Talking to fishes

Fun metaphor from the maelti language:

Sonofon ayato vashi ipeo hala!
[Sonofon ajato vaʃi ipeo hala]
I speak – fish – their – swarm – to!
I’m speaking to a swarm of fishes!

Meaning this person is talking to a crowd who only stares at them blankly, either with incomprehension or disinterest or both.

The ultimate sentence for every teacher.

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Language Page Updated, and other news

I finally filled out the Language Page! Now the sidebar menu option actually takes people to an overview of my Conlang. I’ve made huge progress on my language recently and I’m very excited to finally publish it. I still need to fill out the dictionary a bit more, but I’m getting close to the point where I can use the language to name things, which is great, because it means I’m making progress in my pre-rewrite development.

I’ve also started working on fleshing out the characters more, and a lot of changes have happened there, which will have a large impact on the plot I think. I’ve taken a lot more things in account in comparison to before. I still need to get a better grasp on the other cultures in my world, but I already have a couple of rough ideas to work with.

Currently, working on my project feels like a puzzle. There are so many things that need to be considered and put in the story. It’s very, very slowly coming together to form something bigger. I’ve learned a lot ever since I started this – about the writing process in general, about my workflow, about culture and crafts and geology, and oceanography and agriculture and so many other things.

The best thing is that even though I have my lazy days and parts where I procrastinate, I keep working on this and ultimately never really lose interest. This means I’ve kept it up for almost half a year now – the longest I’ve ever continuously worked on a project. Tiny milestone, but one that makes me happy nonetheless. I love what I’m doing, and that’s what counts!

Progress

When I posted about how I wanted to go forward after winning Nanowrimo, I posted a list of steps I wanted to take. I can now cross some points off that list:

  • writing out an overview of the plot, with a short summary and a breakdown of the most important events
  • fleshing out the characters and developing a solid voice and feeling for them, so they will be more consistent in the story and feel realistic
  • research tools, crafts and cultural traditions in order to build a convincing cultural environment from which these characters develop, thus also furthering the worldbuilding
  • develop a map so I have a better overview where things happen and how characters move
  • roughly outline the cultures the characters interact with, thus also furthering the worldbuilding
  • expand the conlang to have a basic dictionary to draw from when naming people, places, events, etc.
  • rewriting the first draft using the information and development outlined above

I’ve also made good progress on my conlang, meaning I’ll soon be able to cross that point off the list as well. Then I’ll be more than half done with the preparatory work for my rewrite!

Messy Map

In the vein of “working on my project without actually revising or writing” I’ve done some more worldbuilding exercises and drew a map for a part of my world. I already had a good idea of how I wanted the region to look where the story takes place, but seeing it like this is really special somehow. My digital drawing skills, especially for map drawing, aren’t really good, but I think it gives a solid overview nonetheless.

Map

Flag Designs

I’ve been a little bit lazy when it comes to writing, but I think that’s okay considering it’s Christmas. Since I still wanted to work on my project in some form however, I’ve been playing around with this flag creator and came up with some concepts for flags for St. Mare.

 

I really like the simplistic design of the large one, but I also really like the splash of gold in the two lower ones.

I know that the flag definitely has to consist of the colours white, light blue and dark blue to match the ocean theme the city has going on.

While this has mostly been a fun exercise, it also made me think about which symbols are culturally important to the city. There is unfortunately no fish symbol in this flag creator, or I might have tried that one out too. I really like playing around with things that make me think about the culture of my city.

Going forwards after winning Nano

I won Nanowrimo! Whooo! At 50189 words, with only very little time to spare before the event ended. On the last time alone, I had over 7000 words still left to write, and I still did it. I’m really proud of myself for finally pulling through.

What really surprised me though was the flood of ideas I suddenly got during the last couple of days. I had been struggling to come up with more plot for this project as I kept writing about slice of life type events. Then suddenly, the floodgates opened and I had a massive amount of ideas for a climax with more action in it. Just like that, Nanowrimo didn’t only help me begin finding a plot for this project, it also helped finishing the plot.

What happens now is of course revision. The draft I wrote for Nanowrimo is painfully rough. It’s so rough I don’t even want to read it myself, and I haven’t shown it to anyone else either, which is highly unusual for me, as I normally love to receive feedback. But this is where I draw a line. It’s terrible, really. I need to rework the entire thing from the ground up.

Going forward, I intend to proceed like this:

  • writing out an overview of the plot, with a short summary and a breakdown of the most important events
  • fleshing out the characters and developing a solid voice and feeling for them, so they will be more consistent in the story and feel realistic
  • research tools, crafts and cultural traditions in order to build a convincing cultural environment from which these characters develop, thus also furthering the worldbuilding
  • develop a map so I have a better overview where things happen and how characters move
  • roughly outline the cultures the characters interact with, thus also furthering the worldbuilding
  • expand the conlang to have a basic dictionary to draw from when naming people, places, events, etc.
  • rewriting the first draft using the information and development outlined above

Of course this means I have oodles of work before me. I’ll have to be realistic about this, it will take me a long time to proceed. But that’s okay. I love this project too much to be halfhearted, I’d much rather spend a long time perfecting everything than producing something I’m not completely proud of.

Nano thoughts

At 16 000 words, I’ve written more about my world than I ever thought I would. I still find myself wondering what kind of story this is going to become as up until here, all I did was write write write at all costs. I’m so invested in slice of life stories that I wonder if others will find it boring. Many things I find fascinating are probably very mundane and inconsequential to anyone else – they’re the kind of things writers always get told to leave out of their stories. I guess this is what reworking the first draft is for. Still, I hope I’ll be able to work a good plot structure around my deep love for the utterly mundane.