Friday Fun Facts: Fictional Languages

ewok2This post is inspired by Rachel’s costume and the language of the Ewoks. (Ee chee wa maa!)

Turns out, there are many fictional languages created for books and movies, including the following:

  • Two (!) Elvish languages for Lord of the Rings (Saesa omentien lle: Pleasure meeting you; Lle holma ve’ edan: You smell like a human)
  • Klingon for Star Trek (nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa”e’: Where is the bathroom?; jIyajbe’: I don’t understand)
  • Nadsat for A Clockwork Orange, which is also reappropriated Russian (Neezhnies: Underpants; Moloko: Milk)
  • Lapine for Watership Down (Pfeffa: Cat; Vair: Defecate)
  • Dothraki for Game of Thrones (Hash yer dothrae chek asshekh?: How are you today)

Happy Halloween to you all! May it be, in the words of theEwok people, thees and drik.

Sources: Mother Nature Network, Film School Rejects, Brittanica 

National Novel Writing Month

It’s almost November, and you know what that means—NaNoWriMo!!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this writing fest, National Novel Writing Month begins November 1 and continues until 12:59 p.m. November 30. During this time, participants are to write a 50,000-word novel.

“National Novel Writing Month is a wonderful opportunity for people to dive into their imaginations and do one of the most crucial things in life: create,” said Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month, in a recent press release. “Everyone has a story that needs to come to life, so the shelves of the NaNoWriMo library stretch endlessly. NaNoWriMo helps people find their voice in the act of writing and through the encouragement of the writers in the NaNo community.”

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, this is the perfect time to do it! Participants from all over the world sign up at http://nanowrimo.org/, fill out a profile, track their progress, connect with other writers, and receive pep talks from established, well-known authors. It’s not easy, but it’s great fun!

And don’t forget to get your kids involved! The NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program is open to writers seventeen and under.

Go forth and write!

Friday Fun Facts: Prompts from the Interwebs

pixabay.comHappy Friday, y’all! Here are some thought-provoking links found around the Interwebs this week. Perhaps they’ll inspire your next poem, essay, or story.

  • Seth Godin has a few simple questions for writers. Can you answer these about your in-progress works? As he says, “Writing can make a difference. Write to make a difference.”
  • One woman’s amazing thrift store find: a trunk full of photos, love letters, life documents, and stories. Fortunately for us, she’s shared the contents with the world, titling it “A Young Man’s Follies.” My favorite line is in a letter from someone named Llyn: “love-making by pen and ink is new to me.”
  • What happens if we don’t name colors? Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki have created just such a paint palette. They write, “We want to expand the definition of what a color can be.”
  • A glowing sea turtle! This endangered hawksbill sea turtle exhibits bioluminescence, and it’s the first reptile found to do so. Hawksbills are one of the rarest animals on our planet, and it seems their mystery just got a bit deeper

Enjoy!

Verbing

99581818_9e921d9c65_mWe editors see verbing in action quite often anymore. You know what I’m talking about, the act of turning a non-verb into a verb. Okay, okay, yes, it should technically be verbification, but now you see my point. It used to be cause for a giggle, then a smile, and now a drawn-out sigh. Again? We’re seeing writers do this several times in one piece, sometimes bordering on the realm of ridiculousness.

Is it lazy writing or creative writing? Actually, it is just a consequence of the ever-evolving English language. Verbification is not new; Shakespeare used it as a play toy. Several common verbs are a result of verbification: drink, mail, dress, salt, divorce. In many cases, verbification has helped us be more succinct in our language. Take Google, for instance. “She googled verbification” versus “She used Google to obtain information about verbification.” In other cases, it is simply atrocious and an insult to our beautiful language. Beer me. Really?

I have to admit that I’m torn. I can see verbification as both lazy writing and creative writing. But in the end, I do really enjoy a good laugh, so go forth and verbify! <Jazz hands.>

Friday Fun Facts: Amazon Reviews

1414376383_d0f435d5e3_mThe Interwebs have produced yet another genre of writing: the review. While this may seem boring or plain at first glance, it can actually be quite entertaining and creative. It turns out, online shopping is an excellent playground for satire. Here are some short excerpts from great reviews found on Amazon.

  • Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt: “Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.” (overlook1977)
  • Bic Cristal for Her Ball Pen: “Sadly, my tiny womanly hands were unable to open the package. Thanks a lot Bic. 🙁 I’m hoping one of my 257 cats will chew open the package for me.” (anonymous)
  • Uranium Ore“I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.” (Patrick J. McGovern)
  • Accoutrements Horse Head Mask“It is day 87 and the horses have accepted me as one of their own. I have grown to understand and respect their gentle ways.” (ByronicHero)

And my absolute favorite, which is a whole story:

Happy reviewing!

Chicago Manual of Style Q&A | October 2015

Every month, the Chicago Manual of Style folks answer questions they’ve received. Following are a couple excerpts from the Q&A of October 2015. To read the full month’s Q&A, visit www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/latest.html.


Q. We are writing an invitation for a New Year’s Eve party which will take place on December 31, 2015. Would it be referred to as New Year’s Eve 2016 or New Year’s Eve 2015? I’ve seen it both ways but can’t seem to find an authoritative answer. Thanks!

A. Since New Year’s Eve is December 31, there should be no doubt which year it is in. However, your own confusion suggests that it is not a good idea to write “New Year’s Eve [year].” If you’re afraid your guests will show up a year late, clarify by adding month, day, and year to your invitation.

Q. In a book printed with two columns per page, how should footnotes be handled? In two columns? Running across the entire page? If the former, should the notes in each column start at the same height on the page, or is it okay for them to be at different heights?

A. Putting the notes in two columns is ideal, but you must make sure that each note falls at the foot of the column it is called out in. Because the number and length of the notes for each column might vary dramatically, it’s not practical to always begin the notes at the same height. If this is an important project, consider hiring a graphic designer who specializes in scholarly books to make these decisions based on page size, column width, words per page, length of the notes, type sizes, etc. Otherwise, just use your best aesthetic sense and aim for readability and balance.

Friday Fun Facts: Illuminated Manuscripts

illuminatedmanuscriptThese days, we can grab a book just about anywhere—the grocery store, the pharmacy, we can even download it to our mobile devices instantly.

For you youngins out there, it wasn’t always like this. Here are some interesting tidbits about illustrated manuscripts, the OGs of books.

  • Manuscript comes from the Latin word for handwritten.
  • Each Medieval book could take months or years to produce.
  • Until the 15th century, there was no papermill in England. Instead of paper, vellum (treated animal skin) was used. As such, a long book could require a whole herd of animals.
  • Sometimes books were illuminated with bright colors and metallic paints. While many illuminated manuscripts have detailed drop caps, some also used illumination to highlight passages or enhance meaning.
  • The oldest surviving illuminated manuscript is from the 5th century.
  • Most books in the early Middle Ages were used by priests and monks for liturgical purposes, so often it was the monks handwriting the text and illuminating it. That said, some illumination artists were traveling craftsmen, and others even held the rank of court artist.

Sources:  The British Library, The Illuminated Page

Dictionary Stories: A Writing Prompt

thurstonMany writing prompts provide you with a topic, which you then brainstorm and explore through phrases of your own imagining. Today’s prompt does the opposite: it provides you with the phrases, but you must piece them together to create the topic. But where will these phrases come from? Who has such a ready supply? Don’t worry! The source is likely right on your bookshelf or saved in your browser.

Dictionary Stories are a genre of writing composed entirely out of sample sentences from—you guessed it—the dictionary. They are ingenious and often hilarious. Consider this one, titled Captain.” Continue reading “Dictionary Stories: A Writing Prompt”

Friday Fun Facts #8

Lesley is the official Purse-Holder at amusement parks because she refuses to rid559143_602284835083_291886449_ne most of the rides for fear of fainting (there is a history of this, unfortunately). And where does her daughter insist on going next weekend for her birthday? Holiday World. Bring your heaviest purses! Lesley will be there to save the day!

When Rachel was about twelve, she was a bunch of grapes for Halloween. Her costume consisted of green tights, a green hat, and many purple balloons. Due to people’s unkempt hedges, she was unable to walk up to their doors without her grapes popping, so she had to stand on the street while her brother pointed at her from the doorway to get her candy. She also had to jog alongside the car when traveling from one neighborhood to the next as giant grapes do not fit well inside a Honda Civic.