unexpected finish

This really wasn’t my plan for the night (I thought I’d write a bit, then stop), but I finished “A Mask of Flesh.” Total of 4296 words, when all is said and done; 2538 of that was tonight.

I found the description in this story to be interesting. Ordinarily, me describing something (a person, a building, an object) is a sign that it’s important. For much of this tale, though, the two most important people in it — the lord of the land, and Neniza herself — were not described at all. Those omissions, surrounded by description that’s lusher than my usual and should probably get more lush when I revise, speak quite loudly. It’s an interesting inversion.

And I had fun with the description overall. I’ll need to go back and consult some visual references when I edit it, to make myself be even more concrete, but it was neat to sink my brain into a Mesoamerican context. So many details change. The people coming into the city don’t have carts, just packs — I didn’t have to keep to real-world Mesoamerican technology, of course, given that this is a fantasy setting, but I wanted to. They don’t eat beef or mutton or goat, but peccary and monkey. Clothing, even for the elite, is minimal, because of the heat of their environment. I had to fight not to shoehorn all of my ideas and research into this one vessel, and even then, I couldn’t resist slipping in touches like bloodletting and the World Tree. The whole point of this project, after all, is to present a society that is not what we’re used to.

So it’s done, which is nice, given how few short stories I’ve been writing lately. <looks around> Okay, what next?

0 Responses to “unexpected finish”

  1. Anonymous


    Hey, Bryn, since you’re an academic type, what do you think of this idea–

    A college course (maybe even a course of study) in constructed languages; it would be interdisciplinary, taking in linguistics, anthropololgy, myth and folklore, and philosophy (aesthetics, etc.). Do you know of any such thing that currently exists?


    • Marie Brennan

      Re: Idea

      I know one of Harvard’s linguistics professors taught a course on Tolkien’s languages, but that’s the closest thing I’m aware of.

    • marikochan

      Re: Idea

      I’m not aware of any “officially” taught courses on constructed languages, but I’ve seen two student-taught classes. I took one at my alma mater, UVA, through this program, and an LJ friend of mine taught one (and is teaching it again) at UC-Berkeley, where he’s a student. There’s a video of the first class here. (He’s also organizing a language creation conference — see here.)

  2. gollumgollum

    So *that’s* why you didn’t call. (;

  3. marikochan

    Whoa. I just visited your website after seeing you guest post in Toby Buckell’s blog, and then saw your comment on ‘s LJ, and had to come over and say hi. Count me in as a future reader — I might have picked up your book just on the strength of your cool real name, because I’m like that (and I’ve studied German so I can pronounce it correctly, don’t worry), but add “fellow anthropology major” and “fellow Tam Lin fan” to the mix and I’m sold.

  4. albionidaho

    Hi — I followed you to your LJ via a comment you made over at Jay Lake’s LJ. I was an anthropologist once up a time, too, and now I spend my free time writing fiction. I have found your posts and site very interesting :). Do you mind if I friend you?

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