Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another Sample, With Comments

As I'm writing, I often need to breeze past important bits just so that I can keep my train of thought moving forward. Case in point, if there are Elefdar words that I want to use in the story, I usually just mark them in the text alongside the English word, and keep on writing. Later on, I will come back and figure out what those words need to be. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

* * *

A week after the *** Elefdar word *** spring equinox celebration, Balfrith awoke one morning to find that he was summoned to meet with lord Felaranthir. He quickly cleaned himself up and got dressed, then as he was about to say he was ready to go, the servant said, “Lord Felaranthir requests that you also bring your inheritance.”

My inheritance? thought Balfrith. I wonder what this is about? Nevertheless, he retrieved the sword Branulf from beneath his bed, still sheathed and wrapped in a blanket. Unwrapping it from the blanket, he drew out the sword in its scabbard, and slung it by the baldric over his shoulder.

The servant nodded, and led him silently through the halls and down the stairs to Felaranthir’s private study. Once there, he bowed and left Balfrith standing at the door.

Balfrith looked into the room, where the Elefdar lord sat at a large ornately carved table, quietly reading a book. “Come in, Balfrith,” he said, looking up as Balfrith waited at the door.

He entered. Three walls were lined with shelves, filled with hundreds of books and scrolls, and a few small odd items that seemed to act as book-ends. “You wanted to see me, my lord?”

Felaranthir nodded. “The time is soon coming for the completion of your studies among us, and I wanted to congratulate you here, now, before the ceremony of your *** Elefdar word *** initiation.”

“Initiation, my lord?”

Felaranthir nodded. “Into adulthood. You are, what, twenty years old this year?”

“Aye, lord.”

“And you shall be initiated into adulthood as a Man. We Elefdar hold an initiation ceremony every spring for our own young men and women. You will join them.”

Balfrith’s face flushed in a combination of embarrassment and excitement, but he nodded and said, “Yes, lord - and thank you.”

* * *
Now that I've written this snippet, at some point in the next couple of days I'll look over my existing lexicon and see if I've got any words that are the same or similar to what I need here. If I do, I'll use the existing word or a close variant. If not, I'll make up a new word, add it to the lexicon with any additional notes if needed, and move on.

The strategy here is quite simple: when I'm writing, I get into a groove and don't want to lose it by getting side-tracked with linguistics or other issues. I just want to write the story. Later, I can go back and add those little details which are important to the story, but not so important that they can't wait for me to write the story itself first. I wouldn't want to write the entire novel first before going back to add those details, so I do tend to write a chapter at a time and then go back to add these things. In the case of the Elefdar song, I actually wrote two more chapters before going back to work on it. But that was a more complex item, not just a single word or phrase, and I knew it was going to take a while. And even while I was working on the song, I was also bouncing back and forth between it and the story, so I actually had two parallel pieces of work in progress at that time. But eventually I decided the song was done, pasted it into chapter three, and moved on.

And that's how I keep making progress on the story even when I am tempted to get hung up on details.