It’s been a rough week on the wordsmithing front. Here are the details:
Story of G:
- New Draft Wordcount: 0
- Background Notes Wordcount: 0
Book of M:
- Background Notes Wordcount: 1,015 words
Grand Total: 1,015 words
After a pretty fantastic week with over six thousand words, a mere thousand is a big letdown. But it’s not a big surprise. I knew this week would be leaner than last week on wordcount – though I didn’t expect it to be quite so lean. So, what happened this week?
Well, I started out by losing two whole writing days to a pressing concern in the backyard. A veritable jungle of bamboo has been steadily expanding, and was now threatening to engulf the AC compressor unit, which would have rendered our home uninhabitable had the bamboo succeeded. But after spending most of the evening two days bushwhacking through the Casa Chez Watkins Outback, I was pretty exhausted. After the second day, I succumbed to a growing urge to play a video game. I was too exhausted to have the energy to do anything creative, anyway. But I find video games, in small doses, can be surprisingly rejuvenative.
When I finally did have time to write, I was beset by a challenging problem: one of the main characters in my “Book of M” hasn’t yet a name. At one point I’d been using a particular name, but I’d rejected it. The problem is… without a name, I find it difficult to connect with the character. I don’t really know how to write about the character if he hasn’t got a name. And seeing as he’s the co-protagonist, this has begun to hamper my ability to work out the plot of the book. Compounding the problem: I don’t feel like I can just randomly “come up with a name” and call it good. Although I don’t intend to go into Tolkienian detail, with regard to languages in this world, as an amateur linguist I consider it a matter or principle that I should address language in my work in a realistic manner. That means that even if I don’t work out the actual nitty-gritty details of the languages spoken in this world, that at least the names of the characters are phonologically consistent within their cultural and language groups.
The two co-protagonists are from different culture and language groups. (Incidentally, this also means that I have to work out how and why it is that these two characters are able to communicate with each other, seeing as how they natively speak different languages.) The primary protagonist, I have an idea of what her language is supposed to sound like. I built that sound around the character’s name, which I’d already settled on fairly firmly early on. I made a few notes regarding her language. But her co-protagonist… him I’ve been less sure of.
So, before naming him, I’ve been trying to think about the culture he comes from. And the language. I’ve been toying now with the idea of doing a Germanic/Celtic cross-over language for his people. Right now, I have no idea what that would sound like, or look like – except that it would certainly have some sort of palatal or velar fricative. You know, the “ch” in the Scottish “Ach” and “Loch” and the German “Ich” as in “Ich bin ein Berliner”. So, basically, I used what little writing time I have to begin a study and survey of the phonology of German and of a Celtic language, in this case, Scottish Gaelic – to see if I could come up with a melding of the two. Then, I’d be able to come up with a name that was phonologically consistent with this hypothetical language. So, that ate into some of my writing time as well – and I’m not near done with that linguistic survey, yet.
So, that’s where I stand. How was your writing week?