My Writing Process – a blog hop

I was invited by Libby over at Subourbon Mom to participate in a writing blog tour. You can read her posts about southern life and the writing life. Many thanks to Libby for tagging me to write about my writing! So here are the questions I was given, and my answers:

1. What am I working on?

Besides trying to come up with a witty and wonderful blog post each week, I’m working on a fantasy novel trilogy. I’m revising/rewriting book one, and working on the first draft of book two.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s always the challenge, isn’t it – to write something that fulfills readers’ expectations while still being unique and unexpected. This trilogy I’m working on is cross-world high fantasy – it’s got magic, monsters, swords and battles, and hopping between this world and the fantasy realm. But it also has a lot of elements drawn from the mythology of Finland and the Sami (the indigenous people of Scandinavia). Hopefully that slant makes my stories unique without being so off-the-wall that one one will read them.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I have way too many ideas in my head to simply leave them there. I’ve always loved fantasy – reading it, watching it, and writing it.

4. How does my writing process work?

This question could be answered several different ways. I’m more of a plotter than a pantser. I don’t usually outline an entire book before I begin, but I have the basic plot worked out, all the main characters, and I know how I want the story to end. As far as my writing routine – well, I’m still working on that one. I’m generally more creative in the evenings, but I always seem to have a lot of other things to do then. I’m still working on making writing a priority.

And now I’m tagging three other amazing writers to carry on this blog-hop!

Abigail Bromilow says: Full time wife and mother, most of the time corporate crusader, and ever-constant fangirl. I love all things literary and want to be a writer when I grow up. I collect supplies for crafts I’ll never finish, am secretly trying to turn all of our farm animals into pets, and have finally accepted that I will never have clean floors or organized file drawers. I share my life with a husband who accepts me for everything I am (and am not), and three children that remind me how important imagination really is. She blogs at An Unorganized Mind.

Ashley Scott says: My name is Ashley, I created this blog in hopes of reaching people who are in pain…it doesn’t matter what kind of pain. I want to help you. Through my rough life I have gained the insight that I am supposed to reach out and make sure that no one going through hard times EVER has to be alone. Just know, you are never alone, especially now! Remember that you are loved. She blogs at Journey out of the Abyss.

Bonnie Watson says: Bonnie was first introduced to the digital world while attending Virginia Commonwealth University. As a writer, digital medium assisted in developing character and landscape references. Her collection of How to art books by various favorite artists (Gary Lippincott, Jessica Peffer, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) continues to grow, and serves as an inspiration for future ideas. After graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, Bonnie went into Visual Design and Customer Relations. She is author of the Wisdom Novel series, and a freelancer on the side. She writes, paints, and composes music at Wisdom Novels.

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These are a Few of My Favorite Words

As a writer and amateur linguist, I love words. People often ask me what my favorite word is, and so I thought I’d answer that question by providing a short list. Of course I couldn’t pick just one word, right? So, in no particular order:

Laulu – this word means “song” in Finnish.

Though I’m not a singer, I love music and song; and to me, this word itself sounds like a song. It’s the perfect onomatopoeia word. Approximate pronunciation: lahw-loo. (I say approximate, because remember I’m a self-proclaimed amatuer linguist, not a translator).

Tusarnituq – this in an Inuktitut word meaning “beautiful sound.”

Not really onomatopoeia this time, but pretty close; it’s a beautiful word (pronounced just like it’s spelled, as far as I know) and the meaning is what I especially like. English, rich in adjectives as it is, doesn’t actually have an individual word for something as specific as a beautiful sound.

Ljósmóðir – the Icelandic word for “mid-wife.”

Literally translated, it means “light-mother.” Approximate pronunciation: lyohs-mothr (Icelanders, please – gently! – correct my poor phonetic spelling, if you’d like). Anyway, I first encountered this word on this blog; Icelanders frequently vote this as the most beautiful word in their language, and I agree. Not only does it sound beautiful to the ear, but the definition embodies the beauty of bringing new light and life into the world.

Wonder – yes, finally time to put an English word on this list.

“Wonder” is all about awe, discovery, amazement, and deep thoughts. I try to live my life with a sense of wonder – appreciating the beauty and awe of the world, and always curious and exploring. And, since several other words on my list are about music and sound, here’s a beautiful song all about the wonder of life and hope.

What are some of your favorite words? Please share!

Borrowed Words

Every language is influenced by other languages. And every language winds up adopting foreign words over time, sometimes adapting them to unique uses in the new language, and sometimes keeping the form and definition the same.

For this blog entry, I thought I’d highlight a few common words that are used in modern English that actually have their origin in another language far removed. Such words are usually called “borrowed words,” which personally I find to be a strange term. The language and its speakers don’t temporarily borrow a foreign word with the intention of giving it back someday. “Adopted words” would be more accurate, in my opinion; but for now I’ll go with the more well-known linguistic term.

Buffet—a self-serve spread of food, often found in restaurants such as an all-you-can-eat cheap Chinese buffet. This word is French, and it originally referred to the sideboard (or side table) where food was laid out to be served to seated diners at the dining table.

Kayak—a narrow one- or two-person boat steered with a two-ended paddle. It’s an Inuktitut word (often spelled “qajaq” in that language). The Inuit and Eskimos of the Arctic used this boat for centuries for hunting and travel before we adopted it for recreational use.

Piano—a musical instrument constructed of keys which use hammers to strike strings to produce the sound. It’s part of a longer word pianoforte, which is Italian for “soft-loud.” It meant that this musical instrument, unlike many others of centuries ago, could be played both softly and loudly.

Sauna—a hot room, either steamy or dry, used for relaxation, rejuvenation, and all manners of sweating. We get the sweat-room concept, and the word, from Finnish. The Finns love their saunas.

Bazaar—a large shopping venue, with many stores or booths selling a variety of merchandise. Bazaar is a Persian word, and us English speakers liked it so much we now use the word for everything from art shows to farmers’ markets to catalogs.

Geyser—a hot spring that erupts from beneath the ground with explosive force, often at regular intervals. Iceland is a land where many geysers can be found, and that’s where the word comes from. “Geysir” in Icelandic is both the general term for this natural phenomenon, and the name of one of the island’s largest geysers.

So there you have it—who knew that English uses so many words that aren’t English? And I could list many others. Anybody else have other suggestions to add to the “borrowed words” list? How about some words “borrowed” into other languages besides English?