Take the Advice You’re Given

So, this might come as a shock to some of you, but I’m pretty hard on myself. I know over the last two months I’ve come across as patient, honest, and forgiving when it comes to my constantly slipping achievements.

Except I’m not any of those things.

I can say all the right things, tell everyone how it’s just not reasonable to expect so much of myself, and my brain knows it’s all right. All true. But, that doesn’t keep the disappointment and irritation out of my heart. I’m angry. Frustrated. I have high standards for myself and when I fall short, there’s no forgiveness.

It’s buck up and do better.

And I’ve failed at that too.

I’ve been battling some major anxiety over how rusty I am when it comes to writing fiction. I know the only way to get better is to write more. The only way to shake off the rust is to get moving. But, I’m stuck. It’s like I’m asphyxiating every time I look at Scrivener.

And I’m really pissed off about it.

But, I’ve made an attempt to talk to others about it, since it seems that I am out of my element. My own counsel has brooked no progress. It’s time to talk to someone. Luckily I have a really amazing support system.

My husband, who’s just as driven as I am, though we have very different methods in chasing our dreams, said that I need to get writing. Even if it’s just a sentence at a time. He’s not wrong. When it comes to my writing he knows it’s all I’ve ever truly wanted to do, and he knows that every day that passes without words added to the page is killing me. So, he’s harsh in his delivery. Suck it up and sit down to write. Yeah, he’s not wrong.

But I’ve been telling myself that for months.

A friend of mine had some insight that really helped me though. He said, “How long have you been done with school?” I finished school August 9th. “It’s been two months.” He stared at me. “That’s not even a summer break!” I shrugged it off. I haven’t had a summer break in over two years, since I took classes each summer term. “If you’re not writing again by January 9th, be concerned,” he said.

When I asked why he basically spoke some logic at me. I’ve been giving 150% for the last two years. 45+ hour work weeks, school full time, reading constantly, and editing for The Audient Void. I even managed to do some writing projects, and graduate Magna Cum Laude. I’ve been hurtling through space and time, and suddenly I’ve stopped.

The adjustment is awful, but his point is that I need to establish a new normal. One where I sleep again. One where two venti iced coffees isn’t required to make me feel “normal”. One where sitting on the sofa reading isn’t a chore. And where playing video games isn’t a sin.

When Trevor and I spoke about my anxiety and frustration again, after absorbing my friend’s advice, it seemed Trevor had been thinking about it too.

He told me that my energy isn’t the same as his. It’s not this driven, powerhouse of determination and sheer will. I balked at first, but he continued. My energy, he said, is creative. It’s a well that has to be full and siphoned off of. And when it’s ready, I’ll crave it again. I’ll crave sitting for hours in front of screen, chasing the blinking cursor that promises something new with each letter.

And I knew he was right. Because I’ve felt the hints of it already. When I worked on my Novel Announcement for NaNo, I felt really excited for this book for the first time in years. Instead of just trepidation. Instead of intimidation. Instead of fear. When I listen to songs and hear characters in them, instead of just words.

It’s coming back to me. Trickle by trickle. Remember the Leaky Faucet Theory? Well, I’ve used every lost drop of myself these last two years. And to much success. I’m proud of my achievements, but it’s time I took the advice of the people around me. The people who are watching from the outside, and are starting to see the cracks in the mud. I’m drying out, and punishing myself for not writing will only make things worse.

So, I’m going to work really hard to ease up on myself. I’m still going to work on From the Quorum, and I can already feel the wheels turning in preparation for NaNo. There’s been a change in me, and it feels right. Here’s hoping it’s a flood gate. But, I will not hate myself for falling short. As I tried to reason to myself, writing is a muscle. Mine has atrophied over the last two years. It’s going to take time to get back to my dizzying pace from before school. I was writing 2k+ a day, sometimes five days a week! That’s insane for someone with a full time job. And I can’t get back to that overnight.

It’s time to take the advice around me, and treat myself with respect, patience, and understanding. I’ve worked hard, and if I hope to continue to do so, I need to take a breather without fear of retribution from anyone. Let alone myself.

Anyway, I really wanted to express my thanks to the people who keep me grounded in reality, but offer me solutions for chasing my dreams. You’re awesome. Thank you for always helping me, even when you don’t think you do. And because of you I’m really going to try and be kinder to myself. I’m not perfect, and I’ll probably have bad days, but I hear you.

I’m listening.

 

BZ

The Matter of a Complete Overhaul

Blogland,

I’ve just sat down, printed out the “Draft 3” of The Portrait of Sterling Madison, and gone over it. Truth is, I’m not a fan of it. It’s a very rough first person narrative, whose narrator is weak-voiced and tells the reader everything. It’s aimless for the most part, with a few brief scenes of vibrancy.

These scenes are what give me hope.

After a careful read through, I asked myself, “Why is it vital that this narrator tell the story?” And I realized, it isn’t. It really isn’t. Things just happen to her. She has no control over them. The events in her life are horrible and inevitable. So why in the hell is it told from her perspective?

A great professor once told me that you want your narrator to be the person with the most information. Now, that doesn’t mean they necessarily tell all, but they have the most knowledge.

Turns out, my current narrator is very much in the dark. But the other character, the antagonist, is quite knowledgeable.

the-portrait

How do I not own any red pens?

So, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this particular story is a complete rewrite at this time. That’s OK. To be honest, I pretty much expected it. When I first wrote this story it was my second year of creative writing classes, and I was enthralled with the concept of unreliable narrators. I absolutely HAD to write one.

Turns out it is really hard. Like, lying awake at night cursing every author you’ve read that’s pulled it off, hard. I’m a straightforward person who writes straightforward third-person narratives for most of my fiction. This project was way ahead of my skill level at the time.

But I knew that, and would revisit the story from time to time to see if my further honed skills could do anything meaningful with it.

Now I’m willing to gut the piece entirely, walk away with a sense of setting, premise, and characters, and literally start over. Some of the scenes will stay, and the ending is the same, but they’ll be rewritten in another character’s voice and perspective.

I’m actually really excited about it! I’ve been sitting on this story for years, and it’s stagnated in my indecision about how to tackle it. Finally I have a game plan. A complete rewrite isn’t ideal, but I guarantee the story will be better for it. Already this character’s voice is so much stronger. He’s endearing and funny, which will make the ending so much better.

I’m counting this as “Edits” on my whiteboard, by the way. I just went through, gutted the entire piece, and outlined its reincarnation. That sounds like “Edits” to me.

I’m not sure that Jordinn’s Story will see much action this week after all. Unfortunate, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading and working on house projects. There’s still the rest of the evening and tomorrow, so hopefully I can finish chapter 7. Just 2,000 more words…

Man, my writing muscles are out of shape!

Also, for those of you keeping track, I finished listening to Elric of Melniboné. elric

…Well, kind of. I fell asleep listening to the last 30 minutes of it. Three times. I’m calling it good. I won’t be doing a full fledged review because I don’t have many nice things to say about it. Perhaps it was the audio narration, but this book was dry and boring. Elric was such a drama queen, and Cymoril was useless. She was intelligent, but Elric ignored her counsel time and again, after which she existed only as property to be fought over by Elric and her brother Yyrkoon.

Also, these names are cool, but ridiculous. Especially when you’ve only been listening to them and are trying to Google search them in order to ensure proper spelling for you blog post… Good grief, man!

There were a lot of gods and demons mentioned and named, but never really explained. I think this book suffered in its audio format, but I don’t think it will be so greatly redeemed by a paper version as to seek it out and give it another go. Two weeks of listening was enough.

I’m hitting stride with Golden Son, and still powering through this listen of The Neverending Story. It’s starting to live up to its name. I’m on disc five, but the movie is pretty much over by the time these events occur. I’m worried about the eight remaining discs. Very worried.

My next “chores” audiobook, aka what I read when I’m not driving, and don’t have time to read my physical book, is Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. I always wanted to read The Dark is Rising Sequence as a child, and just never got around to it. Hopefully this narration is better than the last one.

Oh yeah, this came in the mail today too. You could say I’m pretty happy about it.Bachelors.jpg

See you all soon Blogland,

 

BZ

 

 

August at Last!

Blogland!

It’s here! That phantom month I swore would never come: August!

School ended on the ninth, and though it wasn’t the strongest finish, it’s over and done with and I’m not looking back. The degree is on its way, and tomorrow my Starbucks district is throwing its two graduates a party, open to family, friends, coworkers, and customers.

At first I wasn’t too excited, but now that it’s here, I’m really looking forward to it.

Also, one of my best friends got married on Saturday, and I got to get all glammed up and share in the day with her as a bridesmaid. A stressful, emotional, and truly beautiful day. It was the last hurdle before my life could take on a new normalcy.

Bolt wedding

Me and the AZ bestie at the OR bestie’s wedding!

FREEDOM!

Last night we had my other best friend, who just moved to Salem, over for dinner and watched movies. Trevor and I have watched more Stargate SG1 this past week than we have in months, and I’m actually able to do chores around the house.

It feels too good to be true.

Which is why reality had to make its presence felt this morning.

My library manager called to let me know that, while I was a top contender for the Library Assistant III position, someone with a stronger business and management background was selected.

I had a rough hour dealing with the news. It’s hard to apply for the same position three times and not get it. When you’re literally already doing the job. I was (am) confused and disappointed. But, it sounds like there may be a silver lining that could lead to a better fit for me at the library. We’ll see. It’s all very nebulous right now, and I don’t want to talk too much about it until I have more details.

Now, enough with this hurray and boo-hoo business. There’s work to get done!

So, let’s talk goals.

Today is my first day back at the computer with a mind toward the blog and fiction. That’s going to take some time to get used to, since I haven’t had that mindset since summer 2014. And even then, I had a wedding to plan. Now I’m truly free to pursue my creative endeavors, and I’m excited to get to it.

I woke up at 8:30, but loitered around until just after 9 when I hung up with my manager. Then I spent thirty minutes contacting the people I needed to inform about the news, taking care of the dog, brewing coffee, and moping quite impressively while doing it. There was a lot of talking out loud, which it turns out is a lot less weird when there’s an animal in the house.

Simon grinning

Our dog-child, Simon.

But, now the coffee’s brewed. I’m sitting in my writing room, which is currently just a desk pushed into a doorless closet, and boxes upon boxes of books stacked in one corner. But it’s mine… even if the dog bed takes up the remaining floor space right now.

So, what’s the plan?

Honestly, I don’t really know. I’m still waiting for a little more feedback on The Steel Armada before I get to work gutting and fleshing it out for its third draft. But, I mean it when I say I won’t touch Cards until I think The Steel Armada is at its best.

But, Since the Fire, a short story set in the same world as Cards, and acts as a little prequel is in various stages of editing, and I’d like to get it to a “finished” state. It’s always nice to have completed works waiting in the wings.

There’s also the short story The Portrait of Sterling Madison. I gave it a reread a couple weeks ago, and it’s not as bad as I remember. I’ve also just read a vast assortment of horror, and think now just might be the time to get it finished too. Plus, I think it’d be a good fit for The Audient Void.

But, of course, the real project is working on Jordinn’s Story again. Even now, I’m listening to the playlist I built for it, and I can’t wait to get back to these characters. It’ll be hard to pick up and make it all cohesive after two years away from it, but I’m too excited to care. This part of my mind has been in stasis, sitting with Ellesaire in that basement boudoir, mourning a love that was stolen from her.

For real though, I read the last chapter a month or so ago, to sort of get a refresher, and I cried for how I left them all. It’s time to go back.

But, I don’t think I can just dive in. I’m too far away from it right now. What I need to do is reread it, go over my thin outlines, and get the brain working on those. Flesh out outlines and plan more chapters, that will get me moving in the right direction, so that I can hopefully start writing again by the end of this week, early next week.

In the meantime, I have a book review to write for you all. I won’t go as far back as The Magician King, because the details are hazy now, but The Magician’s Land is fresh in my mind still. I should be able to do it justice.

magicians land
So, here I am blogland. Back at it. The goal from here on out is to get up around 7, walk and feed dog, send husband to work with coffee. Drink coffee, read for an hour while I eat, and then write for three hours before work. That’s my plan. I’m going to give myself time to settle into the routine, but hopefully by September I’ll be comfortable in it and getting work done.

Talk at you all tomorrow! I am so happy to be back!

 

BZ

 

… Still not August…

Hi Blogland,

Just checking in to tell y’all that I’ve updated the “What I’m Reading Page”. There hasn’t been a ton of progress, and what progress there is comes thanks to audiobooks. What I did before them is a mystery to me.

There’s a couple Graphic Novels that have helped get me by as well. But, mostly I’m drifting in a sea of neglected homework. I knew this last term was going to be intense, but I was woefully unprepared for my own apathy toward the coursework. Even though I find the writing exercises in Intermediate Creative Writing interesting, I have ZERO interest in writing a memoir. And the readings for my horror class are also interesting. But, I have absolutely no drive to write eight annotations a week.

Point is, is it August 9th yet? Oh, so close!

I’ll see you all then. In the meantime, keep an eye on my reading page, as I slowly make updates.

 

BZ

Counting

Sometimes, life just gets away from you. You know?

You get so caught up in your day-to-day, trying to be the reasonable adult you’ve been masquerading as all this time, that the things that really matter to you fall away.

This blog is one of those things.

Thanks to those of you who still check in. I see your views on my phone, and the simultaneous guilt and gratitude they elicit in me keeps me going.

You’ve all heard the excuses, the reasons before. School, work, life, blah blah blah. It’s all still here, and it’s all still true. And it’s all still irritating the shit out of me.

But, the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter now.

By mid-August I will be done with my Bachelor’s degree, and hopefully only working one full time job. Also, my husband and I will be settled in our new house!

I’ve got a writing room all planned out, so keep your eyes open for pictures in the coming months as progress is made.

And so I set my sights on August. I hang my hopes and dreams from the peak of the “A” and count the days to when I can put all this energy into the one thing that’s been missing from my life these last two years.

I so desperately miss writing. Here I thought my Sci-Fi writing class would help, and instead it woke the thing in me that demands creation. I’d managed to lull it to sleep with French and Art History homework, and appeased it with so much literature that it had no time to think of writing.

And then I wrote 28 pages for a Cards story.

I can only describe the feeling as a pure and utter longing. An ache that no amount of reading can fully satiate. In fact, even my reading has suffered. I think, since I read The Magician King, I’ve read two books. Two books since March. It makes me want to cry and scream.

I am capable of so much more. But guilt-tripping myself only leads to petulant bouts of procrastination. Instead of finishing Sharp Ends, I read 56 chapters of a Mass Effect fanfiction. One I’ve already read! And now that that’s done, I’ve started another play-through of the games.

I fear that my hard fought discipline has let itself go, and that putting the metaphorical pen to paper in August will prove more difficult than it should. That I’ll sit down, desperate to write anything, and instead I’ll just waste time staring at the desk.

Even as I give life to the fear by sharing it here, I already know that this is a very typical writerly fear. It’s kind of what makes a writer. That inexplicable and absolutely crushing self-doubt. And as much as I try, I’ve yet to succumb to it.

I doubt I’ll start in August.

Anyway, I’ve cast aside some lectures in order to write this. I don’t regret it, but I must curtail it for now. Hopefully I’ll talk to you all soon, but I won’t make any promises. July is going to be a hectic month. But August…

Yeah. August. I’ll see you then.

 

BZ

Eastern Street Slang: the Life of an Invented Anti-Language

Hi Blogland!

School is officially out, and I’m doing my damnedest to enjoy the two weeks before summer term starts. I need to be rested and refreshed, because this summer term is bound to be intense. And its the homestretch. If I’m going to hit Summa Cum Laude, there’s no room for error in the next two months.

Also, I felt I should update you all, we found a house! We close June 14th, and move in the following weekend. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but we couldn’t be more excited. Expect the blog to take an oddly HGTV spin during June and July as we paint and take on new DIY projects along with home-ownership.

But, on to the purpose of this post. I promised I’d share my paper on Eastern Street Slang, and I’m sorry it took so long to publish. I had to wait for grades to come back so I didn’t get dinged for plagiarizing myself. But, here it is, in its 6+ page glory.

If this isn’t of interest to you, I do want to mention that work is still ongoing with The Audient Void, and that I’ve updated my reading page. There should be a book review of The Magician King sometime soon.

Thanks, as usual, for reading and following. Enjoy my attempt at shedding an academic light on my fangirl obsessions.

Eastern Street Slang: the Life of an Invented Anti-Language
by Brittany Zelkovich

          Language is an inescapable facet of human existence. It’s how we communicate with our friends, families, and coworkers. Language allows us to not only make sense of the world around us but to experience it, and then share those experiences with others. So it’s only logical that, in our efforts to explore and express the world and ourselves, that our art would include language.

          Many works of fiction feature invented languages. “A number of authors have used constructed languages to give their stories depth and intellectually stimulating plot twists and to address mature themes,” (Boozer, 101). Some of these languages, such as Tolkien’s Elvish or the Klingon language from Star Trek, have become household names. Others aren’t quite as well known, such as the Elvhen spoken in the Dragon Age video game series. But all of them serve a purpose in their respective works, usually as a native language of some indigenous species. These languages, though invented, “are supposed to be real in their respective fictional contexts” (Peterson, 19). One fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson, took a different path with his invented language. Instead of an indigenous language, he created an anti-language for characters of a socially and politically oppressed race in his Mistborn series, allowing them to speak without fear of being understood by their oppressors and, oftentimes, by the reader.

          First, a definition of an anti-language must be established. Halliday defines an anti-language as a “language generated by some kind of anti-society.” He goes further to say that, just as normal languages do, anti-languages maintain the social structure of its speakers but, in the case of anti-languages, that social structure is “of a particular kind, in which certain elements are strongly foregrounded.” An effective anti-language is purposefully obtuse. It should be difficult, if not impossible to understand if you’re not a member of that particular anti-society. An anti-society is, according to Halliday, “a society that is set up within another society as a conscious alternative to it. It is a mode of resistance…” It’s this definition that is key in categorizing Sanderson’s Eastern Street Slang as an invented anti-language.

Just as in real life, the environment of the Mistborn series directly affects Sanderson’s language. The Skaa are a race of people who have been oppressed by the Imperial government into servitude and destitution for over one thousand years. The setting of the first novel, Mistborn: the Final Empire, is in the capitol city of Luthadel. Conditions are bad for Skaa there. Crumbling tenement housing, ash piled in the streets, and the constant fear that some noble might notice you are realities for the Skaa. But the conditions in Luthadel are considered much better than those in the Eastern half of the country. To Lestibournes, later known by his nickname Spook, the capitol is bursting with opportunities for a young Skaa thief. He joins the rest of the characters in their heist plans upon his arrival in Luthadel, only to find that no one understands his speech. “’You’re wanted,’ he said in a thick Eastern accent. ‘Ups in the where above with the doing. With Master Jumps to the third floor’” (Sanderson, Mistborn 109). These are Spook’s first words in the series, and just like the character they were spoken to, readers don’t have a clue what he said. With context, the reader understands that the main character is supposed to head up to the third floor, but that’s all the language reveals. Hopes that further exposure will clear things up are quickly dashed. In one scene multiple characters speak the anti-language to purposefully confound and mock a particularly pretentious member of their crew, and while the scene is humorous, the meaning of the words spoken is still difficult to discern:

Spook frowned. “Niceing the not on the playing without.”
“I have no idea what you just said child,” Breeze said. “So I’m simply going to      pretend it was coherent, then move on.”
Kelsier rolled his eyes. “Losing the stress on the nip,” he said. “Notting without the needing of care.”
“Riding the rile of the rids to the right,” Spook said with a nod.
“What are you two babbling about?” Breeze said testily.
“Wasing the was of brightness,” Spook said. “Nip the having of wishing of this.”
“Ever wasing the doing of this,” Kelsier agreed. (Sanderson, Mistborn 397)

While, in this scene, the language is used for humor, it also lives up to Halliday’s definition. Spook speaks out against Breeze’s earlier implication that he used magic to get Spook to fetch him another glass of wine, and agreeing with the boy, Kelsier joins in to mock Breeze. But this is a small example of how Eastern Street Slang fits into the definition of an anti-language.

Later in the series, after Spook has become so much more than the crew’s errand boy, the reader finally learns more of his youth, and how he came to speak Eastern Street Slang in the first place. In one scene, between Spook and a love interest, the reader is shown that Spook still writes in the Slang, keeping his plans and thoughts private. “’It sounds like gibberish!’” She says to him, to which he replies, “’Wasing the how of wanting the doing’” (Sanderson, Hero of Ages 501). To translate, he says to her, ‘that’s how we wanted it’. He then goes on to reminisce on how it’d felt to speak the Slang, how it’d given him a “kind of power, being able to say things that only his friends could understand” (Sanderson, Hero of Ages 501). The very definition of an anti-language. But, just as in reality, life and language are not static, and so neither is Eastern Street Slang.

Sanderson’s Mistborn series moves beyond its original trilogy into a new series that takes place over three hundred years later in the same world. The events of the first trilogy have shaped the world considerably, and names and places have taken direct inspiration from the world’s history. There’s even a Lestibournes Square! So as the world changed and grew, Eastern Street Slang found a new purpose. And a new name:

‘Anyone here speak High Imperial?’
Waxillium shook his head.
‘Makes my head hurt,’ Wayne said.
‘I can read it, kind of,’ Marasi said. ‘Wasing the where of needing.’ (Sanderson, Alloy of Law 235)

What began as an incomprehensible anti-language spoken by a boy that was little more than a slave, has become a “lofty tongue” over three hundred years later, “used for old documents dating to the time of the Origin, and occasionally for government ceremony” (Sanderson, Alloy of Law 235). And even in its new uses, the language keeps it exclusivity and mystery, a nod to its anti-language roots. By creating a language that grows and develops with the world around it, Sanderson has added yet another layer of authenticity to his fiction.

As Don Boozer said, “authors have used imaginary languages to add a sense of realism to their work.” Authenticity is one reason why an author might choose to invent a language. Invented languages help to define and develop characters that readers might not have much experience with. Elves in Tolkien’s Middle Earth are very foreign to human readers, with their frigid demeanor, long life spans, and ethereal beauty. If they spoke the same language as the rest of Middle Earth, it wouldn’t make much sense. In order to create a believable and consistent world, Tolkien’s Elves should speak their own language. And this is what authors have done time and again as they create and perfect invented languages, in order to “…suggest their speakers’ experience within and perspective on a fictional sense of reality” (Sims, 160). From Elvish to Klingon, Klingon to Dothraki, and Dothraki to Eastern Street Slang, these languages are created to solve “an artistic problem, not a linguistic one” (Okrent, 282). And though Eastern Street Slang has almost nothing in common with Elvish or Klingon, it very much exists to solve an artistic problem. Sanderson needed to show the level of oppression in the world of Mistborn and show the subculture that struggled to survive, not just in the streets of Luthadel, but in the rest of the country. By creating an anti-society, and by giving that anti-society its own language, Sanderson added layers of detail to his novels, expanding the consequences of the novel beyond the walls of one city, and even beyond the events of a single trilogy. It’s these sorts of details that convince readers to believe in the worlds they explore in fantasy fiction. So, while Eastern Street Slang plays a small role in the actual plot of the novels, it is crucial to the success of the books. And Sanderson worked hard to create it.

Breaking down Eastern Street Slang in an effort to translate it is a difficult task. Thankfully, fans have been hard at work at interpreting and learning High Imperial, long before the research for this paper ever began. There are a couple key tricks to learning High Imperial. First, the language is in reverse word order of English. For the purposes of this text, “word order refers to the order of elements in a phrase and a sentence” (Peterson, 148). English word order is subject-verb-object. Meaning that our sentences, at their simplest, look like this:

“I ran home.”

But, High Imperial has reverse word order. So, verb-subject-object. What makes it so confusing is that High Imperial will often leave the subject out of the sentence because it’s usually implied or already known between the speakers. And if the subject of the sentence is the speaker, it will never be stated in the speech. So, to follow the same example:

“Wasing the running of there.”

That’s just the word order. What really makes High Imperial so confusing is that all verbs in the anti-language are turned into gerunds, or –ing verbs, regardless of tense. The tense is established by the first word of the sentence, in this case “Wasing”. The reader and listener know that what the speaker is talking about happened in the past. Present tense would start “Ising” and future “Willing”, respectively. If this isn’t complicated enough, Sanderson has said that as long as these basics are in the right places in the sentence, the speaker can throw in random words, in pretty much any place, in order to further obfuscate the meaning. That’s why “the” and “of” seem to be sprinkled throughout every sentence; because they are. Most of the sentences in Sanderson’s novels, and those created and shared on the internet between fans are simple in their structure, but Eastern Street Slang has the potential to get very confusing the longer and more complex the sentences become. Which is perfect for a language that exists in order to be difficult to understand. The more information you have to share, the harder it is to do so.

While constructed languages in fantasy fiction are fairly common, constructed anti-languages are much less so. Aside from Sanderson’s High Imperial, Anthony Burgess’s Nadsat comes to mind. This language was used amongst his characters in the cult-classic A Clockwork Orange who are members of the teen subculture in the novel. Even this comparison doesn’t quite work, since the tone and genre of the works are completely different. By creating and implementing an anti-language in his fantasy fiction Sanderson broke new ground for the genre. He used the language to not only further develop the world and add authenticity to his setting and characters, but to increase the stakes for his characters and further hook the reader. By adding an anti-language to the Skaa he created an anti-society readers would root for. Without the use of Eastern Street Slang, the novels would have lacked that level of depth and authenticity that keeps readers hooked for over 1,800 pages, and even the outcome of the series would have been different without the exclusive nature of the language. To put it bluntly, Sanderson’s anti-language is crucial to the outcome of events in his fictional world, and critical to the satisfaction of his readers. To take a lesson from Spook, notting without the speaking of it.

Works Cited

Boozer, Don. “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Languages”. Library Journal. Sept 16, 2006, Vol. 131 Issue 15, pp.101. Apr 18, 2016.

Halliday, M.A.K. “Anti-Languages”. American Anthropologist. New Series, Vol. 78, No. 3. Sept 1976, pp 570-584. Apr 18, 2016.

Okrent, Arika. In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language. Spiegel & Grau. 2009.

Peterson, David J. The Art of Language Invention. Penguin Books. 2015.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Alloy of Law. Tor Books. New York, New York. 2011.

—. The Hero of Ages. Tor Books. New York, New York. 2008.

—. Mistborn: The Final Empire. Tor Books. New York, New York. 2006.

Sims, Harvey J. “From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages”. Mythlore. Spring-Summer 2012, vol. 30 Issue 3-4, pp.159, 10p. Apr 18, 2016.

 

Two Weeks and Counting

Hello Blogland!

April has been a mad dash of sleepless nights. Between the two jobs both scheduling me more, which I hate to turn down since we’re trying to buy a house soon, and all the homework, I am working a lot of late nights and early mornings.

For instance, I woke up at 8 this morning, so I could get up and get to my nearest Starbucks so I could read and critique the last two short stories for my science fiction writing class. This week in particular is interesting because it was my turn to submit my story. So far, feedback has been good. People enjoy it, and there seems to be a general consensus on what needs work. That’s always a good thing.

So, I’m keeping tabs on that discussion thread so I can keep abreast of any new critiques.

I have a six page paper due on Thursday, which I haven’t started yet. But, I have an outline, all my sources lined up and ready to research, plus all the pages notated that I need for examples. My paper is on Brandon Sanderson’s creation and use of an anti-language in his Mistborn series. So, I’m pretty excited to write it.

When I get home from work tonight, I’ll sit down and get the first two/three paragraphs down. At least rough drafts of them.

What else?

We’re still waiting to hear back from the loan officer to get our pre-approval so we can start looking at houses. Because I don’t have enough on my plate.

So basically I’m just in an exhausted holding pattern until the 29th, when I’m off for just over two weeks before summer school starts.

I’m still reading in my very limited spare time. Magician King is turning out much better than its predecessor so far, so that’s good. Book Club is a touch MIA, but I’m about to rein it back in so we can meet up and discuss both Red Rising and Coraline.

Yeah, plus I keep stacking up a bunch of different books that pique my interest from the library. Because I have time for that.

I haven’t heard any news about The Audient Void release, so that’s on my radar to check in on. UGH! SO MUCH STUFF!

But, life is good. I have so many things I want to do, and that’s so much better than drifting along without any interests or passions.

I’ll see you soon Blogland.

 

BZ