Until 22nd February guests will be joining me to share their thoughts on love in many of its different forms: family love, friendship, passionate and contented love, compassionate love and love of food, music, animals, language and writing. What makes each post unique is that the feelings expressed are individual to every author. What brings these posts together is the underlying theme that love is one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Language is integral to our day to day lives, not just as readers and writers but in everything we do. It is the bedrock of communication, the way we express ourselves, learn to understand others and find ways to share our love. As an author, I have a great love of language, so I’m very pleased today to welcome several guests who also share my passion: JC Andrijeski, Beth Barany, Lynne Cantwell, Cynthia Harrison, DM Kenyon, Angela Wallace.
Don’t forget to register your vote on the posts – just scroll down to the end of the post to leave your vote once you’ve finished reading. You can vote daily and one winning voter will get a character named after them in my next book, a signed copy of the new paperback edition, plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Two runners up will receive signed copies of the new paperback edition of In Leah’s Wake, plus a $25 gift card each.
And the guest authors can win too! The author who receives the most votes in one day during the event will receive an Orangeberry Social Butterfly package and a 5-day ‘Tweet Me a Storm’ package from Orangeberry Book Tours.
LOVE OF LANGUAGE
JC Andrijeski: Love of Language
My love of language has evolved over the course of learning the craft of storytelling, particularly in novel form. Instead of simply loving words and the beauty of the sounds of them as they fall together just so, creating that ideal rhythm and untouchable logic and grammar…I now love the power of them, to evoke feelings, to make us love and hate, to bring people and ideas to life. Sometimes the prose that accomplishes this is ugly, even crude in terms of structure and form. More and more, the form for form’s sake matters to me very little. As I begin to learn enough to really appreciate the art of storytelling over the mechanics of words and grammar, it increasingly becomes about finding and using the right tool for the job, not about having the perfectly tuned sentence, with every word in place.
I am beginning to believe that is what separates the master storytellers from those who never get past amateur status, or those only write for reasons of ego or validation. Those who know enough to take themselves out of the equation, to really use words to weave spaces for their readers, to transport them into another world peopled with three-dimensional beings…those are the writers I want to be, and that I want to read.
JC Andrijeski has published novels, serials, graphic novels, short stories and nonfiction essays and articles. Her fiction runs from humorous to apocalyptic, and her nonfiction covers subjects from art, meditation, psychology, politics and history. JC currently lives in Himachal Pradesh, India, where she writes full time. Visit her blog at jcandrijeski.blogspot.com.
Beth Barany: My Love Affair with Language
Many people think that writers spend their days just mooning over language. Actually, I spend my day thinking about how to best to use language to communicate or help another communicate, whether I’m editing a client’s book or working on my books.
Above all, I care about delivering a clear message. To do that I love to cozy up to the tools of my trade: words. I look up words for their definition and correct usage, and love learning all their uses, including the word’s origin, its etymology. I care if a word is from old English or Anglo-Saxon because my heroine Henrietta in my novel Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (The Five Kingdoms, Book #1) uses action-oriented words, percussive words, which mostly come from old English. I prefer words like jump and leap over words like promenade or perambulate, words that have Latin origins.
As a tool for story telling and to create change in the hearts and minds of my readers, words have to do the job of director, actor, designer, orchestra, and photographer, and have to evoke the five senses in the imagination of my readers for them to have a compelling experience. I love that challenge!
Beth Barany is the author of the award-winning fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (The Five Kingdoms, Book #1). She’s also the author of the bestselling nonfiction books for writers: The Writer’s Adventure Guide and Overcome Writer’s Block. More at www.bethbarany.com.
Lynne Cantwell: Love of Language
Words are a writer’s raw material. We choose them with care and stack them just so, to get across the emotions and ideas we hope to convey. Grammar and punctuation are the mortar that hold the structure together, but without the right words, they’re useless.
Three of my favorite writers are my favorite writers in large part because of the words they choose and the way they stack them.
Stephen R. Donaldson consciously built the Land, Thomas Covenant’s alternate reality, out of unusual words. Among them: mephitic, etiolate, roynish, chary. (Either you love reading for pleasure with an unabridged dictionary at your elbow, or you hate it!)
Patricia McKillip creates her fantasy worlds with lyrical prose. Her narrative voice is dreamlike, as if she is wrapping you in a fairy tale. I’m in awe of her ability to sustain that voice over the course of a whole novel – and not just in one book, but again and again.
Kent Haruf’s work is lyrical in a different way. His prose is straightforward and unadorned, well-suited to the ordinary working-class people he writes about. But the spare style lets the nobility of his characters’ actions shine through.
I love the way these three authors use language. I just wish I could write half as well as they do.
Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and worked as a broadcast journalist for many years. She currently lives near Washington, DC. SwanSong is her second novel. The first book in her urban fantasy series, The Pipe Woman Chronicles, will be published this spring.
Cynthia Harrison: My Own Little Heaven
My life long love affair with the written word began when I was six years old, the day I learned to read. Already enchanted by picture books and the stories they conveyed, I was similarly drawn to the signifiers I knew were ‘words.’ Words were things on flash cards. ‘Dog’ ‘boy’ ‘girl’ and ‘run.’ And these flashcard words were also embedded into strings of mysterious other words with different letters of the alphabet used to create what my teacher called sentences.
The day my first sentence swam up to greet me from the page, I felt like Cinderella when the prince slipped the glass slipper onto her foot. I fell utterly and completely in love with that sentence, no longer unfamiliar or strange. And then, there were all of the sentences on the page, unfolded their meaning for me, on that page and the next. I lived for the moment during the school day when I took my turn reading aloud in class. Saying the words out loud made them even more special somehow.
Soon my teacher was sending me to our tiny library during reading lessons. I was sad not to be sounding out words with the rest of the class, but a bursting shelf of books, all for me, mended my briefly torn heart. I chose a book with a pretty cover and sat alone at a round table with a few other, empty, chairs. I knew I was not being punished. The principal’s office was next door. For some reason unknown to me, I had been singled out, granted permission until the lunch bell rang, to live inside my own little heaven of language.
During her twenty year career as an English teacher, Cynthia Harrison published Your Words, Your Story, a non-fiction title used in her popular creative writing courses. She has published more than a hundred reviews, articles, and short fiction in print journals, including “Romantic Times” “Publishers Weekly” and “Woman’s World.” Sister Issues, her first published novel, is available at Amazon and other indie author outlets. Cindy has been posting about the path to publication at www.cynthiaharrison.com since 2002. She loves to hear from other book lovers. Email her anytime at [email protected].
D.M. Kenyon: The Word
At the beginning of things, there is the word. At the beginning of a house there is a humble prayer for shelter, be it whispered, sung or shouted, an idea, a design. Without the word, there is no home, no hearth, no comfy chair.
At the beginning of life, there is the word. When disentangled and laid flat, the word that makes all life on Earth is two yards long, spoken in parallel sentences, couplets of verse, billions of characters in length though separated by a space that is a mere ten atoms wide. In the beginning of life, nature speaks in double helixes, a tongue that is understood by all species, plant or animal.
At the beginning of love, there is the word. There is the idea of her, a beauty indescribable, that must be spoken of, if only to myself, so that I may grant her being in my world. And I so earnestly want her being in my world that I would speak of her in a thousand sonnets before God so that this love so well known to me might inspire the transformation of mortal clay into divine creation, and hence, grant me the pleasure of her touch.
At the end of everything, there is no word. Its disappearance is the end of luminosity. A darkness not even known by the absence of what can no longer be seen. A silence that knows not even empty space, for there is no word to grant dimension. There is only a nothing so profound that it cannot be known, for there is no vessel to carry any knowledge of it. For if we form a single word to describe it, we defile its true emptiness with talk of angels dancing on the head of a pin.
So sing your love into our ears. Sing loudly so that we may know it and rise up in a chorus of beautiful things that are first whispered of in our dreaming and then carried upon our breath so that we may come to know them in all intimacy.
D. M. Kenyon is an author, a father of four, a husband, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, a community builder, an inventor, a Tibetan Buddhist, a martial artist, a teacher and author of The Lotus Blossom. You can learn more about the world of The Lotus Blossom and follow D. M. Kenyon’s articles on culture and consciousness at The Lotus Blossom website.
Angela Wallace: Love of Language
If you were to ask a person on the street what they think language is, they might say it consists of words used to communicate, share ideas, and express ourselves. They might consider it a necessary component of culture. But language is so much more than the conventions we learn in school. Language is alive. It moves and breathes. It has tone and style. Have you ever noticed how certain words sound like their meaning? ‘Whimsy’ is light and airy; ‘braggadocio’ is pompous and arrogant; ‘succulent’ is juicy and seductive.
Language is free-flowing-each user makes decisions on how to use the words available to them. Will they be straightforward and blunt? Will they dance around the meaning? Will they pack it with hidden messages so the reader must hunt and dig as for buried treasure?
I love the intricacies of language. I became a writer so I could paint with words, and I became an interpreter so I could sculpt messages like clay. There aren’t always word-to-word correlations between languages. When I’m crafting a translation, so many choices lay before me, and each time I can try something different. Playing with language is like a freestyle dance, and long after I have capped my pen, language is still alive, evolving-immortal.
Angela Wallace loves gun-toting good boys and could have been a cop in another life except for the unfortunate condition of real blood making her queasy. Good thing writing gun and sword fights isn’t a problem. In her books you’ll find the power of love, magic, and redemption.