Salting your fiction with nuspeak: where to stop?

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Salting your fiction with nuspeak: where to stop?

Postby Кал » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:52 pm

Quoting from a discussion with Daniel Bensen while editing Aurelion:

Dan wrote:Let's talk about new vocabulary.
On the plus side, it adds to the atmosphere and feeling of immersion in a story. Audiences (especially young ones) feel like their looking at and learning about a real culture. On the minus side new vocab is a barrier to understanding and enjoying the story. You can't just throw new words at the reader and hope they'll stick. Tabun, quando a reader vidis a bunpou like this, they will stop reading.

It's the problem of genre fiction: too much strangeness and your narrative falls apart.

Some ways to get around this problem:
Dictionary quotes: usually at the beginning of a chapter or section.
Defining the word the first couple times you us it: His himdall, the beer enjoyed by students, was cold...
Making the word's meaning transparent: "himdall ale" or "whitebeer" (I like this kind best) This is what real languages do, like how Americans called pizzas "pizza pies" when we first found out about them (in the 40s) and in Bulgarian you say "antelope gnu"

As to italicization. Technically, every word you can't find in the Oxford English Dictionary(or whatever dictionary) should be in italics. You don't have to stick to that rule. You might only italicize in narration, not in quotes, or italicize only the first time you use the word. Be careful, though, if the meaning of the word isn't obvious from context, readers will assume they are looking at a typo.
I'll read through the glossary and make suggestions about how to make those terms more transparent.

Кал wrote:There's no more than 50 Aurelion-specific words, as you'll see in the
glossary (the rest are names). Many of those appear in a
self-explanatory context.

However, if you still come across a word that doesn't make sense to
you, please underline it. (As a reader, I'm more used to picking up
vocab as I go. Even if it's as densely layered as John Wright's
_Golden Age_ or any cyberpunk novel.)
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