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C James

Writing plans...

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I thought I'd share a few thoughts and ideas... MMMMM, where to start?

 

LTMP, my current serial, will be my #1 priority until it is completed. However, I'm up in the air about what to do after that.

 

I do have a few ideas... Too many, in fact. LoL One thought, though, is that I enjoy having more than one in-progress story. That way, I can work on one when the other is stalled. I did this at the end of FTL while working on LTMP, and also when writing anthology entries. I enjoyed being able to just change screens and write something else when needed.

 

One writing project that I have is called Skyfire, a hard sci-fi (which means utilizing extrapolations of known science, and not "warp drive" or other convenient plot devices). It's essentially and interstellar war story. So, I'd like to ask my readers; would a sci-fi story be of interest? It would not be to the exclusion of anything else; it's tricky to write so I'd have it as my secondary story running alongside my next fiction novel. The posting rate for Skyfire would be more than once a month, but probably not a lot more.

 

Skyfire will be problematic in many ways; for one thing, their will be aliens, and they won't, of course, speak English. They will be rather, well, alien. :) So, how do I show their dialog? I don't want to have gibberish along the lines of "Caauhost slithered out of his uglat, gurgling ultrasonically, "ttafss hyyap z glurg tsop htdnasouht evif semaj c pajkm oloo"

 

I'm presently planning to show no alien dialog, but rather just explain their communications in the narration. It's the only way I can think of to get around the issue.

 

Speaking of my next fiction novel (the main story I'll be working on after LTMP) I have several ideas, but no decision as yet. However, it will likely be not quite so long as FTL or LTMP. (and speaking of LTMP, my original guess was it would be 15 chapters, though as things have turned out, I might possibly be in error on that.. :) )

 

Any thoughts, suggestions, etc?

 

Thanks!

CJ

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For sure, the idea of having more than one working project in progress is a good idea, it's certainly very convenient and I can think of, at least, one (gay fiction) writer that does it. It makes you catch a break and get in another universe when you need a break from the other.

 

As for a sci-fi one, personally it wouldn't attract me that much, but I'd, at least, take a look if it's more sporadically posted. For the question about the gibberish, you should just explain their conversation in the narration, but if you get bored of doing that, you could do what Frosty does when he writes phrases in foreign language and put the meaning in parenthesis.

 

I'm glad that the LTMP is longer than 15 chapters,, cause it is a very nice universe there with great characters.

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For sure, the idea of having more than one working project in progress is a good idea, it's certainly very convenient and I can think of, at least, one (gay fiction) writer that does it. It makes you catch a break and get in another universe when you need a break from the other.

 

As for a sci-fi one, personally it wouldn't attract me that much, but I'd, at least, take a look if it's more sporadically posted. For the question about the gibberish, you should just explain their conversation in the narration, but if you get bored of doing that, you could do what Frosty does when he writes phrases in foreign language and put the meaning in parenthesis.

 

I'm glad that the LTMP is longer than 15 chapters,, cause it is a very nice universe there with great characters.

 

The aliens won't have a huge amount of "on screen" time, so I hope I can do it with dialog. Writing a convincing alien is difficult; you have to discard all human preconceptions and imagine something utterly different. At the moment, I'm leaning against their communicating via speech at all, which might make my task easier. I won't use telepathy (a little cliche, and not suitable for hard sci-fi anyway) as I have something a little different in mind..

 

Thanks regarding LTMP; The plot hasn't really changed since it's inception, though there have been many embelishments, and certainly many scenes that seemed to just appear. Come to think of it, I originally imagined FTL as being around 15 chapters, and it ended up at 39, so I think I ought to stop making number-of-chapters predictions on my stories, LoL.

 

As a wild guess, LTMP is about at the halfway point now.

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The aliens won't have a huge amount of "on screen" time, so I hope I can do it with dialog. Writing a convincing alien is difficult; you have to discard all human preconceptions and imagine something utterly different. At the moment, I'm leaning against their communicating via speech at all, which might make my task easier. I won't use telepathy (a little cliche, and not suitable for hard sci-fi anyway) as I have something a little different in mind..

Why not have them communicate with humans in a Stephen-Hawking-like manner? Using a machine where they select what they want to say, and it translate it into (crude) human equivalents -- probably on a word-by-word basis and not grammatically. So if their language was like some human languages where there is a formal order for adjectives ( for example ) you could get something like:

 

"That vehicle, car, red, long-wheelbased, rusted who owns?"

 

Communication between them can be "translated" for the reader in narration, if required, though I would lean to not doing that -- keep it so that the humans can only guess what they are saying to each other.

 

I personally have trouble working on more than one novel at once, but I don't mind taking a break from a novel to do a short story.

 

Good luck!

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Why not have them communicate with humans in a Stephen-Hawking-like manner? Using a machine where they select what they want to say, and it translate it into (crude) human equivalents -- probably on a word-by-word basis and not grammatically. So if their language was like some human languages where there is a formal order for adjectives ( for example ) you could get something like:

 

"That vehicle, car, red, long-wheelbased, rusted who owns?"

 

Communication between them can be "translated" for the reader in narration, if required, though I would lean to not doing that -- keep it so that the humans can only guess what they are saying to each other.

 

I personally have trouble working on more than one novel at once, but I don't mind taking a break from a novel to do a short story.

 

Good luck!

 

That could work though I'll have to make some adaptions due to the plot. It's somewhat odd.

 

Of course, if I do show alien "words" I might be tempted to include hidden messages (there are two in my first post in this thread, though one isn't in the dialog). :D

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I think most sci-fi shows use some kind of Universal Translator so that they don't have to use sub-titles.

 

I would be interested in sci-fi especially since a four of my authors write it.

 

Sci-fi also gives you more leeway when it comes to the technical aspect of your universe.

 

Jan

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That could work though I'll have to make some adaptions due to the plot. It's somewhat odd.

 

Of course, if I do show alien "words" I might be tempted to include hidden messages (there are two in my first post in this thread, though one isn't in the dialog). :D

You mean like "tsop htdnasouht evif semaj c" which is "c james five thousandth post" spelt backwards? :P Didn't see it... and it'll go straight past most people.

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I think most sci-fi shows use some kind of Universal Translator so that they don't have to use sub-titles.

 

I would be interested in sci-fi especially since a four of my authors write it.

 

Sci-fi also gives you more leeway when it comes to the technical aspect of your universe.

 

Jan

 

Thanks Jan!

 

Hard Sci-fi is IMHO far more limiting, as you are constrained by extrapolations of known science; no "shields", no "warp drive", etc. It also takes a lot of technical research to make sure the science is plausable, but that's half the fun. :)

 

You mean like "tsop htdnasouht evif semaj c" which is "c james five thousandth post" spelt backwards? :P Didn't see it... and it'll go straight past most people.

 

Lol, well, now can you find the other mention of 5k in the post. :)

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Thanks Jan!

 

Hard Sci-fi is IMHO far more limiting, as you are constrained by extrapolations of known science; no "shields", no "warp drive", etc. It also takes a lot of technical research to make sure the science is plausable, but that's half the fun. :)

 

 

 

Lol, well, now can you find the other mention of 5k in the post. :)

 

 

MMMMM[/u], where to start?

 

Would it happen to be the bold underlined section? LoL :worship::wub:

 

:angry: a chapter seems to be missing since yesterday was tuesday. :D:whistle:

 

I think im gonna have to hire :ph34r: :ranger: 's to get my fix of LTMP

 

spoiled reader,

Jimmie

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I think most sci-fi shows use some kind of Universal Translator so that they don't have to use sub-titles.

 

Sci-fi also gives you more leeway when it comes to the technical aspect of your universe.

 

S/F has a huge following, especially with younger readers. The newest generation - the "millenials" (those born between 1980 and 2000) - only know cutting edge technology and are very open to exloring the unlimited aspects of exploration beyond our planet. And approximately 1/3 of our citizens are convinced that UFOs are out there. Even one presidential candidate is a believer. Ever listen to the late night "Coast to Coast" radio program?

 

I think the UT works for communication. I'm not sure I'd go as far as Graeme in suggesting a different sentence structure. Like the damned automatic telephone systems, the alien's electronic voice would be correct and stilted.

 

Jack B)

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I think the UT works for communication. I'm not sure I'd go as far as Graeme in suggesting a different sentence structure. Like the damned automatic telephone systems, the alien's electronic voice would be correct and stilted.

My view was that it was a literal translator of words, and not grammar. There is a thread elsewhere here at GA that mentions the pitfalls of a literal translation of English into French. For an alien, that would be an even bigger problem. Unless they programmed the device to translate grammar, it is likely to do a literal translation of the words in the order supplied. Now, English has a really weird grammatical construction, so it makes sense that other languages (especially alien ones) would have a different order for subject, adjectives, verb and adverbs -- at a minimum.

 

I'll give an example of what I'm talking about.

 

The phrase Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru is the Welsh equivalent of Welsh Slate Museum. However, a literal translation would be Museum Slate Wales as that is the order of the three words in the original Welsh. Without an understanding of the grammatical construction of the Welsh language, you wouldn't realise that the language specifies that modifiers to a word occur after that word, and in decreasing order of modification (I think). You'll also notice that the word "Welsh" doesn't appear in the original phrase -- it has Wales, but the English language has that modified into Welsh because it is used in a way that means "of Wales"... ie. Welsh.

 

Now extrapolate that to an alien language....

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Would it happen to be the bold underlined section? LoL :worship::wub:

 

:angry: a chapter seems to be missing since yesterday was tuesday. :D:whistle:

 

I think im gonna have to hire :ph34r: :ranger: 's to get my fix of LTMP

 

spoiled reader,

Jimmie

 

Hi Jimmie!

Sorry for the chapter delay; I've been trying like heck to get caught up, but my vacation really wrecked my writing schedule. The next chapter will be posted within 72 hours, and I should be returning to the regular tuesday posting every week thereafter.

 

Or, you could just do like we all do around here: Blame Shadowgod. 0:)

 

S/F has a huge following, especially with younger readers. The newest generation - the "millenials" (those born between 1980 and 2000) - only know cutting edge technology and are very open to exloring the unlimited aspects of exploration beyond our planet. And approximately 1/3 of our citizens are convinced that UFOs are out there. Even one presidential candidate is a believer. Ever listen to the late night "Coast to Coast" radio program?

 

I think the UT works for communication. I'm not sure I'd go as far as Graeme in suggesting a different sentence structure. Like the damned automatic telephone systems, the alien's electronic voice would be correct and stilted.

 

Jack B)

 

I really don't want to use a UT: I don't see how one could work without prior knowledge of a language, so to me it comes off like a cheap plot device. I've got some other ideas now on how to handle it, though. :)

 

My view was that it was a literal translator of words, and not grammar. There is a thread elsewhere here at GA that mentions the pitfalls of a literal translation of English into French. For an alien, that would be an even bigger problem. Unless they programmed the device to translate grammar, it is likely to do a literal translation of the words in the order supplied. Now, English has a really weird grammatical construction, so it makes sense that other languages (especially alien ones) would have a different order for subject, adjectives, verb and adverbs -- at a minimum.

 

I'll give an example of what I'm talking about.

 

The phrase Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru is the Welsh equivalent of Welsh Slate Museum. However, a literal translation would be Museum Slate Wales as that is the order of the three words in the original Welsh. Without an understanding of the grammatical construction of the Welsh language, you wouldn't realise that the language specifies that modifiers to a word occur after that word, and in decreasing order of modification (I think). You'll also notice that the word "Welsh" doesn't appear in the original phrase -- it has Wales, but the English language has that modified into Welsh because it is used in a way that means "of Wales"... ie. Welsh.

 

Now extrapolate that to an alien language....

 

Yep.. I've seen examples of this in Russian; translate a sentence into Russian, then back to English, and you often get gibberish. For an example, look at how awful machine translation is; it is often nearly incomprehensible. Given a truly alien language, it would be far, far worse. I think I've figured it out how to handle it though. :)

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