The moon as inspiration

I was stuck editing the second book in the series ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’. I didn’t know how to start a particular chapter.

I wandered around the house- didn’t take long, small house- and looked out of the bedroom window. Clouds parted in the star free night sky, and there was the moon looking down at me as if to say, “Oh, get on with it.”

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Then I took a photo of it. Thanks moon.

 

You can take a look at an exclusive excerpt from the as yet unreleased second book in the series, ‘The song of Forgetfulness on my Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness

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Creative use of language in novels.

Nadsat, Newspeak and Bubchat

 

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I have been reading mostly science fiction books lately, and I have begun to question why a lot of writers choose not to modify the language they use to create a sense of another time and place. It seems that in the future, vocabulary will remain the same and people will talk to each other exactly the way they do now. Which doesn’t really make sense, does it? The spoken and written word has changed over the years, and most authors have reflected this in their works: from Shakespeare to Bronte, Dickens to Faulkner, and James Joyce to Irvine Welsh.

I overheard a conversation between three teenage girls. I texted a snippet of what they were saying to my friend, who has a fifteen year old, and she said that they were talking about a boy that two of them found attractive, but one of them didn’t.

Girl 1:  Yo, see Jay? He gone all tank, well yoked.

Girl 2:  Yeah, he fully gassed narmean?

Girl 3:  Nah, you dutty fam. He’s well piff.

Girl 1: Nah, he FAF.

Girl 3:  Wa, you beefin’ me?

Girl 1:  Wa, you seriously say he butters?

So, if young people talk like this today, wouldn’t it make sense that hundreds of years in the future, people would be conversing with words that are different from the ones we use now?

In his novel, Nineteen eighty-four, George Orwell introduced words and phrases that were not familiar to readers of that era, to create a futuristic realm where language is used as a weapon to subjugate the masses: duckspeak, thoughtcrime, bellyfeel, doublethink, and speakwrite. Would it have been such a powerful read if the author had not employed the use of such evocative words? Who can forget ‘Newspeak’, or ‘Big Brother’?

In A Clockwork Orange, the use of slang is vital to the narrative to give credibility to this dystopian future. Alex speaks ‘nadsat’ a language that sets him and his friends

apart from the rest of society.

“These grahzny sodding veshches that come out of

my gulliver and my plott,” I said, “that’s what it is.”

“Quaint,” said Dr. Brodsky, like smiling, “the dialect of the tribe. “

So, bearing this in mind, when I came to write my Sci-Fi/Dystopian series The Song of Forgetfulness, I made sure that I used words that were appropriate for the world I was creating. Since it is written from the viewpoint of a seventeen- year -old, Adara, in the first person, it was imperative that her voice rang true in order for the characters to maintain credibility in this vision of the future. I created ‘Bubchat’.

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“I showed respect and bowed, then turned toward the not-right teen. He gave me a tiny smile, and for reasons I know not, I took his hand and said, “Show me where you splosh.” His face went redder than a bub about to plop and everyone, including me, let out a merry guffaw. I hadn’t meant to use such a nursery word, but when I looked at his soft brown eyes and slender arms I went all mumsly. Not like me at all. I began to wonder if the ‘dults had palmed a soother into my stew.”

You can view all of my books on my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-McDonagh/e/B00D4NAH0S/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

I went to Lewis Carol for inspiration. I remembered I had a favourite poem from my childhood, The Jabberwoky, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found. It is a delight in the creative use of vocabulary. The language is rich and full of evocative words that create a unique setting where his story unfolds.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Science fiction and fantasy are the ideal genres for authors to invent new languages and different ways of speaking. To shake off the confines of correct word usage and play around with narrative form. But not everyone warms to such experimentation, and critics often chastise authors for breaking the rules of grammar that ‘The Elements of Style’, by Strunk and White, have branded into the English language. There is a good anti Elements of Style essay by Geoffrey A Pullmen called, ‘50 Years of stupid Grammar’. It will make you think twice before reaching for the Spelling and grammar tool on your computer. http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497

So, all you authors out there don’t be put off experimenting with vocabulary. Let your imagination fly and write from your heart, not your head. (Then go back and edit it.)

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Want to know more about me and my books? Go to my website and have a look around.

http://www.oddlybooks.com

Sign up to my newsletter and get a free download of Changeling Fog – a short story from The Song of Forgetfulness series:

http://eepurl.com/buH8qH

 

Macro Photography without using a tripod

My garden is overgrown. I like it that way. It attracts insects and birds and other creatures. I enjoy wading through the tall grass, plucking seedpods and flies from my arms and legs as I search for an interesting creature to photograph.

This year, the bee population has increased.
Hooray!
Last year there were hardly any.

On Sunday I counted eight different kinds of bees and managed to photograph about four using a macro lens. Because the flora is so wild and sprawling, using a tripod for stability is out of the question. So I have to take all my pictures hand-held. Another reason I don’t use the regular kind of tripod is that I find them too awkward to use when attempting to follow the speedy wing changes of bees and other flying insects. By the time I’ve set the thing up, the flying beastie has flown. Okay most of the pictures are a little shaky, but I do get some pretty good results.

The trick to being a good human tripod is to centre yourself. By that I mean, spread your feet to hip distance and slightly bend your knees. You should be balanced and stable. Next, try not to lean forward too quickly as this aggravates camera shake.  Breathe slowly and don’t hunch your shoulders as this causes the wobbles and a stiff neck! And finally, move the camera forward to focus rather than twisting the focus ring as that definitely adds to camera shake and out of focus images. You may look a little weird, but the results you get will be worth it

For more images of macro and beyond, visit: http://www.tracerlight.co.uk

 

 

Creative use of language in novels.

A Slight update to this blog from a few years ago.

Nikki McDonagh - author and photographer

Nadsat, Newspeak and Bubchat

 

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I have been reading mostly science fiction books lately, and I have begun to question why a lot of writers choose not to modify the language they use to create a sense of another time and place. It seems that in the future, vocabulary will remain the same and people will talk to each other exactly the way they do now. Which doesn’t really make sense, does it? The spoken and written word has changed over the years, and most authors have reflected this in their works: from Shakespeare to Bronte, Dickens to Faulkner, and James Joyce to Irvine Welsh.

I overheard a conversation between three teenage girls. I texted a snippet of what they were saying to my friend, who has a fifteen year old, and she said that they were talking about a boy that two of them found attractive, but one of…

View original post 685 more words

Is Cli-fi the new, hot genre?

Hey everyone, there’s a new, exciting genre in town – Cli-fi.  Or – Climate change novels.

It seems I’ve been putting my Song of Forgetfulness Sci-fi/Dystopian series in the wrong category.

According to an article in The Guardian, the genre has been around for some time, possibly as early as 2003 with Margaret Atwood’s  The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake. 

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Also, Ian McEwan’s novel Solar, is cli-fiso clearly not that new. You can read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/31/global-warning-rise-cli-fi

Having looked up some Cli-fi, I think the genre is a little vague and saturated by all sorts of dystopian, sc-fi, YA, romance…in short, a lot of authors seem to be using the term quite loosely. Which is a good thing, especially with a sub genre that isn’t too well known. Perhaps now is the time to promote this category to raise awareness of global warming and the fragility of our beautiful planet.

cli-fi

Until I read about Cli-fi in a post by Lisa Rowan, I’d never heard of it. Stupid me!  I mean all of my books in The Song Forgetfulness series deal with climate change and the effects it has on future generations as they struggle to survive in a hostile world. As well as a host of other things too numerous to mention here. Kind of exactly the definition of this ‘new’ genre.  Well, now I know.

You can read Lisa’s article here:  https://thewritelife.com/climate-fiction/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=48836be01b-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-48836be01b-106451265&mc_cid=48836be01b&mc_eid=126bf35b6a

Right, I ‘m off to Amazon to change my subheading and a category or two.

 If you want to have a look at my work and decide if it is indeed – Cli-fi – check out my new release – The Chronicles of Mayer, prologue to the series mentioned above.

http://myBook.to/ChroniclesMayer

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Let’s start reading more Cli-fi folks!

Wishing you all a safe day, especially those people having to deal with Hurricane Harvey.

Can cats and chickens become friends – part two.

In my previous post, you can see it here:

https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/…/can-cats-and-chick…/

I talked about my cat Kimi and how she has bonded with our new hens.

kimi hen 4

I also mentioned that the chickens are kept away from our other cats, who aren’t as easy going as Kimi. Well, one of our feline friends got sight of our poultry for the first time and had a rather strange reaction.

storm yawn sideways

Mind you, if I were the size of Storm, the cat above, I would be a little frightened by these rather large birds with their massive feet and intense gaze.

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xena

Just as well they have separate gardens to hang out in. Calypso and her brother, Rasky, have a more relaxed approached to these big birds.

Calypso 1Rasky copy

On another note, my bee garden is a success. It looks so pretty and is attracting all kinds of bees and other fertilising insects. It is also kept well away from the marauding chickens.

cornflower-bee

bee garden 2

bee garden

Buck-buckaww folks!

Can cats and chickens become friends?

We recently acquired four hens.

hens trees

hens napping

They are lovely creatures, making cute clucking sounds and pottering about the garden, they love nothing more than to dig, eat, lay eggs, follow us around and, oh yes, hang out with our cat Kimi.

kimi hen 2

Now, we have several other cats, who live in a separate enclosed garden well away from our nearly flightless fowl, and we would never allow them near  these vulnerable birds. But Kimi? Well, she is different. Everyone likes Kimi.

Kimi is unique. She loves other creatures, especially other cats – except for Katya.

 

katya table

They have a pact. ‘I don’t bother you, you don’t bother me and we’ll get on just fine.’

We were tentatively sure that Kimi would be okay with the hens. She had a stroke a couple of years ago and still can’t get around all that well. She is also deaf and at thirteen, is getting a little bit old, so we didn’t envisage her pouncing on our birds.

kimi

 

What we didn’t expect was how the chickens reacted to her.

kimi hen 7   kimi hen 4

kimi hen 5

As you can see, they seem quite smitten.

I guess the answer to my question is, yes, cats and chickens can get along. It all depends on the cat.

kimi trixie

New Release!!

The Chronicles of Mayer – out 17th August!!

It has taken me a lot longer than I anticipated to finish my prequel to The Song of Forgetfulness Sci-Fi-fi/dystopian Series. Since this story takes place during an apocalypse, I found it difficult to actualise what it would be like to be in the middle of an environmental disaster. So, I had to do a lot of extra research into extreme weather conditions, where flooding would take place in Britain, tactical survival skills so that I would be able to write about a group of people trying to build a home for themselves in a hostile new world. Plus, there was a ton of research to do regarding genetic engineering techniques, what kind of viruses would mutate, specialist knives, how to make mud kilns, what you can and cannot eat whilst foraging, homemade toothpaste, soap, tea from pine needles…the list is endless. However, I learned a lot and might just make it if I get lost camping in the woods.

But I did it!

Here is The Chronicles of Mayer: Click on the link below to get your copy at a reduced price of 99c. This will increase to $2.99 on Saturday 20th August, so be quick, either pre-order today, or grab a copy Thursday/Friday.

Universal link to Amazon: myBook.to/ChroniclesMayer

Universal link to other online retailers: https://www.books2read.com/u/3L9Gx1

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For those of you who have purchased Parts 1 & 2, Beginnings, the Complete Chronicles of Mayer has a lot to offer. Not only is it much longer, but I have rewritten the first half to give a clearer insight into why Adara is there and added more physical descriptions of character and place. This new edition will replace the old one which is no longer for sale.

I’m busy editing the next story in the History of NotSoGreatBritAlbion: The Mimeo Sector. So, that will be published soon! (I hope)

Here is a universal link to my Amazon page where you can find all of my books.

Author.to/BooksonAmazon

Would you give up a portion of your garden to wildlife?

I live in the countryside surrounded by fields and am fortunate to have an acre of land. Despite having a main road at the front, lots of wildlife live in my garden. The reason? I have left many areas to grow naturally and hopefully, given a safe haven to many species that are on the brink of extinction.

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Yes, there are brambles everywhere, but also beautiful wild flowers that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, which in turn attracts, bats, hedgehogs, snakes, toads and other less cute animals such as rats. But hey, they’re just as adorable in their own way.

With Bees - garden

poppies tall

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buzzy bumble

So I wonder if anyone else has decided to let a part of their garden, or yard, for my American friends, go back to nature and let the ‘weeds’ flourish? I would love to hear from those who have.

My Sci-fi/Dystopian series – The Song of Forgetfulness – is to a certain extent an homage to Mother Nature and a condemnation of mankind’s disregard for the delicate balance of the environment. I didn’t intend to make it an eco-warrior rant, but as I researched global warming, deforestation and the like, I became angry and deeply upset, so how could I not vent my feelings of despair and try to get a message across – please save our beautiful planet Earth before it’s too late.

I will be releasing a prequel to the series – The Chronicles of Mayer – in the next few weeks so watch out for another post!

The Chronicles of Mayer:

A story of survival and courage in a devastated world.

Adara needs to know more about her past if she, and everyone else, is to have a future. The Moocow Monks of Mayer have the answers. Inside their subterranean archive, as Adara sits and watches the history of NotSoGreatBritAlbion unfold before her eyes, she learns disturbing truths hidden for centuries, in – The Chronicles of Mayer.

The catastrophic flood of 2158 wipes out most of the population of Great Britain and destroys Mahabharata House, a Buddhist community. The only two surviving cow herds, Gopi Jnanamaya Kosha (Mayer) and Gopala Arjuna Bhutapanchaka, are forced to flee, taking the cows with them. With water levels rising at an alarming rate, they move the sacred herd to the highlands of Scotland.

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You can find all of the books in The Song of Forgetfulness series here:

Author.to/BooksonAmazon

 

60 FREE Sci-fi stories up for grabs!!

From 24th July to 5th August you can pick up sixty Sci-fi/dystopian stories on Bookfunnel for FREE! You will have to opt-in to the authors Newsletter, but that’s the way it is these days.

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Click on the link to go to the page and grab yourself some FREE Reads:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/sciencefiction/2mg7f1qwpv

A section of my apocalyptic story –  The Chronicles of Mayer – is part of this promotion. The full version, which is a prequel to The Song of Forgetfulness series is out soon! So watch out for news of its release.

A story of survival and courage in a devastated world.

 “…a unique plot that caught me from the very beginning”

When mother nature turns against mankind in the latter stages of the 21st century sending hurricanes, earthquakes, and deadly viruses to wipe out the human race, a handful of survivors struggle to stay alive as rising waters threaten to engulf most of Europe.

Book 1 in The Song of Forgetfulness series Whisper Gatherers – is on offer at only 99c until the end of the month: myBook.to/WhisperGatherers

Want to know more about my books? Just go to my Amazon page:

Author.to/BooksonAmazon

Hope you enjoy the stories!