Make a Wish

magic wandI’ve been re-writing my Nano novel, and am facing a choice: do I want to use a first person narrator?

The last time I wrote a book in first person, I also used present tense, which got tiresome very quickly. After about three chapters, the narrator’s voice began to grate on my nerves.
That is the problem with a first person narrator. To justify using it, the voice has to be unique and interesting. But a quirky voice that pulls the reader into the first chapter may become irritating after a few chapters.

Third person is a safe choice, but I might get bored. For some reason, I want to tell this in the first person. More

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Caveat Scriptor

Writer, beware.

One of the things I love most about writing fantasy is world creation, exploring a world where anything can happen — as long as it follows your rules. Fantasy writer Orson Scott Card has explained world-building better than I can, so I will limit my thoughts to word-building — the invention of names.

It was word-building that first dragged me into the messy world of fantasy. Before I ever read Tolkien, I was making up languages and drawing maps. Reading Lord of the Rings was a confirmation of what I already knew: there were other worlds to explore. All I had to do was stick my flag in the ground and start naming things.

In the advertising world, people are paid to make up new words. What they realize (most of the time) is that we are all neck-deep in words these days — slang, product names, new terms for things that didn’t exist an hour ago. On an average day of reading, I may run into half a dozen words I’ve never seen before — because they are so new they haven’t made it into the dictionary.

Usually I just Google unfamiliar words, and most of the time figure out what they mean in the context I’m reading. I also see a lot of things they might mean. When I Google dax, I learn that it may refer to the German stock index (Deutscher Aktien Index), a hair-care company, a character on Star Trek, a company that makes eco-friendly products, a singer, an actor, a really funny guy, and (apparently) a transsexual prostitute.

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Ghost

ghost alleyI saw a ghost today. I was walking up High Street, towards the Blue Moon Café and Wine Shop, when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone hoist himself out of a dumpster in the alley between 15th and 16th Streets. When he hit the pavement, I saw that he had scored several bagels, which he stuffed into the pockets of his gray hoody. I didn’t recognize him at first, but something about the way he swung his legs over the side of the dumpster, the way he landed – something arrested my attention. I stopped and watched, holding my breath. After concealing his prize, he turned and began to walk towards me. He had a limp, I noticed. He was a good ten yards away from me, and it was getting dark, but I suddenly knew who it was.

He looked right at me. Narrow face, red-rimmed eyes, wild, dirty hair and a week’s growth of beard. Our gazes met and we stared at one another for a moment. Then he turned and limped away.

I hadn’t said a word to him. When someone has been dead for over ten years, there isn’t much to say.

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