I work either in complete silence, or I create a play list with music appropriate for whatever I am working on. This was true in the 1980s and 1990s when I did a lot of coding, it is still true for my world building, and it will hold true for writing novels.
For my NaNoWriMo project, the playlist is currently this:
Needless to say, not all of these have a direct relation to the story. Some do. The selection is as much intended to just keep me focused on fast writing as it is on putting me in the right mood.
Once I am done with the novel, it may be fun to point out what parts of it I thought about when I picked the music. Of all the things that distinguishes movies from novels I think having a sound track is probably the greatest advantage for movies, and the least appreciated by the average consumer.
On a whim I just checked on H. P. Lovecraft’s year of death – it was 1937. This means that his works are now in the Public Domain here in Europe and, as Wikipedia states, likely in the United States and other countries, as well.
This is excellent news for everybody who loves the Cthulhu Mythos and would like to incorporate it in their own works, or expand upon it. I certainly have a few ideas myself. Of course care must be taken not to base your works off of something else that is derivative of Lovecraft’s work, such as the Call of Cthulhu role playing game, which obviously were created later and are therefore still protected.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, consult your lawyer before messing with anything legal 🙂
Someone who heard that my hobby is world-building today asked me what type of worlds I build. I tried to explain a little what andwhy I do it.
“I wondered whether these are dark worlds and whether you ‘escape’ to these worlds.”
Escapism is a great part of all parts of fantastic literature. But escapism isn’t really the core of what I am doing. I consider world-building to be primarily a creative outlet, a balance to a job that is firmly rooted in the normal world, and in science.
I also assured her that my worlds are fairly positive. “They’re about heroes and adventure,” I said. But I realize this was not really the core answer. Yes, my worlds are not totally bleak (although I have created bleak worlds). The point is not to create a depressing setting, the idea is to create a world that is interesting, compelling. This invariably means that the world must contain a grand conflict of some sort. The bigger, the better. In the real world, wars, famines, disasters, plagues, and alien invasions are a bad thing – in created, imaginary worlds they are not. There would be nothing for the protagonists to do; no wrongs to right, no villains to fight. Worlds must have conflict to be enjoyable.
And this also means, to get back to escapism, that we do not really want to live in the worlds we design. Sure, it may sound interesting and exciting but that’s just because we can safely ignore the pain and suffering that any such events would bring in the real world.
Another Inkscape work. I originally posted this on my main blog some time ago, but I figured it was much more appropriate here. It’s “Alternate History Art”, without being actually part of any specific setting.
I used an old German Zeppelin poster as reference. The Pan Am logo and world map are from Wikipedia. The drawing is a little rough, but I am still not exactly an Inkscape pro and this was done half a year ago. You see where I am going with this.
When I said that I don’t have numbers, I wasn’t quite correct – I do have numbers, just no symbols for them.
| Number | X-Sampa | Latin characters | | ————- |:————- |:————-| | 0 | nuR | nur | | 1 | ki | ki | | 2 | do | do | | 3 | Re | re | | 4 | so | so | |5 | at | at | |6 | mo | mo | |7 | na | na | |8 | ge | ge | |9 | ji | yi | |10 | ksi | ksi | |11 | ksi ki | ksi ki | |12 | ksi do | ksi do | |20 | doksi | doksi | |21 | doksi ki |doksi ki | |22 | doksi do | doksi do | |23 | doksi Re | doksi re | |30 | Reksi | reksi | |40 | soksi | soksi | |50 | aksi | aksi | |60 | moksi | moksi | |70 | naksi | naksi | |80 | geksi | geksi | |90 | jaski | jaksi | |100 | RaJa | ranya | |200 | do RaJa | do ranya | |201 | do RaJa ki | do ranya ki | |1000| zanu | zanu | |2345| do zanu Re RaJa soski at | do zanu re ranya soski at | |10000| ksi zanu | ksi zanu |
I originally considered using an octal number system but decided against it for two reasons. First and foremost I wanted to keep it simple, and a base-8 system isn’t the simplest solution, the decimal system is. Secondly, since the inhabitants of Arnâron are biologically humans, and they have ten fingers, they are by far most likely to develop a decimal system.
| X-Sampa | Latin characters | Translation | | ————- |:————- |:————-| | nuR | nur | none, no-one | | kidoRe | kidore | few | | teRat | terat | some | | namaR | namar | enough | | geJa | genya | many, a lot | | Ruj | ruy | everything, everybody, all |
The language uses measure words to form plural or to specify the number or amount of anything. There are five measure words:
| X-Sampa | Latin characters | Used for | | ————- |:————- |:————-| | duJa | dunya | humans | | uRu | uru | living things | | tai | tai | unliving things | | Ri | ri | uncountable things | | wo | wo |abstract ideas |
“Uncountable things” takes precedence over “living things” and “unliving things”, but not over humans or abstract ideas. For example, a crowd of humans always uses the special humans measure word, even if the number of individuals is unknown or even unknowable. On the other hand, grass is uncountable – even though you could in theory count the individual blades of grass. However, if you actually have a defined number of blades of grass, they would become countable living things. This isn’t very different from how English handles it (“grass” versus “blades of grass”).
Another example is land: Land itself is uncountable (“He owns a lot of land”), but it can be countable (“He owns two acres of land”) or even an abstract idea (“Lands of plenty.”)
The use of different measure words may also change the meaning – compare everything: Ruj Ri (“everything uncountable-things-measure-word”) and everybody: Ruj duJa (“everything humans-measure-word”).
To complicate matters further, it is possible to use the measure words in ways other than their literal meaning. For example, one could use the “living things” measure word to quantify one’s enemies. The idea expressed, of course, is that they are “less than human”; a grave insult. It is even possible to go one step further. Referring to enemy soldiers as “unliving things” even further degrades them and implies that they already lost the battle – they are as good as dead.
Context makes a lot of difference as well. For example, one could refer to oneself as a “living thing” as a means to humble oneself, or when one wants to explain that one’s life is unhappy and depressing. A soldier may describe himself as an “unliving thing”, meaning that he is a servant of his master, a tool, a weapon of war, and will serve faithfully without questioning his orders. Or he could use it to show that it is only a matter of time before he will fall in battle.