets. And a scene. Or maybe I just dreamt I wrote that scene…

Blog

I wrote a post about language and now I’m doing this super long post and twitter is a sort of micro-blog so that counts :P

Create

All the creation! This week I worked on designing a national dress for Fariel (or at least the south) which was really fun. Also made some new words in various languages, mostly during lectures because that seems to be when I get all the ideas.

This is a sentence I constructed during my lecture this morning. It is Low Haelean or Common and is strongly based on Old English.

Weir sawan der pelder mit blud.

Translation forthcoming but if you’ve got any guesses about what it means, let me know in the comments! :)

Also, NaNoWriMo – rather than than 1600 words a day, I’ll be editing 3 scenes a day or the word count. When I am writing, it will be either short stories or the continuation of something I’ve already started, I simply don;t have the inspiration at the moment to create anything new.

The Promised Post – Language in Fiction

Since I returned from my hiatus a few months ago, I have been meaning to do a post on language creation. This is it. Or more excitingly, the first in a series of language posts. Today I’m going to talk about my process and my opinion on language creation in fiction. If there are other things you’d like me to discuss, let me know in the comments. :)

When I first dabbled in language creation back in my school days, I took an amateurish approach, a combination of stealing words straight from real languages and making them up outside of any structure. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It depends on the purpose of your language and your intentions for its use. However, after studying linguistics at university, I couldn’t let that early attempt at language sit. I had to redo it, taking a much more logical approach.

This is how I did it:

1. Sounds

As silly as it might sound, choosing which sounds you want your language to have helps construct parameters to work within. This part was relatively straightforward for me because I’ve studied phonetics however below are some links to sites that can help. For inspiration, I looked at the wikipedia pages of languages I liked the sounds of to understand what was going on and translate those sounds into my own language.

IPA Chart

2. Basic Grammar

Honestly, if you are just using your language for a few words here and there you can ignore this section. Otherwise, though, grammar is important. This is the point where you establish your word order (for example, English word order is Subject Verb Object), work out whether you want to conjugate your verbs (like French) or have very similar verb forms regardless of the subject (like English for the most part), whether your language will have case markings to free up the word order. There are so many options! So many exciting things you can do! Again, this is the part where you go to the wikipedia pages for Syntax, Morphology and Grammar and read. In fact, don’t limit it to wikipedia, read all the resources you can find.

3. Words

Now you’ve got some parameters to work with, start making words. Start with greetings, everyday objects and concepts that are integral to your society. I started with verbs – to eat, to sleep, to drink, to live, to play, to go. This is also a good time to come up with some idiomatic expressions that reflect your society. For example, in one of my languages, Farilien which is spoken by a formerly nomadic society, if a person is going on a long journey they would not say ‘We go north’ but rather ‘North, the steppes are ahead of us.’

I probably spent about three months researching (in addition to my university studies on the topic) before I sat down and began to knit things together. Obviously though, not everyone has that kind of type or the same level of obsession about language that I do. With that in mind, here’s the easy version – just follow Step 3.

Okay, so now that I’ve given you a glimpse of how I create my languages, I’ll discuss my attitudes to language in fiction.

Basically, unless it is used to indicate foreignness or indicate a cultural concept not present in English (or whatever language you are writing in), don’t do it. This may seem like  strange thing for me to say, especially after telling you how much effort I put into my conlangs but really, I just see it as a worldbuilding exercise. Creating a language for my people has helped me better understand their culture, values and history. The language contributes to the elements I include in my writing but that is about it. Admittedly, I’ve included aspects of my language in my writing in the form of names, titles and expletives.

All that said, a language or two is a good thing to have incase you ever get the chance to turn your book into the latest hit movie or tv show. We can dream. :)

Again, let me know in the comments if there is anything else you’d like me to discuss. My next language post will be an in-depth look at Farilien with a little tutorial tacked on the end. :)

Updates All Round

Look at me being efficient and posting and stuff. :) It’s very late right now. I should be sleeping. I think my brain is a cat. Here is my ROW80 update, and following that, an exciting WIPpet because it is Wednesday (just).

You can find fellow ROW80 people here.

Edit Queen of Hearts

Progress made, finally! I’ve said this before and I’ll no doubt say it again but I cannot thank my two betas enough. They pointed out the things I regularly do wrong and have shown me ways to fix them. =best

Write

Essays. That counts as writing, right? Feeling inspired but have not actually written anything yet (apart from sections added in during edits)

Blog

I haven’t posted twice a week for a fortnight or so now but I’m relatively content. Also, American friends, is it true that you don’t use the word fortnight???

Create

This seems to be the goal that one way or another I always work on. :) This week saw grammatical developments in what I’m going to call ‘Common’ and the addition of some new words and concepts to Farilien. Much excitement :D

Okay, now onto the WIPpet! As always, you can join the madness here. I know I always give slightly dodgy excuses for lack of context but this section doesn’t really need context. Math goes something like this (27+8)x(27+8)=70 (+1 because I’m nice) Words. Wordy words. Also, bonus points to anyone who catches my literary reference/allusion in this snippet. :D Please forgive the slightly weird phrasing of the last sentence…

Dawn spread rosy fingers above the imposing mountain peaks behind the city, casting an eerie glow on the remains of the Haelean camp. The cavalry stood untested at the gates, horses nervous with the smell of blood in the air. The fields beyond the river where only a day ago, the Haelean army squatted with the confidence of one who sees their victory assured, the ruins of tents and lives smouldered.

Meow.

Everything’s happening! WIPpet and ROW80 (And a reward!)

I have once again realised that it has been a good long while since my last post. Sorry about that. So to make up for my absence I’ll be combing a WIPpet Wednesday post and a ROW80 post.

We’ll start with the ROW80  but feel free to scroll down if you’re only here for the WIPpet :)

Edit Queen of Hearts

My focus since my last post has been less on actual word editing and more on checking consistency, making sure characters don’t pop up where they shouldn’t be, that kind of thing.

Write

Again, mostly ideas and plans rather than actual stories but I’ve been writing assignments so that’s something.

Blog

This is my first post in two weeks so…

Create

I had to do some research on Proto-Indo-European languages for a class assignment which made it really hard to focus on the task at hand because it set my language creating synapses firing. Created some more words for my common tongue and have been thinking through the syntax quite a bit.

Okay, onto WIPpet!

From Chapter 20, what amounted on my computer to about 2 and a half pages. So don’t say I never give you anything :P Although to be fair, this is quite unedited and I had to remove a reference to a person who couldn’t possibly be there. Oops.

Context: I don’t know where to start honestly. Basically, during the winter the army was dismissed and retreated from the battlefield for a while and during this time Kara, along with her numerous companions and the Bashraani prince and princess we met earlier (Anjez and Mai respectively), is holding court in the castle of a loyal northern lord. The empire sends some ambassadors to offer an ultimatum and bring with them a gift, the head of the young envoy Patrun who accompanied Kara et al to Bashraan and was recently reassigned to the embassy in the nearest imperial town on the other side of the border. So yeah, head in a box.

Kara marched from the audience chamber, her anger written in the stiff set of her shoulders and reflected in the frightened faces of those who stood in her way. Her Ladies and cousin Tiemil followed, with Markey bringing up the rear. As she strode through the dim corridors and stairwells, Kara’s Ladies scurried to keep up, ruing the ridiculous court dresses which hampered their speed. Kara, however, had unpicked the stitches holding the panels of the skirt together up to the knees, relying on the hang of the fabric to protect her modesty during the audiences today. With this advantage, only Markey and Tiemil could keep pace. Kara threw open the door to her chambers, startling Lyea to her feet. Placing a hand on either side of the doorway, Kara braced herself against the frame, waiting for her companions’ arrival.  Markey soon caught up, Tiemil on his heels. Kara ignored them until the others caught up a moment later, out of breath. Meg looked about to faint.

Kara turned to look over her shoulder at Anotis, “Call the council.” she commanded before entering the room. She allowed Teimil and Eriden to follow her before firmly closing the door on the others’ startled faces.

“Where the Everwinter have you been?” Kara snapped at Anjez, sitting by the cold fireplace surrounded by papers.

“Busy.” Anjez defended as he stood. He noticed the grim looks on their faces, “What happened?”

“They killed Patrun.” Kara replied, her voice hollow.

“The envoy?” he gasped, eyes wide.

Kara nodded as she sank onto an over-cushioned couch.

Anjez’s first thought was of his sister, “And Mai?”

Kara stared blankly at the carpet, “She’s…she’s upset.”

Tiemil settled on the couch. Anjez was too fired up to sit. With their frenzied pacing, he and Eriden together would wear a track in the old Gabonese carpet.

“So what is your grand plan then?” Tiemil asked.

“Plan?” Kara replied.

“For vengeance!” Anjez said.

“I have a few ideas.” Eriden muttered as she continued to pace.

“I don’t know.” Kara answered honestly, “I’m hoping the council will advise me.”

“Those old farts? They will try to scare you into caution.” Tiemil replied sceptically.

“Those old farts have spent longer on this earth than either you or I. And perhaps caution is what we need just now.” Kara snapped.

“Perhaps you are right,” Tiemil submitted, “Will you stop that?” he irritability directed his question at Eriden who had been pacing around the room since she entered it. The only response he received was a glare. “Fine then. I’m going to find Mai.” he humphed as he stood to leave.

“No, I am!” Anjez shot.

Kara stood to block them, “Neither of you are going anywhere near her.”

“She is my sister!”

“She is alone in her grief!” Tiemil argued.

“Yes, for now she is, but I will go to her, not you. She has just had her lover’s head returned to her in a box. Now is not the time to try your amorous advances, Tee. She will come to you when she is ready or not at all. And Anjez,” she laid a gentle hand on his arm, “There are some things best said between friends.”

 

To finish, I’ll just leave this here :D

Sunday is like Monday, only better.

This is an intro to my post. Hello. This is my blog post. Hello. Topic: ROW80 update. Mood: potentially insane.

Edit Queen of Hearts

Editing…editing…I’ve thought about editing. I’ve planned which bits I want to edit. But honestly? Since last week I’ve worked on one scene. Because this is the first week back at uni for me, I’ve been focusing on classes and readings at the expense of editing time.

Write

Wrote the beginning of a  draft for a short story on an idea I’ve been tinkering with for a while. Hoping that this process will help me nut out the motivations of a few of the characters.

Blog

I’m pretty pleased with myself on this account because so far, I’ve been consistently publishing two posts a week, one for ROW80 and one for WIPpet Wednesdays. I’ve also been trying to get to as many blogs as I can and comment but if I haven’t made it your blog yet, I’m sorry, I’ll be there soon. We can have tea and scones. It’ll be cute. :)

Create

As I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a friend’s language, I haven’t really touched my main one for a few weeks because I don’t want to accidentally overlap them. Instead, I’ve been focusing on a sort of Common Tongue used by the empire and its constituent countries. I figured it had to be super simple so that is easy to learn and once learnt, the people won’t want to re-assume their own native tongues because they would seem way to complex. Sneaky empire language spreading tactics. :) Basically, it’s really heavily based on Old English in its sounds and basic verb forms but does not contain any case, any person markers, minimal tense changes and a lot of nominalisation so you really only need a few hundred words to get by. As I said, the point is that it’s super easy to learn so if you’re willing to be a guinea pig for me, I’d love to test it out on you. :)

The Pirate Code: Sometimes Guidelines Are Worth Following

Hello hello. Wednesday is a busy day. Busy busy. Classes started back at uni this week and so far I’ve only had three of my four classes but they are all really exciting and interesting. :D I’m really looking forward to the rest of semester, which is not something I’ve wholeheartedly said before so that’s something.

For those of you interested in what else I’ve been up to, especially in relation to writing etc, you can read my latest ROW80 contribution.

You will be excited to know that this week, I used a little creativity with my WIPpet math and managed to find something to share with you that a) I haven’t shown you before, b) doesn’t contain spoilers and c) follows the WIPpet rules (which, if we’re honest, are more a set of guidelines :P).

The math is as follows: 30 (for the day) – 7 (for the month) = 23 = chapter 23 from Queen of Hearts. In my draft, the title of this chapter has a love heart next to it because what follows this snippet is one of my favourite scenes. :) Context: who needs it? As the following excerpt is also the first lines of the chapter, feedback is appreciated. :)

Some travel advice, for free; never travel in Bashraan during a Succession. Blood floods through the streets and those who shed it do not give a damn where it comes from.

As always, you can join us here, or just use this handy linky tool to quietly stalk our profiles, whichever. :)

 

Three weeks in. Or is it four? A Tale of ROW80.

So a few weeks have passed since the beginning of ROW80 although I’ve kind of lost track of how many exactly. As for my goals, they are progressing as predicted. The ones I knew I’d be able to meet, I’ve met and the ones I knew I’d struggle with I’ve so far ignored. Which is potentially an issue but not a huge one.

Edit Queen of Hearts

I’ve managed to edit and rewrite the first three chapters according to the feedback provided by my betas. This feedback has helped so much because it has allowed me to pinpoint the areas that I consistently fall down on and so I can target my energies. I’ve been experimenting with changing scene POV where I can, just to break it up a bit because originally, it was all in Kara’s POV and even I was getting sick of that. I also did a very exciting thing – I cut a scene that I liked but which did absolutely nothing for character or plot. I think the reason its stayed in there so long is because it was the initial opening scene and pretty much the evolution of the first thing I ever wrote for Queen of Hearts. But now it is where it belongs, in the scrap heap.

Write

I’ve come up with a few more ideas for short stories and have been considering what I want to work on for NaNoWriMo. At this stage, I don’t think I’ll be starting anything new. Instead, I’ll be revamping or finishing one of my previous works, just because I already have those fermenting in my mind.

Blog

Second blog post this week. Goal – scored!

Create

While I haven’t done any work on my own language, I met up with a friend on Monday who wanted help creating a language for his world. It was actually a lot more fun brainstorming and creating with someone else and I’m pretty proud of what we achieved in about five or so hours. He also gave me some really good advice for characters in Queen of Hearts so overall, a very productive day. :)

Wednesday WIPpet

So last week I posted a totally irrelevant one-liner and I think that for the next few weeks while I’m editing, I’ll continue to do the same. As always, you are welcome to join us here. Like last week’s offering to the WIPpet gods, this one liner is currently a stand alone thing. :)

Freedom is not about the cages we see, it’s about the cages we cannot see, those of our own making.

Look out for ROW80 update on Sunday :)

On a ROWl: A Terrible Pun

First of all, thank you to everyone who read and commented on my WIPpet Wednesday post. I was pleasantly surprised that it had the most traffic of any post in a long time considering it totaled about 100 words and contained only one line of prose. Made me happy :)

Anyway, onto the real business…

So, it’s Sunday which means I’ve been working on my ROW80 goals for two weeks now. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been attending every check-in, mostly because my work tends to be sporadic and so I post an update after my most productive part of the week but as I haven’t posted an update for a week and a half I have a decent amount of progress to report which is exciting. :)

Edit Queen of Hearts

I received the edits from my betas and have been going through and applying their suggestions to the first seven chapters. I’m still not totally happy with these yet and I’ve uncovered a few annoying plot holes that I need to work out but in terms of progress, I’m happy.

I also bought a self-edit book which I intend to write a review of eventually and which I’m hoping will help me with my edits. The best part about the betas is that they’ve pinpointed some things I need to work on that I was having trouble pick up myself.

Write

Not anything actually done on this front but I’ve come up with a few ideas and written down about 200 words worth of random unconnected quotes. I’ve also started looking at NaNoWriMo ideas. A little early, I know, but I want to be properly prepared this time around.

Blog

This post + Wednesday’s post = 2

2 blog posts = success :)

Create

I designed a basic script but apart from that its on standby at the moment. I have an exam for Ancient Greek on Monday and I’m confused enough about it already without mixing in my own language at the same time. That said, the topic is always at the back of my mind and I look forward to returning to it.