or, A Crash Course in Public Relations
I started this post wondering if I would, in fact, finish it. Because we live in a world of mass communication and everyone has had to interact with journalists of varying stripes, right? So, who needs advice on dealing with the media?
Then I realized that I had gotten most of my information from classes taken as an adult, one sponsored by New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and the other sponsored by the Connecticut Tax Collectors Association, along with a smattering of hints that I picked up on the fly by reading blog posts on unrelated subjects. I went to public school; most of my education was snatched at random from unrelated subjects, so I’m used to that method of learning. But not everyone’s mind works that way, so I started thinking, maybe there is a need for all of this information, and a need for it all in one place.
(Okay, I confess: I’m also writing this post to fix the material in my mind so I can pass a test on it in two weeks)
I’m (somewhat reluctantly) working on a story in a new universe. Ground dwelling fairies are fighting with tree dwelling fairies and won’t tell me why. Why must these things pop into my head when I have the least amount of time or energy to deal with them?
But if I could answer that question, I’d be rich, and I wouldn’t mind having nine thousand projects all pop up at once, because I could take my time in sorting them out.
Ahem. Never mind. The point is that a new writing universe requires new characters and places, and that brings us to naming conventions.
If you’re like me, you get a great idea for a story, do a bit of research, and promptly get so lost in the research that you forget to write the story (I’m still irked over the loss of that novel about Byzantine iconoclasm. Maybe I’ll get it back. Someday).
But that’s only one of the perils of research, and in this post, I’d like to focus on the ways a writer can be tripped up by the research itself, particularly in historical research, since most of my (limited) experience is in that field. Read more
Languages are anything but static. Some change very slowly, like French- which owes much of its ponderousness to a government department specifically tasked with rooting out heretic words that creep in from the outside. Other languages undergo periods of very rapid change- the English of Chaucer (late 1300s) would be very confusing to Shakespeare (late 1500s and early 1600s). Two hundred years seems like a long period of time, but in the history of an entire country, it’s a drop in the bucket.
English doesn’t just borrow words; it lifts whole phrases and grammatical ideas from other languages without so much as a by-your-leave. With the coming of the Saxons to Britain, Germanic languages crashed headlong into Brythonic and became Old English. Then the Vikings went for a multi-century beer run starting in the late 700s and left behind a bunch of Norse words, because who doesn’t invent a new language every time they go out carousing? In 1066, William the Bastard decided he didn’t like his name, and brought Norman French with him when he went to the town clerk’s office to have his name legally changed to William the Conqueror. Read more
I forgot that I was supposed to post this afternoon, and I’m feeling like crap, so you get something funny today: Read more
Let’s talk about school. I hated it. I think a good portion of us did, especially if you, like me, went through the American public school system. It was boring and dull, and though I wasn’t bullied or harassed, I didn’t gain any useful social skills out of it, either. Fortunately for future generations, there are new schooling methods on the horizon, some of which could cause massive changes in our society. Read more