In the winter of 2009-2010, a satellite image showed the UK entirely white from snowfall. Somewhere in that image, I was sitting huddled under blankets against a radiator trying to stay warm. I can’t say my house was particularly cold, but I wasn’t eating enough, and my body simply couldn’t get warm. Now, being cold in the holiday season takes me back to a time that almost broke me.
I was living alone for the first time in my life, despite being a third-year computer science student. I’d never lived in halls because I was married, until my ex-husband disappeared in the October and cheated on me. I was miserable, unsurprisingly, but I still went to my lectures. My now husband took a few of the same modules as me, and he remembers the quiet person who always vanished straight after class.
I went to uni, I went home, and I watched romcoms eating a repetitive dinner of cod in parsley sauce, chips, and peas. Other than that, I barely ate. The weight fell off me, and I really mean that. I lost 20kg in a matter of months.
World building is great fun, but it’s not always simple. Creating fantasy place names that are easy to read and flow off the tongue can be a challenge, and there is a trope, of sorts, that fantasy names are hard to read and impossible to pronounce.
In all my writing, I try my best to make names for settlements, countries, creatures, and everything else, that anyone can pronounce. I don’t use accents for one simple reason: I struggled to understand them in school.
Apostrophes are considered overdone in fantasy names, and they can make words a mouthful. I (currently) only use them in the names of dragons, which is to do with their naming conventions, and there’s only one in each name. No G’nim’iws’odil type names in my work.
But how can we create natural sounding fantasy place names without being experts in language?
I personally take the approach of using what already exists. Earth is a big place with over 7,000 languages spoken at the time of writing. These have been developed over thousands of years and have beautiful sounds, so why not make use of them?
Below are my 5 simple steps to create fantasy place names using existing languages as a base.
Wolf Children is one of those films that makes me want to watch it all over again straight away, despite how much I was crying at the end. With a beautiful story and music to match, you could have told me Wolf Children was a Ghibli film, and I’d have believed you. This is a must-see for any fans of quieter Studio Ghibli films like Whisper of the Heart and My Neighbour Totoro. I watched it with Japanese audio and English subs, as I usually do with anime.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was, quite frankly, maddening. While my husband professes to have enjoyed the film, I found myself hating a Marvel Cinematic Universe film for the first time.
Okay, that’s a lie. I disliked Eternals, but it was an enjoyable watch. I wasn’t sat wondering when it would end like I did with Dr Strange 2. From cheesy 80s-style video overlays to horror moments that left me wondering what genre of film I was watching, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a massive disappointment.
Needless to say, the following article will contain full (and I mean FULL) spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It bothered me so much, I’m going to rant about it all. I warn you, this is very long, and I’ve mostly written it for my own sanity. If there are continuity mistakes, please forgive me. I don’t have the best memory. Honestly, I think I can only remember so much of this because of how often I was thinking “this sucks”.
The deadline has been extended by 2 weeks to midnight Friday 25th March!
Current total (15/3/22): £50
Donate to charity for chances to win a 1-year MasterClass subscription
Having seen other writers doing raffles to give support to Ukraine, I wondered what I could do to help. Then I realised I’m sitting on a year’s subscription of MasterClass. I utterly condemn Russia’s unwarranted attack on Ukraine, and I hope you will join me in supporting the British Red Cross in their appeal.
To be in with a chance to win a one-year subscription to MasterClass, worth £168, read the info below.
Once you receive the confirmation email, forward it to me at email@example.com
This will run until 23:59:59 GMT on Sunday 13th March 2022DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 23:59:59 GMT FRIDAY 25th March 2022. Any emails I receive after this won’t count, but I encourage you to donate to the appeal regardless, as it’s such an urgent cause.
The fine print
Each entry will be assigned a number, and a random number generator will be used to select the winning ticket.
The winner will be announced on this blog and on my Twitter (@eldris). I will also contact the winner via the email they entered with.
If for any reason the winner doesn’t claim the prize within one month of being contacted, another ticket will be selected.
By entering, you agree for me to collect your details for the sole purpose of conducting this raffle.
There is no cash alternative. The prize is a one-year subscription to MasterClass. If the winner is an existing subscriber, their subscription will be extended by one year (confirmed by MasterClass support).
SPOILER WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the film Don’t Look Up
The credits roll, and I don’t remember the last time I felt this anxious. My heart aches, feels cold. I suppose this is what I mean when I write about cold dread, but I’ve rarely felt it myself, thank the gods.
I’ve had vivid dreams about the end of the world before. They haunt me years later. Many of my dreams feel like I’m truly living through something, and when my fear forces me awake, I remember those snippets of other lives. I distinctly remember one about a comet’s impact. What sticks with me most is the sheer desperation I felt as I tried to get back to my family.
Prompts are an excellent resource for writers. Even if you have a work in progress, you can use prompts for writing exercises, or to give yourself a breather from your main project.
I’m often tweeting that I’m working on something new when I shouldn’t be. Most of these short story starts are sitting unfinished, but I never see them as a waste of time. They help me explore new ideas or try different points of view – I usually write in a close third-person perspective, yet I like to explore first person and omniscient in short stories. How can a writer find their voice if they hold themselves back from exploring all the options?
Stories can be as long or as short as you want, they just need a beginning, a middle, and an end. So, without further rambling, here are 5 fantasy prompts I hope will get your creative juices flowing, leading you to a middle and end.
It’s that time again. The Furious Fiction results are out. I didn’t make the longlist, but I think I failed to satisfy one of the criteria. The setting was to be a court, and with the results, they said over half of the story had to take place there. The other criteria were: under 500 words, have a character who measures something, and contain the words balloon, rock, and umbrella.
Regardless, I’m really happy with my entry this month. I’ll strive to improve further next month. Please read my entry below.
CONTENT WARNING: Contains descriptions of a car crash, blood, and injury.
by Gabrielle Steele
My first shower today was scalding – an attempt to feel something. My second is icy, a barrage of rain soaking me through while my umbrella hangs limp beside me. The nothingness only deepens. I’m not really there as I stare through the drab grey bricks of the courthouse. I’m lost in another rainstorm, on the day that shattered my world like a rock through a window.
At twilight that day, I pressed my chin to the steering wheel, peering through driving rain. Headlights dazzled me between furious sweeps of the wipers. I should have gone slower, but I fussed over irritating everyone behind me. If I’d listened to my gut, would I have seen that one car without lights? It sped out from the junction, but I didn’t see it until the terror in her eyes had me slam on the brakes.
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