Meandering / writing

Meandering Monday about Sounding Right

One of the things I’m trying to work through in Swordsmaster is language. The first time I started writing this was some forty years ago, and I wasn’t trying to create any naming rules – instead I was relying on my innate ability to make up words that sound real. It’s the same way I would make up names for my Dungeons & Dragons characters – a little more conscious effort went into it than, say, rolling alphabet cubes. As long as a name was pronounceable, I could live with it.

When I finally returned to Swordsmaster almost three years ago, I stayed with that same sort of nonsensical naming convention – at least until I was done with the first draft. Then I started thinking about the world I was relying on for my story to live in. Persons, places and things have names, and the names usually mean something (although if enough time goes by, people do forget what those words meant; for those of you who’ve gone through what I consider the TRADITIONAL process of naming a child, you found resources that gave you lists of names and their meanings, and that meaning was part of why you picked the name. But you had to look it up, din’t you? And how many of you remember what your own name means?)

Instead of the non-descript, pseudo-medieval, generic swords and sorcery world that I imagined Swordsmaster in originally (which was as visualized as a plain green-screen), my first draft informed me that I had a world comprised of multiple distinct peoples (continuing to evolve, but currently called Etaeren, Haval, Slette, Jarrun, Allemain, Iberian, and Southron), and they should each have their own cultures and languages. I am no Tolkien – I won’t be creating whole languages for my world, but somewhere in my first couple of passes, I began trying to give my made-up words a more authentic flavor. For example, I borrowed very sketchily from a Norse glossary for Haval and Slette, changed the Etaeren (they used to be Etaaren) to use some simple spelling alterations. Each revision pass I make, there’s a chance that the words or spellings will change yet again.

It still comes down to the names SOUNDING RIGHT (much like a dragon fails on the big screen if it doesn’t look like a real one – it’s all subjective.) But I’m creative, and I think I have enough of an ear for what works, what sounds right. My ability to learn languages is non-existent now (not surprising – I read in a parenting magazine that the best age at which to learn languages other than your native tongue is before you are twelve. I took French in school when I was given the opportunity (when I was twelve-and-a-half), and tried to learn a little Russian on my own at the same time. I did okay, although I’ve lost most of both languages since then, as the French and the Russians failed to take over the world (go figure.) I tried to learn some Spanish about ten years ago, and was totally able to forget every bit of what I learned between lessons.

Accents are another matter – I have to make a conscious effort to NOT pick them up whenever I’m around people whose accents are different than my own, even resorting to the measure of choosing to speak in a different accent (do you know how hard it is to MAKE yourself speak in YOUR OWN accent?), because my wife catches me (accidentally) mimicking others, and says I’m being insulting. It really isn’t my intention – there is NO intention to it. I don’t know if it’s a throwback from my acting days, a talent somehow related to my musical aptitude (my ability to find melodies on an instrument, or how I mimic the original singer when I’m doing Karaoke.) Or is it just my subconscious trying to fit in with the herd, and knowing what SOUNDS RIGHT in the circumstances?

Just saying…


CollectionNext3CoverMy next publication will be another consolidated collection – The Next ‘Three Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.’  (That’s a total of 18 stories from my 4th, 5th, and 6th ‘OUT OF MY MIND’ collections, including some personal favorites, such as “My Brother’s Keeper”, “Cannabis alienus ‘alien dope’”, “The Red Barrens”, “Dempsey’s Debut”, and “The Wolves Will Come.”)

From the blurb for “Flee Markets”:

Small town summer doldrums can leave your imagination wanting to flee away with you, taking you to far-away places – or maybe even bringing them to you for a time. Samantha Sanger has a chance encounter with a slightly disreputable FleeMarketCovermerchant and learns that the limits to what you can be sold go beyond cold heard cash. Purveyors of controlled artifacts must choose their customers carefully – or else they’ll have to… (flee markets.)

The release date is February 23rd (4 days from today), and it’s now available for preorder for a SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL PRICE of 99-cents (that’s 18 stories at LESS THAN 6-CENTS PER STORY – Such a deal!) at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:





OutOfPlaceCover1William Mangieri’s writing – including his previous ePublication “Out of Place” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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