A Brief History of English and Why it Matters

I love the information and the humor of this blog entry. I’ve always been intrigued by the nuances of language, but don’t have the discipline (or time) to truly understand how English developed and how to approach it with historical accuracy. I know far too many inappropriate words sneak into my writing. I appreciate all you kind folks who put up with them.

Mad Genius Club

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…

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Folktales in Fantasy

As if the average writer doesn’t already have too many story ideas on their plate (or should that be writing pad?)! But I do love the idea of mixing up both real history with myth and folklore.

Mad Genius Club

Something fantasy this way comes…

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about using folktales in fiction, especially fantasy. I bought a CD of Songsmith, filk written to go with the novel of that title. The book was a collaboration set in Andre Norton’s Witchworld, and the songs are about events in the book, or are referred to by one of the main characters (a bard). Norton uses a lot of folk tale and historical references in the Witchworld series, but so deftly that unless you are really looking for them, you’ll miss how she weaves them in.

That’s what I want to focus on. Not on re-working fairy tales and folk-tales as Mercedes Lackey, Diana L. Paxton, Robin McKinley, and others have done, but using details from folk-tales and history as story elements.

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Book stuffing, KU reads, and Amazon’s Doing Something

I am so pitifully naive. It never occurred to me that people would do this sort of thing. It seems like no matter how cool an item is, someone out there is ready and willing to corrupt it.

Mad Genius Club

While I would hope that everyone who reads this is interested in being a real author making up real stories that are your own, writing them down, and publishing them, we are all aware that there are scammers out there, and people who care more about the money, than acting ethically or the readers. We also know that Amazon has a habit of taking a wide swath of potential wrongdoers, then filtering out and restoring the innocent.

Yep, they’re doing it again.

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