Tag Archives: young adult fantasy

Thoughts on Writing – Developing a Fantasy Language (Interrogative)

For my short story, “Stone and String,” and for The Wishing Blade series, I’ve been trying to develop a functional conlang (constructed language) to add flavor to the world and for use as plot points. However, I ran into a problem… how do I ask questions in my Cantingen language?

See, I’ve been developing this over a period of time. Figuring out potential words and jotting them down for future use… figuring out a grammar rule (researched a whole slew of grammar rules from various languages to figure out the previous grammar rule)… and adding them to the dictionary as I go. I already had verb conjugations figured out (at least for an imperative style phrase in present tense), numbers, possessives (sort of) and adjectives. Apparently I already figured out adverbs, too, but hadn’t realized it. (And so I jotted that down, too).

But then it hit me that I hadn’t figured out how to ask a question in the Cantingen language.

I considered not having them use questions at all… then decided that would be just a bit too bossy for them. While word magic based on the language isn’t likely to use questions (though Isaac has challenge me to figure out how they might make it work) since it’s based on commanding magic to do what they want, the casual speaker is going to want to ask questions.

So I did some quick internet research on interrogative language stuff… (it may become quickly apparent that while I am trying to learn what the various mechanics are, I have trouble remembering the names for those mechanics)… and began formatting how to create the questions.

First off, I knew that I couldn’t use tone to imply that something is a question. That’s because word magic is intended to be read and still be clear… without the use of a question mark. I didn’t want to mess with swapping sentence structure around to make a question. And I didn’t want to inflect the verb in order to suggest that it’s a question.

Somehow, the result ended up reminding of an elementary school English lesson:

How does the dog run? The dog runs quickly. The dog runs how? Quickly.

And thus I decided on these rules:

  1. Questions are to be phrased so that the interrogative portion of the question replaces the who/what/etc portion of the question.
    1. (Ex. The dog runs how? vs The dog runs quickly.)
  2. To form a question, the who/what/etc suffix is attached before the word quéth, thus forming the phrase which replaces the part of the sentence in question.
    1. (Ex. nanlli mean “how,”quéth indicates that the sentence is question. Together, they create nanlliquéth.)
  3. Because the question is indicated in the sentence, there is no need for a question mark.
    1. (Ex. In English, it would look like the person says: “The dog runs how.” It should read flatter, without the rise in tone that a question in English would have. )
  4. Yes/No questions simply attach quéth to the verb in question.
    1. (Ex. hasil is “dog” and nivé is “to run.” “The dog runs,” translates to Hasil nivétra. If you say “The dog runs?” in English, you would say Hasil nivétraquéth. in Cantingen.

 

The questions ended up looking something like this:

 

Who – ka 

Who is that girl? Edyli is that girl.

Kaquéth dratethol ali doran. Edyli dratethol ali doran.

*
What kas

That sound is of what? That sound is of leaves.

Ali runin dratetha so kasqueth. Ali runin dratethtra so inarame.

*
Whenvésa

We leave when? We leave soon.

Yliav vésaquéth. Yliav jano.

*

Whereuru

The scroll is where? The scroll is in the box.

Kev dratethtra da uruquéth.Kev dratethtra da vari.

*
Whyji

She weaves why? She enjoys to weave.

Walol jiquéth. Kaviol wal.

*
How  – nanlli

She weaves how? She weaves quickly.

Walol nanlliquéth. Walol naf.

*
Yes/No Questions

This is the girl I seek?

Éda dratetholquéth doran somaria.

It’s still rough, and probably needs some polishing, but that’s what I have so far. It came in handy while working on The Shadow War. While there aren’t anyone asking questions directly in the Cantingen language, there are a few times when the main characters are speaking to people who are from the Cantingen Islands. Knowing how their primary language worked, I was able to change the sentence structure to add to the voice of those character.

For example, there’s a scene that takes place at the marketplace outside of Ashan.

The merchant bowed politely to the horses. She spoke softly in a Cantingen dialect, nothing Toranih understood, before finally turning to her customers and smiling. “Something attracts your eye?” she asked. Her Cirenan speech was articulate and careful, common among the Islanders. A rich blue sash wrapped around her hips and across her slender, bronze shoulders. Her dark hair had been pulled into loose curls and silver ribbons.

Daernan gestured to a pastry with a flaky, golden-brown crust, apricot paste, and streaks of yogurt frosting. “I’ll have that.”

Though I use the question mark here to mark correct English grammar, note how the question is phrased… “Something attracts your eye?” rather than “Does something attract your eye?” or “Do you see anything you like?” Theoretically, you could read it as a statement: “Something attracts your eye.” But if the merchant were to be speaking in the Cantingen language, she would use “quéth” to designate the question. “Eliaved nicolquéth naenlli.” (Literally, it translates to “Unknown sweet bread attracts your attention.” but the merchant knows enough Cirenan to phrase the question in a more familiar way).

* * *

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂 Have you tried constructing your own language, and if so, what problems have you run into?

If you want to read more about conlangs, I also have a post about Developing a Fictional Language (Cantingen) and Developing a Fictional Language (Maijevan).

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New Release – “Stone and String” is Now Available!

Remember that short story I was working on a couple weeks ago?  Well, “Stone and String” is now available! 😀

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Stone and String Book Cover

 

Blurb

In the world of The Wishing Blade, everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for this ability during their first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as a mage. But when Edyli’s little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses magic to return Akymi to the living. As a result, she finds herself in a land of web-like strings… the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister’s first rites. With the help of a mysterious immortal and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of Madia, the goddess of the dead.

 

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Buy Now on Amazon (US)

Buy Now on Amazon (UK)

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

“Stone and String” is a short story based in the universe of The Wishing Blade series. Though the stories are related (“Stone and String” takes place at the same time as the events of Magic’s Stealing), “Stone and String” stands alone. While Magic’s Stealing takes place in Cirena, and focuses on ribbon magic, “Stone and String” takes place on the Cantingen Islands and focuses on string magic and word magic, with a healthy dose of the Cantingen language.

I’m currently testing out KDP Select, so the ebook is only available from Amazon. But since it’s enrolled in Kindle Select, that means it can be borrowed if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Enjoy! 😀

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Last Day to Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Magic’s Stealing

Just a quick heads up– it’s the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a signed, paperback copy of Magic’s Stealing. 🙂

Enter the giveaway!

SBibb - Magic's Stealing Cover

(Note: This giveaway is currently only open to US entrants.

I hope to run another giveaway later this year that’s open to multiple countries, so please let me know which countries you want to see available for the next giveaway, so I can get shipping estimates from the local post office.)

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Cover Reveal for a Fellow Author – Cogling!

Today I am super excited to be hosting a cover reveal for Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth. 😀

See, a while back I got the pleasure of beta-reading an earlier draft of this story, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release into the world. I’ve long wondered what the cover would look like (I did not create this cover). Now I finally get to see it, and so do you!

Are you ready?

I’m telling you, this cover is really pretty. 😀

….

…..

……

COGLING

 

A Steampunk Fairy Tale for Young Adults who love a little Romance in their Adventures

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover

 

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

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COGLING has already gained advanced praise from NY Times Bestselling author, Maria V. Snyder!

“This is a fun YA Steampunk novel. It’s very different than many other Steampunk stories I’ve read. Basic plot is Edna’s brother is kidnapped by hags and replaced with a “cogling” and she’s on a mission to find and rescue her brother. The world is a Victorian-era with a strict class system for the humans and for those with magic. The woman with magic are called hags and the men with magic are ogres and they’re not nice and are planning to change the system. I really enjoyed learning about the world and the characters are well drawn and engaging.”

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Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Curiosity Quills.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Meet the author
Jordan Elizabeth Mierek lives in a dream world.  Sometimes she comes out to do her day job, but most of the time she is writing about her favorite people – her characters!  COGLING is her fourth book.  Her previous steampunk series, the Treasure Chronicles, include TREASURE DARKLY and BORN OF TREASURE.  Her debut novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, is a young adult fantasy-horror.  You can find her short stories in numerous anthologies.  Check out her website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for contests and bonus stories!

Win a steampunk necklace!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Six of Magic’s Stealing

Today, I’ve not only got chapter six of Magic’s Stealing read for you, I’ve also got an announcement: I’ve got books!

My order of fifty books came in today, so I shall soon be approaching local bookstores and I am currently debating doing a Goodreads giveaway. 😀

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the reading. 🙂

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Five of Magic’s Stealing

Woot! I actually got this recording done on time! Anyway, here it is: the video blog post and the reading of Magic’s Stealing, chapter five. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

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