Friday, February 24, 2012

A Sheep and Horses

I attended a Constructed Languages class at LTUE, and it crammed a lot of information into a very short amount of time. I already had a basis for Ersjaran (once Elvish) in my book Tsirash, but it was good to actually talk about and write down specifics about what vowel/consonant combinations there could be in a syllable, what word order to use (subject-verb-object, noun-adjective), and what distinguishing markings to make for tense, aspect, and mood.

I finally finished translating the fable given to us at the workshop. I now present to you, A Sheep and Horses--or, Vva ni Vvorema.

Vva ash pa sarna vorjanika vvorema, eno weirmn sanmi lasorai, eno raesijamn ekia wosu, ni eno raesijamn sjasu i. 
Vva fironamaikan vvorema, "Okai-is haolj orfon, vorjanmn i zevmn vvorema." 
Vvorema fironamaika, "Arimi, vva, wae-is haolj orfon kep wae i, zevsare, arvisormn vva-is sar nan toveton aleria, ni vva ash pa sarna."
Ymn arimiika vit, vva tennoika nan yrash.

Yep, this is about how it looks. It's not the best representation of the type of things characters would actually say in the book, especially when you consider that there are no horses on the continent where my characters live.

Anyway... I was just excited and wanted to share. Thank you, LTUE--and thank you Dirk Elzinga. Your class was awesome. :)

-Tsira

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bastion

If you've never heard of Bastion, now is the time to learn.


The game is beautiful and fun to play. The story is deep, with an interesting world and even more interesting characters. And the music... ah, the music.

Bastion has probably the best soundtrack I've ever heard. I fell in love with it the instant I heard it, and I bought the music soon after buying the game. The unique blend of styles, the heavy beats, the heartfelt melodies...

I admit I put the disc in the car a few months ago, and it almost never leaves the player. I've listened to the whole CD some sixty times over, and I'm totally obsessed. Frankly, it's amazing.


Go buy the game. Or at least the soundtrack. It's totally worth it.

-Tsira

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Love and Lust

Because Valentine's Day was this week, I'd like to talk about something that has been bothering me for a while. That is this: Lust is not a good foundation for a relationship. Period. If I may be so bold, I'd go so far as to say this.

Lust is never a good foundation for a relationship.

Let me explain. In movies and books and other media, romance is often portrayed with characters who hate each other, and then for some reason suddenly tear their clothes off and devour each other's faces. Please, for all that is good in this world, don't make your characters do this. It's not romantic. It's disgusting and makes me think they are stupid for hurting themselves in such a powerful way.

For that matter, don't do this in your personal lives, either. When two people fall in lust first, their relationship hinges on being a good lover instead of focusing on mutual trust and respect.

Instead, if you want to have a satisfying relationship, go first for someone who shares your interests, in books or bowling or video games or whatever else you can. Find someone who makes you laugh. Find someone who makes you happy, and not just in bed. Please, for your own good, be friends first, and lovers second.

Now. There's nothing wrong with lust. Sex can be a beautiful thing if it's shared by people who love each other, treat each other kindly, and know they're going to spend the rest of their lives together. I'd personally add that they should be married, as marriage shows commitment, and in religious cases, that they're bound to each other under the sight of God. (Now, this is not possible for my characters, since their religions never included a bond between men and women, and therefore marriage has never existed--but the other things I've said still hold true.)

It can be a beautiful thing to bring a child into the world with daddy's curly hair and mommy's eyes.

However.

Bringing a child into the world when you don't even really know the father is devastating. It makes sense why so many people want an abortion--the child being the consequence of a poor decision to sleep with someone they either didn't know or didn't actually like. (I recognize that there are other reasons, but this is the one I see a lot in television shows, and the least reasonable excuse aside from being stupid about contraception...)

I so often heard stories before I married Jaron, from people talking about their own marriages, that amounted to "I didn't know what I was getting into," and "He's got these annoying habits," and "You'll be sick of him after the first year."

None of these things happened when I got married, because I knew exactly what I was getting into. I already knew all of Jaron's habits. And because our relationship was as best friends first, falling out of infatuation either didn't happen or didn't matter. We share interests in most categories, and even if there is some disagreement, we respect each other enough to simply disagree and not force an argument. (Jaron wants Skyrim. I do not. Is it really worth fighting over? Of course not.)

I think because romance is portrayed as this sex-fest in our media, we assume that's what being married is supposed to be like. And when it isn't like that, and it's about buying groceries and paying bills and sharing the car, the people who based their relationship on that sex-fest are understandably unhappy. So don't spread it. If you're a writer, and your main character has a love interest, please write it as it should be. Friends first, lovers second. Not the other way around. You'll make me sick.

-Tsira

PS. This is my opinion. You are welcome to disagree. If you do, and you want to voice it, please do so in a coherent way. Okay. Getting off my soapbox now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life, The Universe, and Everything

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend Life, The Universe, and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium that's held every year in Utah. This was the first time I've ever been to LTUE, and it was the first time I've ever been to a writing conference of any kind.

It was awesome. 

Besides getting to be with friends and others who share my passion for writing, I was enthralled by the authors and editors who shared their wisdom freely. With all this information--some new, some repeated--my creative side soaked up enough confidence to speak to one of the presenters at the end. Tough stuff for me; you know how I am with verbal communication.

My husband is doing a full-on summary of each class we attended over on his blog, so I won't go into it like he did. Instead, let me present to you the words that affected me the most, from all three days. Here's what I got out of LTUE.

  • If it sucks, don't put it in. If you don't enjoy it, no one will.
  • People have imagination; don't over-complicate.
  • Learn as much as you can for what you're writing about--but you don't have to be an expert. (None of you have ever fought a dragon.)
  • Languages don't differ in what they can express. Languages differ in what they must express.
  • As far as editing goes, recognizing a problem and fixing it is much more important than memorizing names like "gerund" and "dangling participle".
  • Don't rely on coincidence to save the day. Have your characters use their brains. 
  • Take everything others say with a grain of salt. Trust your gut over your ear.
  •  Never sacrifice what you want most for what you want most at the moment.
  • When speaking to an audience, speak as if you're talking to the person at the back of the room.
  • The narrator is a character, even if they're unnamed.
  • Pay close attention to the geographical distance between your character and their destination, and have them meet that within a reasonable amount of time. (Don't make your horses run 100 miles every day with a rider and pack--they'll die.)
  • Everyone has a belief system. Even the atheist believes in something: that there is no god.
  • Science and religion do not necessarily conflict. Science tries to explain how. Religion tries to explain why.
  • It's important to connect the beginning of a book to the end.
  • A plot has a main character, a noble goal, obstacles, and successes and failures.
  • Your appearance is part of your social presence.
  • Create something that represents you.
  • Have your ideal reader in mind.
These are the things that impressed me the most. 

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to attend LTUE. I had the best three exhausting days since... well, this was the highlight of the year so far... but I intend to have many more great adventures in the near future.

-Tsira

PS. If any of you went to LTUE this year, I'd love to hear what impressed you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Organizing My Life Right Now

Hello, friends. How are you? It's been a while.

I think I'm going to clean up all of my internet places. dA, Facebook, this blog, my old blog--I'm going to organize, get rid of junk, and put projects I'm proud of into nice, pretty pages. So over the next few days, you should see a big change in the format and stuff here. My cute husband Jaron just started his new blog, and I want to do something similar. That is, I want to have a few different pages you can click on and such to see what I've been doing besides writing.

I'm just getting tired of the way things look right now. And there's old stuff in my gallery on dA that I'm not in love with any more. I want everything I like to be easily accessible, and everything I don't like to go in a secret folder at home where no one can see it. 

With all that's happened lately, Jaron and I have decided that we need to work more actively to achieve our goals instead of waiting around for good things to happen. And that means, for this blog, that I'm going to organize.

Did I ever tell you how much I love organizing things? I want to work at a library, sorting books all day. I'd never get bored. In fact, I had a great deal of fun organizing all the books at my parents' house once--the upstairs bookshelves, the family room bookshelves, the backroom bookshelves, and the mini collections in other rooms. So. Much. Fun. I've done the same thing this morning on a much smaller scale with my little shelves at my apartment. (My goat cat Luna tore up about a hundred pages of old manuscripts, so there was a big mess and I have a bit of recycling to do...) Now it's Internet Organization Time.

Whee.

-Tsira

Edit:
Yay, it's done! 


My blog has a lovely new look that should keep me happy for at least a year. It doesn't have the separate pages yet, but those are coming soon. I feel so much better. :)