East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Invoking the Emperor of Dreams

This is going to be an interesting weekend: I have a story I need to complete by Monday, and it’s turning into a headache. Its now 4 am in the morning as I write this (a very Lovecraftian state of affairs, don’t you think?) and I’ve started writing at 8 pm, and not a single word I wrote in these eight hours I did not cancel. repeatedly. And gladly so, because they sucked.

I have the outline, the plot points mapped, the characters and their names and traits and back story, I know what will happen, and how. The twist is there, and the drama and the irony. Everything’s perfect. What sucks, and sucks big time, is the language.

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Shadufs, prodigal sons, cuckolds and other anachronisms

anachronismLanguage in historical and pseudo-historical stories.
We talked about it back when The Great Swape/Shaduf Debate took place, and I also discussed briefly Ancient Profanities, Their Use and Abuse*.

I tend to give a modicum of attention to the words I use and the way my characters speak.
And I realize their speech patterns and usages are anachronistic.
Nennius Britannicus’ men speak like soldiers in a Viet-Nam movie – “C’mon boss, don’t be so square!”
Amunet’s speech patters vary with her mood – the more melancholy or worried or distracted she gets, the less polished her wording becomes – she says “Dunno” instead of “I don’t know” if she’s got something else on her mind.
Aculeo drops a lot of stuff – pronouns, particles, adverbs, he uses fewer words the more the situation’s heated and urgent – “You right, wench?”; but he can be articulated when he wants to play Amunet, for instance, “I guess I should be impressed by this Aegyptian whatchamacallit you did, right?” Continue reading