Fantastic Friday Writers - Languages

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Another edition of Fantastic Friday Writers. Today we are talking about languages. As a writer, you have many option on how to convey languages in your story. You can simply tell the reader the characters are speaking a different language, use a few sparing words throughout the dialogue, or create a brand new language entirely.

I'm going to talk about an important part dealing with the last two options. Any time you create a new word, phrase, or entire language, one thing you must consider is how you want your language to sound. Soft and smooth, or more rough and harsh?

Soft sounds include letters like d, s, l, m, b, while harsh sounds include k, t, g, p. So, when creating your new words or language, you can clue in on certain letters to make your language sound the way you want.

For example, when cretaing new words for the faerys in Burden of Prophecy I wanted their language to be very soft sounding. So I tried to avoid using k or t in the words, or if I did, I used them very sparingly. So, I came up with words like verlina (a flower that has addictive properties but most often used for healing purposes) and faena (woman).

So what about your characters in their own worlds? What languages do they speak and how do they sound?

Now, for a bit of fun, I like to doodle on paper to see what my new language would look like in text. For a soft sounding language, like the faery's in Burden of Prophecy, I decided to go with something with lots of curves, loops, and long tails to add to the softness and elegance I wanted to show for the language. I never actually made an official text of my faery's language or I'd show you a picture. However, it is still fun to figure things like that out, even just for a feel of how your characters would write a letter or a note.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Fantastic Friday Writers to see what they say about languages! Our group has more than doubled since the last post, so please make sure to stop and welcome our newest members! They are all great fantasy and sci-fi writers, and you can learn more about them here.

Fantastic Friday Writers - Magic

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Hello everyone. Here is another installment of Fantastic Friday Writers. We are talking about magic this week.

How do you define magic in fantasy writing? Spells, powers, things that cannot be explained. All of the above?

The elves in my book Cleanse Fire having keen eye sight, hearing, and can heal rather quickly. While that is beyond normal abilities for humans it is the norm in my elves' world - so that's not magic. But the faery's in Burden of Prophecy are born with powers and they attend school to learn and master them. While it is the norm for them in their world, it's magic. I would say magic to me is something beyond normal human capabitilities, but that would include more than I wanted.

Now, when you have magic in your stories one must consider the rules. Rules?! I know, I hate rules too, but in order to make your magic seem realistic it must have some sort of restrictions. Ask yourself the following questions: 1) If my character uses their magic what happens to them? Do they get tired, weak? If they go too far can they die? 2) Where does their magic come from? Inside the character? From nature? Some other force? 3) What culture aspects come into play with my character magic? Meaning are there laws against using it? Perhaps religious consequences/rewards? 4) Who has magic and why? Only the first born? Only women or only men?

Once you have those questions figured out then y ou can begin to shape the magic in your world into something tangible. Then you can determine at what age does their magic show up and how do they learn to master it. Do their powers show at birth or closer to puberty? Do they attend school or do their parents simply teach them control of their powers? If you have spells in your story rather than powers, the same questions apply. At what age do they begin learning the spells and who teaches them?

Since magic is a huge part of writing fantasy and even sci-fi sometimes, you have to consider all the rules, restrictions, and other considerations of your characters magic. If a character can use their magic willy-nilly with no consequences and has the ability to do anything, it takes all of the suspense out of the story. After all, an all powerful character can fix and get out of anything right?

Don't forget to check with the rest of the Fantastic Friday writer team at their blogs and see what they say about magic.

JDBrown ~~~~ Elizabeth Mueller ~~~~ Deirdra Eden-Coppel ~~~~ Alex J. Cavanaugh