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"Writing the Language of the Future" in Reflection's Edge

So for those of you who are patiently (I hope) awaiting my next installment in my discussion of Robert's Rules of Writing, and have been hoping for fresh writing advice from my pen...

I'm pleased to announce that my article "Writing the Language of the Future" is now available as part of the June 2007 issue of Reflection's Edge (issue number 26). If you're a writer of science fiction, and you're looking for a few tips on how to create new words for your future worlds, feel free to check it out. And while you're at it, check out the rest of the issue as well.


Thanks for pointing this out--it is actually something I've wondered about, as a matter of fact. I've never known quite where the lines were between "authentic atmosphere", "technobabble", and "Whahuh?" :)
Great article, and timely too. Someone in my writer's group was asking this very question (about inventing words) last week, so I pointed him to your helpful article today.
Ooh, I'll bookmark that to read when I get home.
Yay! I'll go and read it right now. RE has a very special place in my heart, though I haven't read it that much, since it was the first (okay, only, so far) place to publish me. Now we're both in the archives. Glee!

On an unrelated note, I have one phone number for you--it ends with 342. I remember you'd given me both your cell and home numbers at one point, and told me you preferred one to the other. Which number do I have, and if I were to call you, what would be optimal timing?
You know, I don't recall which number I said I preferred, but it doesn't really matter. You might as well use the cell, which is the one you have.

Optimal timing -- at this moment in my life, there is no such thing. :-) Maybe Tuesday early evening?
I hate to nitpick, but 'hip-hop' is more than 20 years old. Wikipedia is suggesting that the term is 35 years old, while the first hip-hop single to go gold was in 1980.

I like to think that you'd prefer I mention it rather than say nothing...but really I just couldn't help myself.
Oh, "hip-hop" is definitely older than 20 years old; but it didn't start gaining much prominence in the language until the late 1980s and early 1990s.
That isn't to say I didn't like the article: I did. Very useful, or it would be if I was writing any fiction.

Have you read 'Frek and the Elixir'? Your article reminded me of it because Rudy Rucker seems to break some rules...he makes up a lot of words. But I think he may have some justification. The world is set a thousand years in the future, which is probably enough time for completely different words to come into being. All the life-forms are bio-engineered, so new names for them are not only plausible but likely. And a lot of the new words are either a) kids' words (the slang is being used by kids, and kids have all kinds of weird slang), or b) alien words (and he does follow the pronounceable rule, from what I recall).

He also has a lot of words he made up that are lifted from weird physics..."brane", to refer to what are essentially different universes, which he lifted from the string theory (I think) idea of a membrane.
There's a lot of "gonzo" writers who do in fact violate some of the advice I've given; but keep in mind that the article is pitched more towards newer writers trying to break in. There comes a point when a writer has greater control over the material, and can violate the rules because the writer knows how to get away with it and still tell a comprehensible story.

December 2016

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