Tag Archives: Writing

minçɪn nedəwaðʌl, dati?

Maidin mhaith.

Spent last night and a bit this morning working on conlanging as a way to distract myself from writing.

The topic that caught my interest and ended up generating quite a bit of vocabulary and vocab was asking questions. This was semi-introduced last time which even started with a question: ɸat æs, de?

In it we learned about dialect and some more complicated things like word order and the question particle. In English we often learn the six question words: who, what, where, when, why, how. There are more. A full list would look like: who, what, where, when, why, how, which, whose, whence, whither, whether.

Some of those are still familiar to us: Which song did you play? Whose album is this?

Some are not: Whence did he come? (Where did he come from?) Whither did he go? (Where did he go to?) Whether chose you? (Which of these two would you choose?)

They probably ring a bell in the way back of your brain, probably from reading some old or poetic piece. Hadysh retains all of them and adds two more. These particles are:

  • dɔma (which)
  • dæxɪmə (whose)
  • dæx (who)
  • dɪn (what)
  • demʃ (where)
  • didæʃ (whence)
  • dɑneʃ (whither)
  • dib (when)
  • dʊçɸ (why)
  • dʌg (whether)
  • de (how)
  • dati (do – ?) Implies a yes/no question
  • dæf (?) Converts a statement into a generic question

As always I have examples and dialect stuff!


Do you have the time? – Single, Formal “you”

[miaçi mʌɹ̝̠̊ʌ, dati]

/miɛçi mʌɹʌ, dɛti/ – Rozenn

/miaçi məɹ̝̠̊ə, dati/ – Einar

This statement uses [dati] but does not imply simple yes/no. The speaker still wishes to know what time it is. It does imply that they want a quick answer. So the reply should be “Half past six” not “Six thirty seven.”

You can switch to requesting an “accurate” answer by making it a generic question with the [dæf] particle.


Where did my dog go to?

[hɹ̝̠̊enəga jamə ɸɔlm, dɑneʃ]

/ɹ̝̠̊enəga jamə ɸɔlm, dɑneʃ/ – Standard formation

/hɹɪnəkɛ jɛmə ɸɔlm, dɔnɪʃ/ – Rozenn

/ɹ̝̠̊enəga jamə fɔlm, dɑneʃ/ – Einar

We’ve been over this strange construction in the first conlang post. The past tense uses [h-] at the beginning of a verb, but the sound cluster [hɹ̝̠̊] is really just a breathy /ɹ̝̠̊/.

But the sound ɹ̝̠̊ doesn’t exist in the Sylian (Rozenn’s) dialect, so the past tense conjugation is more clear.


When were we planning on meeting up? – Inclusive “we”

[θahən kənɔx, dib] (Literally: When do we plan to meet?)

/θɛhən çənɔx, dib/ – Rozenn

/θahən kənɔç, dib/ – Einar

This is the first inclusion of the infinitive of a verb, this is actually a unique conjugation just like future, past, and habitual.  The base form of the verb “to meet” is [nɔx]. The infinitive adds [k-].

The main verb “to plan” is not in the future tense, it starts with [θ] because it is made of the future tense of “to think” but here is present tense. The future of “to plan” is [θɪθahə]. Also strangely the conjugation should be [θahəa], but when a verb ends in a vowel and the conjugation starts with a vowel ([-a] for inclusive we) the vowel of the conjugation becomes [n].


Have you seen Rozenn’s sword? – Plural, Informal “you”

[hjɹæçʌlnaçɪn çeɹiənɪm ɪlpæθ, dæf]

/hjæçʌlnaçɪn çeɹiənɪm ɪlpæθ, dæf/ – Standard formation

/hjaçəlnaçen çeɹiənem elpaθ, daf/ – Einar

The verb “to see” is [ɹæçʌln], the past tense [h-] adds the [j] between the [h] and [ɹ], but the [ɹ] is usually just dropped.

Here we also have the genitive marker [-(n)ɪm] which also softens the word it attaches to, but [çeɹiə] (Rozenn’s name) ends with a vowel.


Does he know how to swim? – Single, Informal “he”

[bɑθæpəga e kəpæg de, dati]

/bɔθɛpəkɛ ɪ çəpɛk’d, dɛti/ – Rozenn

/bɑθapəga e kəpag de, dati/ – Einar

The only thing to note here is that “how to swim” becomes “to swim how” or [kəpæg de].


Whether you a glass of whiskey or a pint of beer? – Sing, Infrm “you”

[æs nʊdlpik ʌt pɔʃ zæ nedan ʌt ætwəɹ, dʌg]

/ɛs nʊdlpik ʌt pɔʃ zɛ nɪdɛn ʌt ɛtwə, dək/ – Rozenn

/as nədlpik ət pɔʃ za nedan ət atvəɹ, dəg/ – Einar

Like in English, there is no verb in this sentence. Oftentimes you can even remove the pronoun and just ask.


May I have a cup of tea, instead?

[tætl nʊdlpik ʌt hɪl vivɪft kəmi, dæf]

/tɛtl nʊdlpik ʌt hɪl fifɪft çəmi, dɛf/ – Rozenn

/tatl nədlpik ət hel viveft kəmi, daf/ – Einar

Here we have the introduction of modal verbs! Germanic languages use modals quite a bit and I have a fondness for them. There are at least seven in Hadysh (English has seven-ish as well, plus a dead one and a handful of demi-modals). Modals conjugate normally and the verb they are changing takes the infinitive form and moves to the end of the clause.

Anyone familiar with German will recognize this. Kannst du Deutsch (sprechen)? Können is the modal. Sprechen is the verb. “Can you speak German?”

Like when asking about time, the [dati]/[dæf] distinction is important. [dæf] implies that you want a cup of tea. [dati] is asking if you have permission to have a cup of tea.


Are you tired? – Plural, Informal “you”

[ɸat æs hwɑnel]

/ɸɛt ɛs ʍɔnɪl/ – Rozenn

/fat as hɁwɑnel/ – Einar

The Waldish and Nyrnish (Einar’s) dialects mutate [ʍ] to /h/ so to imply the particle correctly they divide the [h] and [w] with a glottal stop. In Sylian these are just slurred back to /ʍ/.


Yes

[ɸat ɪ] (Literally: It is)

/ɸɛti/ – Rozenn

/faɁi/ – Einar

Despite being a full sentence (similar to Irish), over time this has contracted down to a single word (similar to English).


No

[ɸat ɪ ʊl] or [ɸat ɪ’l] (Literally: It is not)

/ɸɛɁl/ – Rozenn

/fatl/ – Einar

Like above this is a full sentence, but has been contracted down to a single word.


Do you have a question? – Plural, Formal “you”

[minçɪn nedəwaðʌl, dati] or [minçɪn nedəwaðʌl, dæf]

/minçɪn nɪdəwaðʌl, dɛti/ or /minçɪn nɪdəwaðʌl, dɛf/ – Rozenn

/minçen nedəvaðəl, dati/ or /minçen nedəvaðəl, daf/ – Einar

Don’t forget the [dati]/[dæf] distinction.


Sláinte, everyone!

ɸat æsð, de?

I’ve been wasting a lot of time lately thinking about language. The result has been a great deal of work going into my Hadysh conlang. The big thing I’ve worked on lately was dialect. The reason is that two of the main characters of Sun-King speak Hadysh natively: Einar and Rozenn, but they speak different dialects. In the book this is represented with Rozenn speaking in an accent.

I chose a light, lowland Scots accent for her because there is some baggage that goes along with it. Semi-foreign but not in an exotic way, working-class, poor, tough, ready to rumble. I wanted that baggage to come along. However, Einar speaks a more “proper” dialect. His dialect is closely related to the “proper” dialect with only a few differences in the position of certain vowels.

All told there are nine dialects not including the “perfect” form I’ve been presenting here. No one speaks that dialect, just like no one speaks dialectless English. There is a dialect considered “proper” and a dialect considered “free” of regional variation, but that is a dialect – just the dialect we expect to hear on the radio.

There is a dialect that is closest to “perfect” and it actually considered by the characters of this world as a mark of low status – it is the language of those who live on the frozen edge of civilization. But that is true in most languages. The “correct” or “proper” forms are rarely chosen for their actual closeness to any proto-language. “Received Pronunciation” (Queen’s English) is no closer or further from Shakespearean English than any other – and that assumes we take Shakespearean as “proper” itself.

It’s not.

Languages are not proper – they are arbitrary. We assign everything through baggage. I would assert that “whom” is not correct English. If you use “whom” you are being a dick. You are trying to speak above people. Normal people speaking normal English do not use “whom.” Ergo, “whom” exists in a smart-ass dialect.

Apologies to any speakers of dialects that still natively contain “whom.” Also, we’re coming for you.

Like French, Hadysh uses the dialect of the capital as “correct”. I call this “Waldish” after the capital – Waldenhof. Just like “Hadysh” this is an English word to represent a foreign tongue.

So, in my interest, I’ve written up some phrases and how the two characters would say them. Most of this was to facilitate the creation of new grammar and vocabulary.

All of these are written in IPA, if you are interested in conlanging I strongly, strongly suggest you write in IPA for purposes of communicating your work and leave your self-created alphabet at home. A) IPA works on computers B) People will get it. Hadysh has some sounds that are weird, lets go over some of them:

/ç/ – This is like the “ch” in the German “ich”. It is similar to the “ch” in the Scottish “Loch” like Loch Ness, but it is devoiced so don’t let your vocal chords vibrate.

/x/ – This is the “ch” in Loch Ness. It is NOT a /k/ sound. It isn’t Lok Ness.

/ɹ/ – This is “r” as nearly every English speaker will say it.

/ɹ̝̠̊/ – Start with /ç/, now move your tongue closer to the roof of your mouth and begin to constrict airflow. Close enough.

/ʍ/ – Remember the “cool hwip” gag from Family Guy? That “hw” sound is /ʍ/ and used to be very common in English. It’s why “why” is spelled with an “h” in the middle.

/ɸ/ – Start by making /f/, now part and round your lips. Close enough. This should be like a controlled way of blowing out a candle.

/ð/ – It’s the “th” from “breathe”.

/θ/ – It’s the “th” from “thin”.

/j/ – The “y” in “yes”.

Learn the vowels on your own. They are going to get a bit complex and can be very, very dialect dependent. I generally refer to the German examples because High School and Uni forced “perfect” German on me, but my English is native, so I speak with a “strong” dialect.


I am [NAME]

[ɸat a (NAME)] – You

/ɸɛt ɛ çɪɹiə/ – Rozenn

/fat a nafjelən/ – Einar


What is your name? – Single, Informal “you”

[θjelg æs, de]? (Literally: How will I call you?)

/θjɪlk ɛs’d/? – Rozenn

/θjelg as, de/? – Einar


How are you? – Single, Informal “you”

[ɸat æs, de]?

/ɸɛt ɛs’d/? – Rozenn

/fat as, de/? – Einar


I am fine, thank you. – Single, Informal “you”

[ɸat a lʌx, jʊga ɪ æs]

/ɸɛt ɛ lʌx, jʊkɛ ɪ ‘s/ – Rozenn

/fat a ləç, jəga e as/ – Einar


Good morning.

[ʍæmli lʌx]

/ʍɛmli lʌx/ – Rozenn

/hamle ləç/ – Einar


Good afternoon.

[lælxwændʊ lʌx]

/lɛlxwɛndʊ lʌx/ – Rozenn

/lalçandə ləç/ – Einar


Good evening.

[lælɔðɹ̝̠̊en lʌx]

/lɛlɔðɹɪn lʌx/ – Rozenn

/lalɔðɹ̝̠̊en ləç/ – Einar


Good night.

[ɔðɹ̝̠̊en lʌx]

/ɔðɹɪn lʌx/ – Rozenn

/ɔðɹ̝̠̊en ləç/ – Einar


Cheers!

[kæk]

/çɛç/ – Rozenn

/kak/ – Einar


I am Rozenn, daughter of Leofric and the Great Sword of Macenburgh.

[ɸat a çeɹiə, tatiə jan pænðmʌhiɹd pe ɪlpæzɑxt jan zeʍədɹədʌɹɔɸə]

/ɸɛt ɛ çɪɹiə, tɛtɪə jɛn pɛnðmʌhɪɹd pɪ ɪlpɛzɔxt jɛn zɪʍədɹʌɹɔɸə/ – Rozenn


 

Nothing wrong with a bit of fun on that last one, aye?

Some interesting grammar bits to note:

First, even I screw up. I did on a previous post. I labeled “hunter” as [bʊfəd] but it is actually [bʊvəd].

Second, the copula does not conjugate. It is always [ɸat] regardless of the subject. This means it is always followed by a subject.

Third, questions follow the sentence they modify. So it would be a statement + , + question word. For example, in English, it would look like “You are, how?”

Fourth, Hadysh, from my first post, has shifted from SVO to VSO. Correct sentences from older posts as needed. As stated this is a growing and changing project that I do for fun instead of eating or writing. Both things far beyond fixing at this point. So I’m going to make some quick food and call it a night.

ɔðɹ̝̠̊en lʌx or oíche mhaith, motherfuckers.

 

 

Risk

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been rather inactive on this site as of late?

Maybe you haven’t.

That was a pretty good article by Kirk, huh?

I wish I had some good news, but I don’t. Currently in the midst of a bit of an emotional low and having trouble doing anything, really.

Recently decided to get some extra first readers on-board to help the lonely, brave, figure in getting it all done and very quickly that blew up in my face. I mean, it was a bomb I set, primed, and then stood over – but it still blew up, surprising apparently only to me.

Anyway, Sun-King is decidedly not getting good remarks. And that is depressing.

Specifically it is the prologue and chapter one, two of the originally weak pieces that don’t seem to have gotten any better, in fact they seem to have gotten much, much worse.

But that’s the risk I took. I put it out there and I was hoping for positive feed back and… well… I got constructive feed back. I have a lot of work to do, especially as the fires spread deeper into the book. It might mean a second scrapping a second rewrite and right now… I’m not sure emotionally I can pull that off. Right now I’m very drained, stressed, unfocused, wanting to do anything but write but not wanting to let it fester too long. So instead of doing something, anything, I do nothing.

Next week is going to be hard with no one to vent on. Brigid is in Oregon for a writer’s workshop so I’ll briefly be living the life of a lonely man pining for some distant, green light.

Hopefully I don’t go into bootlegging.

Anyway so that’s what I’ve been doing these last four days. Slowly falling into a well of self loathing. Probably going to drag myself out of in the next few days. Hope to get some writing done when that happens.

Sláinte, everyone.

Hadyrland – Land of the Hunterfolk

Maidin mhaith, everyone

Yesterday I did no writing.

Yes, yes… shock and awe I’m sure.

I actually spent the entire day working on my map and doing some first reading for another author. The map, as it was on Friday, didn’t have any iconography – that is to say it was flat and didn’t have the neat little pictures of trees and mountains one expects from something like a map in a fantasy book.

But it did have features – colored features that helped me as an author understand the terrain I had designed. Mountains were brown. Deserts were yellow. Forests were a darkish green. &c &c &c.

The big problem is getting it to fit in a little, itty-bitty book. I am having a lot of trouble with that.

This new map, while wildly beautiful, is just as unfit for publishing as any of its predecessors. I need to keep working on this, but in the end the solution is clear to me: a tiny map with clear labels. That I can probably provide. So here is Hadyrland – with borders and  cities included.

Here is the full version.

Today I should be able to wrap up this whole map conundrum and move on. I’m still in a rut of writer’s block, so I’m trying to spend as much time not just starting at an unmoving word count as I can.

Not sure what needs to happen but if it keeps up I’ll probably do some gasp plotting before seeing if I cannot unstick myself.

Anyway, sláinte everyone. Enjoy your day.

Damsel in Distress

Let’s court some controversy, eh?

This is an image on imgur, a place where free ideas are exchanged in that way that free ideas are exchanged on the internet in that it tends to be a gargantuan echo chamber full of people who like imgur.

I don’t mind imgur, it does make facebook really boring as my mum eventually shares George Takei’s page which is really just the best socially-conscience parts of imgur plus a few days. And I can’t fault anyone for that, don’t get me wrong I am not ragging on imgur, George Takei, my mother, or event these two tweets. Sorry for lying to you for your clicks. But they feed me.

What I do want to talk about is old tropes that are falling out of favor, why that might be, is that a good thing, and what if any of those tropes I have in my own writing.

First I want to expand the “damsel in distress” for the time being to the “noble in distress” as this was a very common tactic that anyone with a good knowledge of history can tell you. Kidnap and ransom have always been a huge part of how humans have fought one another. Hostages were often a part of peace negotiations and infamously while it was fine to cut down levy soldiers, you’d always want to leave the nobles alive – so that you could sell them back at a profit.

This plays out time and time again in history, for me most notably in Western Europe’s Hundred Year’s War and in Japan’s Sengoku Period. The thought was if you had a hostage, the hostage’s family would not harm you for fear that you’d first retaliate on their hostage. Other times hostages would leave with sympathies for kind captors and hopefully prevent future conflict. And of course, for the womenfolk, marriages were great ways of cementing alliances as well as building dynastic control.

These situations did not always end well and murder and “disappearances” were common. So to were attempts to recover said missing relatives for things such as “honor” and “glory” and “not liking the political disadvantages placed by having lost a hostage but also not wanting to just abandoned them because of honor and glory.”

Thus the existence of the “damsel in distress” trope is not surprising. It plays well to the the male wish-fulfillment that defined fantasy and genre for admittedly too long. Big strong lad, usually working alone, gets to rescue girl, maybe cop a feel, and be received as a hero having triumphed over evil. When broken down like that, when at its barest and driest, the damsel in distress trope moves into cliche and is rightfully something to deride.

Why does it have to be a male knight?

Why does it have to be a female in distress?

Why does romance have to be the result of rescue?

There are a lot of problems here but the problem doesn’t necessarily have to be feminist or sexual or anything like that. Often times the sexualization of damsels in distress isn’t intended but rather the by-product of lazy, half-assed, mindless writing.

I don’t get the feeling from Mario that it is sexualizing or attempting to downplay the role of women by the original having Peach trapped in the tower. It certainly looks that way in hindsight, but it is a product of its time. Mario would be backwards if made today, but you look at Mario today and just as often Peach is a main character. That is serious progress.

The downside is of course they stick to lame “rebuild the macguffin” cliche plots. Oh boy.

I am digressing, though.

The main issue with sticking to the “damsel in distress” trope is that too often people forget that the damsel is a character too, regardless if the damsel is infact even a damsel and not a… what is the male of a damsel?

Well… “damsel” is the feminine diminutive of dominus so… dom? Don? Fuck it. Let’s go with Don because “dom” has some… other… meanings.

So imagine the scenario of a person in distress. Too often they are essentially a cardboard cut-out who, with their little voice box taped to the back, coos and swoons for our gender-not specified main character.

And that’s really about it.

More recently, and this is where it gets tripe, there has been a movement that suggests that backstory = character. Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess does this (in my opinion). Link has a significant other (not Zelda) and she is shown to have personality and backstory at the beginning. And then she gets kidnapped and ne’er more is it mentioned.

That’s just as bad! Honestly it is worse because it was like “I know this is wrong so if we throw some personality traits her way it is made okay, right? Then we can ignore her?” Its that whole cover-up is worse than the crime thing.

And for that series it is really all over the place. In Twilight the SO is interesting until she isn’t needed anymore, but at least Zelda and Midna are really strong female characters. And that is a huge plus (again to me). I’m not saying having a good character outweights a bad one, but having good important characters outweighs boring unimportant characters. Yeah, it sucks whats-her-face lost her personality to kidnapping, but in the end she was not an important character. So I guess it is okay?

I mean, think for a second if Midna was a shitty character. Then we start hitting some sour notes.

Actually, the more I think the less I want to do with talking about this game what with (thinks about Native American stereotypes shudders).

As I continue to ramble farther and farther down this trail, I should really cut to the crux of my problem and my point – the Damsel/Don in distress can be interesting – if the rescue isn’t the climax or if it is, the captured has gotten proper attention from the writer and reader.

I think the problem is the failure to create two sides of an otherwise interesting story. Interesting hero + boring villain + boring target character = cliche and boring story.  There has been some focus on sympathetic villains, which is good, but when we don’t see why the hero would rescue this person it sort of lends little weight to the story.

What if the hero doesn’t care about the target, but only the riches and fame? And not in that they’ll change their mind later way.

What if the target doesn’t like the hero? And not in that they’ll change their mind later way.

What if we take this rather dull story arc and relegate it to a subplot and  leave it there? What if we use it for characterization instead of climax? What if we…

Wait… Sam rescuing Frodo from the orcs.

There you fucking go. That is how you do the person in distress trope right.

Fucking eat your heart out.

Now I am not implying that I am the bestest writer evar. Or that my works are perfect, shining examples of it all done right, because they are not. There is a lot of saying and not doing here. That is essentially how a blog works.

In my own works I tend to use the common sense method. Or at least I think I do. My characters have gender, they aren’t like Ripley were you can essentially swap genders and still have them work beside the occasional remark. However I don’t go as far as Sam Sykes’ [highly sarcastic] remark to mention that the women are in fact women at least six times a page.

It exists. The characters exist within a society that has norms. It is a matter of fact, but that is where I draw the line. Just like I wouldn’t go on about most bodily functions (I mention urinating once and waste management once, both in “proper” ways I think), I don’t go on about a character’s gender unless it makes sense.

On of the main-est characters in Sun-King is Rozenn, who is a woman and a knight. She doesn’t completely fit in, but she isn’t rejected in her own society. There are reasons for that beyond it is a fantasy realm and the genders are equal and that is important to her character. She exists mostly within a man’s world. However I think I did a good job avoiding sexualizing beyond what a normal character would be like. She is flirty at times and reserved at others, just like any normal character or real-life human would be.

I mention her chest once and it was to characterize another character as a pig, so I think I can claim to be in the right there but perhaps someone will disagree.

But what about my male characters? Pretty much the same. I don’t on on about glistening muscles and big ol’ cocks. They exist within their societies as well and much in the same way. It is much harder to talk about how well I treat male characters because honestly our culture is much more used to male characters being treated well and female characters being defined more by what they are not than what they are.

Maybe I’m just shit at writing characters and that is what makes me so good at giving the genders equal attention and quality.

Anyway, for the most part I avoid the damsel in distress trope/cliche as much as I can because I didn’t have a chance where it actually came up in a way that wasn’t stupid. None of my characters are captured and held ransom – simple as that. It isn’t really an epic plot line, which is why Sam’s rescue of Frodo is so brief. One hero, one target, one locale, one arc. Done. Over.

Anyway. This is a long post and it doesn’t have any pictures so… um…

SMOKE BOMB

 

Oíche mhaith, motherfuckers.

Detroit City and a little Writer’s Postpartum Depression

This is probably going to be a bit more rambly than most posts on this site, but let’s go ahead and deal with it anyway. I have a few topics and I don’t think I can really make them stand-alone posts.

First – I’ve begun writing Book 2, which has already gone through a few working titles, but given that this is a total re-do we shall see what happens. Having previously written some 45,000-ish words in the previous version I already have a good sense of direction with this one. Hopefully I am not stuck too deep in the rails and I can move away from what I’ve got. Already two chapters have been condensed into what is now the prologue and the original prologue is actually the last chapter of Sun-King!

So yeah, that is off to a decent start but I had to say I’ve hit something I didn’t really expect – it really sucks to not be working on Sun-King anymore. Like really weird. Same characters, same settings, same general direction and it just feels like I am in some strange foreign land. If I had to guess I would assume I am suffering from the shock of having total control again. When editing and rewriting chunks of Sun-King I obviously had laid rail before and was generally following the plan if only soothing some corners out.

Now I have total control again and that is really “weird” to me. Maybe I just need a few days away from writing. Maybe I just need a few days back at the helm of creating rather than editing. Either way it was not something I expected and it has made today rather lethargic (among other things, not going there).

So that is where the postpartum comes into play. I really don’t like not working on it. Where is my baby? What is this blank sheet of a paper that I need to fill with brand new words? Fuck all this shit. Fuck it, I want to work on Sun-King some more.

But I can’t.

Or at least I shouldn’t. I need to move on. That is part of writing. Still. I miss it and I know in the back of my head another round of editing is still on the horizon.

O well. Moving on.

Soccer!

But Nick, the superbow-

Shut it.

Oh, so you’re watching the superb ow-

Shut it.

We’re talking soccer, because I care about soccer. I like gridrion. I care about soccer. It means stuff to me. Newcastle won. Celtic won. Kendal lost. And DCFC is moving forward.

Rumor has it that we are very close to running out of season ticket slots. It essentially implies we are on track to sell out every. single. game this summer. That is FUCKING AWESOME. If you disagree go fuck yourself. Little Detroit City, for whom I’ve had a place in my heart since day one.

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My friend Zak and I made those for our first game back in Season 1. I still have both and I just recently was talking with another fan and he mentioned a season 1 flag that was red with golden fleur de lis all over it. It was weird, strangely enough after the last few seasons, that this stood out. I’m really glad it did. It is a beautiful flag, it is too bad it isn’t mine (it is Zak’s even if I store it).

There is a lot going on. I can feel it. Then a few weeks the big news broke.

Check it out (25:30 in the cast).

The FO has been looking at moving up! This is great. I’m so glad to hear that and though I’m doing my damnedest to not get excited it is hard not to. Hard not to see it all paying off. Hard to not love what DCFC and the NGS have been able to put together from scratch. And from what I’ve heard Peter Wilt of the Indy Eleven is not a man who speaks lightly or rumormongers.

So fuck yes!

With tickets and the NASL in our sights, that leads to some speculation. Honestly my prediction is you won’t see DCFC on the field in the NASL until 2018 or 2020. We need a new stadium. We need major sponsors. We need major names. We need a lot of stuff, including potentially new owners who have the cash. That means a lot of growing pains and a lot of issues that might follow. The NGS might look good on paper but when so many FOs would rather have Sally DoGood and her three cum-sprites in the stands paying $10 for a hotdog with mustard each and Richy DoGood paying $12 for a can of Miller Lite; the NGS (and I’m going to quote Hot Time in Old Town):

THE NORTHERN GUARD IS WHERE FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT WENT SLUMMING AND GOT STOMPED BIKER-STYLE INTO INTENSIVE CARE

When one of your loudest mottos is “We’re ruining football and we don’t care” you aren’t a great target for rich, white suburbanites. Or at least that is what people thought until we sold out twice and nearly sold the entire allotment of season tickets three months before kick off.

The Northern Guard has a duty to stand between squatters and the club and ensure that despite ruining football, we don’t ruin DCFC as well. I don’t think that is really at risk. I can’t say with a straight face that DCFC is “less” because of the NGS. Less family friendly? Yes. Less TV friendly? Yes. But less? Less as a whole? Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Tomorrow the season schedule should be out. There are some major mix-ups apparently. Then, Wednesday, we go to see Victory and grill the ownership at the Q&A. That will be mind-opening to say the least. Finally, Friday night, Midnight Madness as the NGS invades the try-outs.

This is a great week to be a DCFC fan.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Draft III is Done

I’ve wrapped up my line edits of draft III in a nearly 100-page spree of grammar and clunkiness now made more grammary and less clunky. The final word count was 117,974.

If you want to know how I feel it is mostly awesome but also sort of worn out, it was hard getting here the way I did but I am better for the journey.

I think the correct next steps is to get a good meal in me, maybe a stiff drink or two, write about some soccer perhaps? But most certainly, get to work on book 2.

Book 2 has to be top priority now that Sun-King is finished. It is being started over essentially from scratch as well and will hopefully help broaden the series to “epic” levels.

But for now, the big thing I’m facing is that I chose writing over eating this morning and afternoon. Now I am rather hungry. I should get to fixing that. I can really go for a hotdog.

Winding Down

Word count is currently 117,159 for the interested.

I’m on page 457 out of 565 of the manuscript (no clue what it is in book form) but we can guestimate that it is about 95,000 words in give or take. The last chapters are action-packed so their word density is probably lower.

Just did an actual calculation when I realized the manuscript was still open:

  • Guess – 94,764
  • Actual – 94,839

The law of averages is pretty amazing sometimes, eh?

Anyway, I am winding down. Had to work double-time today because I was busy all last night. I want to be wrapped up by the end of the weekend and get the new draft into the hands of first readers. At this rate, I should make it with plenty of time left. It was looking iffy for a while. These last few chapters must have been written with a wee drop of whiskey in me because there was a lot that needed fixing.

But it is fixed and I still managed 42 pages tonight. I’ve usually only been doing 15 to 30 on weekdays so today was surprisingly quick for having so much work to do. I don’t think there are any “bad” chapters left to get through, especially not after the whole rewrite that I made a huge deal about.

I’m very happy with the way things are looking. Very happy.

So that is good.

That is very good.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Why I Write

I’m not an author, but I am a writer and I’m going to talk about a pretty common topic/question that writers get so don’t expect anything ground-breaking here.

Anyone with a passion has at some point been asked “why.” Why do you write? Why do you paint? Why do you fix cars? Why do you go to work each day? Everyone has their own answers, something that drives them. It could be internal, external, a mix of both. A person might slave away at work for the family just as easily as an artist slaves away at a painting because of expectations.

There is a stereotype that sometimes people like me take cubical jobs for the stability and then everything is happy forever. Sure, the stability is a huge part of it, it is certainly nice to know that for 8 hours of work I’ll get 8 hours of pay. I got into a twitter fight with an “arteest” type who essentially told me all cubical jockeys were cunts who expected life on a silver platter.

Needless to say I no longer buy his stuff or go to his site at all.

But I digress. Engineering is a passion of mine and luckily one in high enough demand that I can use it to fund my more creative endeavors like writing and going to sports games in an increasing number of scarves. I’m lucky that I can enjoy going to work long enough to not go crazy. Not everyone is lucky like that.

Every economy has two sides: creator and consumer. If you are an artist and all you do is mock and bash middle America, your consumers, you’re pretty much a cunt. There is more to life than a pay cheque and day-in and day-out the grind gets boring. We look to artists to provide. I’m fairly confident that most people like me are more than happy to pay for escapism. Yet I constantly see creators complaining that we want it free, or treat them poorly. Maybe I surround myself with decent people but I rarely hear engineers talking about how artists don’t deserve to get paid. I rarely hear CAD designers talking about stealing music.

I do hear it from a lot of people who’d rather not resort to it. People who illegally download the CDs to afford the concert ticket. I won’t defend their actions, but I rarely see people download something because “Fuck the artist, man!”

And it is just that, people who spend five days a week in a cube often are the people who need and want escapism the most. Are the most willing to pay for that hour or two in bed next to a loved one reading a book or listening to Starbomb’s newest album.

My writing comes from a different sort of escapism. It was an escapism of school, of bullies, of social insecurity. It was also an escapism from what teachers wanted me to read. Dull, dry books that were better for putting young boys to sleep than engaging them with the arts.

Too often I was told I should read literature instead of genre so I chose to hate literature and create genre. I wanted to write stories about knights and dragons, about hidden languages and magic, about nations at war and getting the girl.

My writing filled a hole left by the constant demand of school to read things deemed “important” or “significant.”

Things deemed “important” and “significant” rarely contain dragons.

Just saying.

My first book is lost, it was last seen on a 3.5″ floppy. My next one was probably right beside it. Everything after that is saved. I have it on this computer I am typing on right now. That includes

  • An insane Harry Potter knock off if instead of magic it was ROTC on crack
  • A nihilistic sci-fi take on World War I set in space
  • A Forest Gump-esque take on vampire novels
  • Several dystopian war novels
  • A rehash of the nihilistic WWI novel set in a PMC operating inside western China
  • Several hundred ideas for a series of slap-stick short stories involving “Percival Mellowfeather” a joke shared among a group of friends
  • Project XIII – my successful attempt at NaNoWriMo in 2012
  • Project XIV – my unsuccessful attempt to turn PXIII into a real novel
  • Noortland

Noortland was something strange. Probably my first foray into “Dark Fantasy,” a place I am still firmly rooted. It is based off a particularly thrilling game of Civilization III I had back in highschool. It involved Lammert, a ranger; Alexandrine, a vampire rogue; Antonius, a wolfman; and their quest to overthrow the vampire King Constantine on behalf of his brother, Valentine – Alexandrine’s father.

To be fair, it was kind of shit.

To be honest it was total shite on a stick.

That’s where we come to Project XV, which has the working title “Sun-King” (and it is still a working title).

Sun-King is, in so many ways, is Noortland given new life. The maps are similar-ish, the settings are similar-ish, the characters are similar-ish.

Project XIII struck a chord with me, I knew that I wanted to write in a darker tone, I wanted to write from the perspective of characters that were not all good but not all evil. Like Noortland Project XIII was heavily based on an experience from a video game: namely that evil characters in a rail-roaded video game are still inherently treated as good. In my own case, my back-stabbing rogue who was an embodiment of the Void (death) was still treated as the great hero so long as I kept killing dragons.

I was infinitely amused at character’s willingness to trust me in story missions but on the flip side, essentially had to play two characters – my character outside of missions, killing and plundering all the way; and this second character, honest and trustworthy inside the story. So Project XIII was about two characters stuck in one body, one wholly good and the other wholly evil. Plus it involved Ice Elves, which I think are decently rare.

That was fun.

Project XIV… I don’t really remember anything from project XIV.

So in 2013, when I got laid off, I took a chance to start writing again. Having recently quit writing my serial, Baltikja, on the Paradox fora I had some free time and a willingness to write. A passion and a drive.

I wanted, I guess still want, to finish this.

From August 2013 to June 2014 I wrote Drafts 1 and 1.5. Draft 3 was written from December 2014 to January 2015. I documented some of that process here making sure to stop in just about every single day.

Project XV is Noortland re-imagined, re-invigorated, and the proportions blown up. It is written from my perspective, seen through my lenses and informed by who I am. All the characters are slices of myself or people I know. The interact with each other, with their world, and more importantly with me.

Because I don’t write for you, dear reader, I write for me. I write for years lost to reading trite that I  despised. Years spent reading pseudo-intellectual new-age bullshit for the appeasement of high school teachers rather than my own curiosity. Years spent away from fantasy and genre and buried to my neck in things I didn’t enjoy.

So my apologies to Mr. Albrecht, if he is even reading, I liked your class. I liked working with you in theater.

But holy shit, to my English/Reading teachers in High School – fuck you and the horses you road in on.

Fuckyouzard

I write, primarily, then to make up for lost time. So it is no surprise then that Sun-King involves Einar, the ranger; Rozenn, the immortal knight; Pallas, a wolfman from the highlands; and newcomer Gwennerch, a witch from a far-off land. It is no surprise that A work of my youth is finally so close to life. So close to publication that the younger me is starting to emerge again.

I have found new first readers. I hope that within a month I can begin the last bit of editing before I send the draft off to copy editing and then, maybe, start the hunt for an agent or finish putting it together for self publication.

Who knows?

I certainly don’t.

I just write for the fun of it all.

Conlanging (Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck)

Son of a bitch, I told myself I wouldn’t do any conlanging for this series.

I told myself and for some reason I have the wikiarticle to the International Phonetic Alphabet open in one tab and a multitude of grammar articles open.

Last night, filled with some ideas, I started writing in my little gridded notebook some notes that to the unenlightened would look little different than Quenya.

[hjmi njfɔlm] “I had a dog”

[mia njfɔlm] “We have a dog” (We here is inclusive, meaning the listener is included)

ɪmiga e mjfɔlwð] “He will have the dogs”

So that is about all the language has right now. I have a verb for “to go” as well and some pronouns, though as you can probably notice the subject is optional when made obvious by conjugation (e.g. “I” is made obvious because it uses the first person singular conjugation, but he/she/it use the same conjugation and therefore need it).

Conlanging then, if you didn’t get it, is the art/science/past time of making up languages. There are lots of ways to do it, it is a ton of fun for those of us with a background in linguistics or a pretty alphabet. It can be as simple as Pig Latin  or as complex as Ithkuil. It can be as realistic as Quenya or as simplistic as Esperanto.

Right now the language as it is is strongly rooted in the languages I speak or have been studying: English, German, Irish, and Esperanto.

So shall we deconstruct things a bit? That’s sort of what I want to do because talking about it with you will help me think about it as well. All these examples are, therefore, works in progress. In two weeks none of these things might exist. They might all be different. So grain of salt and such.

Okay, so we are going to take a step back. Of the three sentences two of them have only two words. I’m going to shorten them into something I can write with only my keyboard and not copy-pasting. By the way, things in //s are theoretical and things in []s are in practice. So let us transcribe these three sentences.

“hmi nfolm” I had a dog

“mia nfolm” We have a dog (inclusive)

“thmiga e mfolwth” He will have the dogs

So, between sentences 1 and 2 the change is “hmi” to “mia” and the changes in English are “I had” to “We have.” So we can guess that “nfolm” means “a dog.” This mostly implies that the language is either VSO or SVO (Verb-Subject-Object) or (Subject-Verb-Object).

We can confirm the word order with sentence 3, where we go from “mia” to “thmiga e”. We are assuming that the words “hmi” and “mia” are verbs that imply pronouns, something that is common in languages. Since “thmiga” has that “mi” base, we can take “e” to mean “he.” So the language is VSO, and uses conjugation to imply pronouns.

Now we only have three sentences, which makes data gathering hard. Lets add some more.

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “hren” – I go

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “(h)hren” – I went

ɪɹ̝̠̊en] “thhren” – I will go

Oh no, things aren’t getting easier. Two of those are pronounced the same! Well, as the language’s creator I can tell you the theoretical pronunciation of sentence 5:

/hjɹ̝̠̊en/

Which is very difficult to pronounce, in real life it would be realized as the given sentence 5.

We can combine 1, 2, 4, and 5 and see that going from present to past tense adds a /h/ at the head of the word. In the same way we can use 2, 3, 4, and 6 to say making present to future tense adds /θ/ at the head of the word. Using English words it would look like:

(I) Go – I go

(I) Hgo – I went

(I) Thgo – I will go

So if “hmi” is “I had” and “mia” is “We have” we can subtract the “h” to get “I have” (“mi”), which means that adding an “a” at the end changes the plurality of the person (“I” becomes “we”). Same Idea as above:

(I) Go – I go

(We) Goa – We go

So, what about the end of that? “Thmiga e”. If we know “e” is “he” and the “th-” is future tense, that makes “-ga” the third person singular conjugation.

It is going to get a bit harder with “nfolm” and “mfolwth.” The word for “dog” is “folm.” In my work so far “n-” is the indefinite article and “m-” is the definite article. The plural is “-th” but it also mutates the consonant before it. /M/ just happens to mutate to /w/ in this particular case (funnily when /m/ undergoes lenition in Irish, it turns into /w/, that is why “good” is “maith” and “good night” is “oíche mhaith”).

Anyway, I am rambling and I am actually going to do some editing tonight. This is a pleasant distraction to me and I’ve enjoyed sharing a slice of madness with you.

Oíche mhaith! [ihə wa]