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Sally Caves wrote:

> I know a lot of writers who do this, but who don't take the time toinvent
> the rest of the language.  I sat on a panel at Albacon with Tim
> Smith, and a fantasy writer whose name I've completely forgotten
> even though I got her card and everything, and while we talked about
> conlanging, she sat there and knitted and said "well, you don't invent
> every article of clothing in your fantasy wardrobe down to the buttons,
> so why, as a writer, should you have to invent the language?"  Well,
> I'm paraphrasing her pretty freely, but that was the gist of it.  I'm
> curious to get a response from another writer who actually DOES
> invent the language down to the buttons.  I think you have a good
> answer here.

LOL If I had more time, I would be designing the complete wardrobes
for all of my characters : )

My wife asked me the other day why I've
spent so much time on fictional declension charts when I could be
writing stories.  "That's the sort of stuff that the reader never even
sees," she said.  I told her that everyone who walks into a building
doesn't see the foundation, but without that foundation, the building
will fall down on their heads.  I reminded her how much she hates
poorly developed fiction with sloppy backgrounds and internal
inconsistency.  As a reader I can tell when a story is built upon
a solid foundation or if it is just slapped together.  I always come
away from the latter feeling cheated.  I remember how much I
loved Tolkien when I was a kid and now I know why.  He really
breathed life into Middle Earth.

> I could only manage one!  If the Teonim have neighbors, their languagewill
> have to be pretty superficial.  I'm persistent when it comes to
> sticking with one beloved conlang.

Alevain is far from being constructed "down to the buttons."  Although
I hope one day it will be.  It's the only language that I've even developed
a functional grammar for.  I need to learn more about linguistics before I
can really do the language justice (and describe it intelligently).  I was
always better at composition and comprehension than grammar.
I think that as a culture and as an ethnic group,
the Vayeum are the most interesting of my characters and will probably wind up
being the focus of much of my future material.  (they're just supporting
characters in The Argo.)  My other conlangs (and their
associated cultures) are far more sketchy.

> > The Argo wound up being pretty long, so I'm not sure if it will get
> > published
> > with appendices for each of my 3 concultures.  Sooo, readers may be
> > directed to my website for complete glossaries and notes.  Then again,
> > the
> > entire novel may wind up being published on my website anyway.

>
>
> > A tutorial in Alevain is at:
> >
> > http://ggms.com/willoughby/alevain/contents.htm
> >
> > Chapter 1 of "The Argo" is online at:
> >
> > http://ggms.com/willoughby/fiction/fiction.htm
> >
> > Alevain and its speakers, The Vayeum (AKA, Feii
> > in Latine) don't make an appearance until the second
> > part of the novel.  There will probably be future novels,
> > however, that deal primarily with Vay protagonists and
> > with the Alevain culture.
>
> Thank you, Matthew; I'll go check these out!  What and how much haveyou
> published?  I threw away my SFWA ballot as soon as I
> got it today, so frustrated have I been with the market, my
> inability to write because of my "day job," my always finding
> and getting stories accepted at little markets that blow up in
> your face-- like TERRA INCOGNITA!!!!  What the hell
> is going on with that?  Where's my promised publication?
> What happened to Jan Berend?  Did he melt into oblivion?
> I'll keep the "forthcoming" notice up on my webpage until I
> hear definitively that he has pulled a Rob Killheffer and gotten
> himself and his little magazine into more debt than he can bail out.
> In the meantime, it behoves him to answer the worried queries
> of his writers!!!
>

Oy vey, tell me about it!  I've written a few short stories that are
making the rounds, but I haven't been published yet.  I've only
been marketing my work for about a year.  I've exhausted my
"first choice" list of publishers so now I'm putting together my
"second choice" list.  I guess if my material makes it all the way
to the bottom I'll just send it back up to the top ; )

What drives me batty is feeling like I'm on hold for months
on end.  I sent "The Argo" to one publisher upon the
urging of a friend who had a friend who knew someone who... you get the
picture... anyway,
this particular publisher didn't want sample chapters, they wanted the
entire book and an agreement that I not engage in the heretical
practice of "simultaneous submission."  Normally publishers look at sample
chapters as an initial screening process but this one was different.  So,
like a good little soldier, I wrote short stories while I waited eight months
to finally get my rejection  letter.  Boy was I happy!  I said,  "Woo hoo!
Now I can finally send this MS off to someone else!"

My wife encouraged me to start working on the sequel to The Argo
(which I think is going to be better than its predecessor).  I had already
started on another one (the one with futuristing Spanish in it) but she
was desperate to find out what was going to happen to the people from
The Argo.  So now I'm working on both novels simultaneously, in my
spare time.

> The Teonim are a peculiar people who live in both the future and the
> past; they have a long history of contact with us throughout the ages,
> but in a parallel universe; they have their own accounts, for instance,
> of Alexander's conquests, of Jesus's brothers and sisters, of Hildegard
> of Bingen's accomplishments, of Pope Joan, of Galileo's secret contacts,
> of Renee Descartes' automata, of Hitler's atrocities, and so forth.  But
> they also have memories of a future that doesn't involve us.  Contact
> with them can be confusing.
>

That's pretty cool. Do they have different accounts as in access to
different historical references, or as in alternate histories?  The Argo
(and its sequel) deal heavily with alternate timestreams that branch into
and out of each other (as opposed to strictly parallel timelines).
Oh, BTW, I really liked this phrase:

"...a region that surfaces and submerges most often within the Black Sea,
sometimes
 the Caspian."

I love this!  It's so mysterious and inviting.

> But I've written scores of unpublished stories about Teonaht
> type things, but have never attempted to treat them seriously until now.
> I'm involved in a book that I've gotten about a fourth of the way through
> in which I tell the story of an ordinary woman's contact with them.  I
> have a completed novel that I wrote (ugh!!!) for Pocket Books Star
> Trek, I blush to say, that I want to de-Trek and turn, eventually, into
> a story about the Teonaht.

From Trek to Teonaht...  Intriguing.  I'd love to read  the
Teonahtified version (nothing against Trek, but I'm sure that
the Teonaht version will be more true to your vision.).

>
> But you know.  I'm in charge of the graduation ceremony this year
> and have done nothing in the way of artistry or even much learning.
> Except the IAFA conference.  Speaking of which, maybe you'd like
> to take my Lunatic Survey!
>

Lunatic Survey?  Sounds like something right up my alley.  I'd love
to take it.  What's the IAFA?