Thursday, September 29, 2011

Secret Origins: H

Because it’s been a long time since I’ve done one. Or at least, it feels like it’s been a long time. Well, it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want.

H is another one of those weird letters that has more than one pronunciation. Although in H’s case, it’s more like either pronouncing it or just having it there for show rather than two separate ways of speaking it.

The symbol origin of H is easy. In Greek, capital Eta is Η and the lowercase, η, is kind of like an h without a flag sticking out (or an n). The Greek symbol in turn came from the Hebrew ח heth, not all that different from lowercase eta. And now the pronunciation is back again! If you look at the alphabet .gif, you’ll see that heth was also a Phoenician letter symbolized by what looks like H with the top and bottom connected (also apparent in early Greek versions of eta). However, before that, in the proto-Sinaitic times, it was rounder, more like a twisted piece of string. Appropriate since in Ancient Egypt, the symbol meant wick.

Okay, so that’s the symbol, but what is up with the pronunciation? That’s the tricky part because throughout the years, different languages treated H differently. Let’s go all the way back to about 1900 BC, when proto-Sinaitic, the first alphabet, was formed. They used Egyptian Hieroglyphs as a basis and as you can see here, H was originally used for the “he” sound. Phoenician and Hebrew evolved from proto-Sinaitic and both still had the sound.

Then around 750 BC, the Greek alphabet appeared. If you look at their alphabet, you’ll see they don’t have an H sound at all. That’s because many Greek dialects just didn’t have rough, back of the throat noises like “aitch”.

The beginnings of Latin involved the Etruscans. Their alphabet was based on the visiting Greeks’ and so also lacked an h sound. While classical Latin did use the rough h sound, Vulgar Latin, the more common form, did not. And since the more common language would have been mimicked by French and Italians they conquered, the Romance languages didn’t use the hard H, either. Possibly due to Germanic influence, English did, even pronouncing H on words that didn’t used to have it (herb). Although, there are a few words (like heirand hour), that keep the Latin silence.

TL;DR: Some languages make throaty sounds like H, some don’t.

Omniglot’s pages on the proto-Sinaitic, Greekand Etruscan alphabets
Nick Nicholas’ post on Greek

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Now, the post that you've all been waiting for. As I've been hyping a lot for the past week, I have been holding a giveaway in celebration of my first blogiversary. Or bolgoversary or however you want to spell it. I had quite a few entries this time

The winner of DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis is, by way of

You know, it's really a beautiful day out.


Ha ha. Just being mean : P. The winner is Rebecca Enzor!!!

And now, the winner of the $25 Giftcard is...

Myne Whitman!!!

Yay! Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who entered and spread the word. You're the real winners here.

Even I found that to be a bit much. Anyway, I'll email the winners ASAP. Hugs to all!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So…What is it Writers Actually Do?

The best part of being a writer is thinking up smartass replies to annoying questions. In the above case, people learn fast it’s best not to ask. At least, it is when I’m involved.

Besides the obvious, “I put words on paper,” I have a standard reply for this query: “Well, I imagine and research thousands of ways to maim, wound, disarticulate and dismember people.”

Alternate reply: “I can literally say I’ve killed people.”

Of course, that’s not allwriting entails. Sometimes they become infected. Or are under attack by monsters.

My characters don’t live easy lives. What do you expect? I write dystopian!

But people (at least, people I know) don’t seem to get it. I contemplate, I create, I revise, I act—just like anyone does anything. Granted, the details are unique, but it’s still not that different. I’m not sure what mysteries they expect me to reveal.

What do you say when people ask you this? Are you as snarky as I am?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The End of Summer

Back at the beginning of summer, I participated in Bess Weatherby’s Summer in the City Blogfest. I set my goals for the summer down in black and white. Or whatever colors my blog is. But it’s there. Anyway, in black is my original goal and in red is how I actually did.

1. Finish first draft current WIP. I'm at ~30K and expect to add another 30K--at least.
            Got this one down, plus another ten thousand words.
2. Do the first draft sweep. By that I mean go through the above WIP and flesh out areas I kind of skipped over.
            I did most of this, but there are still a few areas that need work. Luckily, that’s what rewrites are for.
3. Analyze the WIP with a scene by scene breakdown. This is usually when I cut stuff and really analyze the plot. Is it going the way I want it to? Are the characters actually developing and not just "reading lines"? I know most people do this before they write the book. But I'm a pantser!
            About halfway done. Unfortunately, this book took a lot longer to write than I expected. It’s not the book’s fault. Just bad timing in other areas of my life.
4. Grammar and word check! That's always a painful experience. I go through it line by line for overused words. 'Just' is the worst offender, but some, so and really tend to appear all too often.
             Started, but as I mentioned in another post [], I have a lot of words.
5. Read aloud. This usually takes the longest, but I should be able to get through it by the end of summer. I think.
6. Send it out for critiques! I hope my friends will be patient with me...
            Since I haven’t finished three and four, I haven’t done this yet. Plus, I have to find more beta readers and critiquers.
7. Go back to my last WIP and rewrite! Add that storyline I always meant to. Then ship it out for more critiques/beta reading, which it sorely needs.
            Not yet. That one is going on the back burner until I do more on this one.
8. Try to visit and comment on blogs more. I don't like to comment unless I have something interesting to say. So I guess I'll have to think up more interesting things!
            This I did! There were a few days when I let it go, but I made an earnest effort to meet more people (hello Campaigners!) and I’m trying not to forget old friends.

In all, I only got about half of what I wanted to done. It was a tough summer and I’m satisfied that I did as much (well, almost as much ;) as I could. There are times when you have to go slow or you don’t go at all.

So, how was your summer? Did you write/edit?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


First of all, the contest is still going on. I’m actually going to extend it until Monday at midnight because I was silly and forgot to put it on the Campaigner Notice Board. I’ll announce the winner the next day : )

Today’s topic is editing. I’m in the middle of reading it out loud (hello, laryngitis) and have to have two copies of the MS open, one for reading, one for making notes on. It might seem crazy to have two copies, and it is. That’s why I have three.

Hey, you go with what works.

Honestly, I like editing digital copies rather than hard copies. I like that the word count is right below me, that I can highlight any word that bothers me (which is what the third copy is full of…adverbs!) and that I can make notes in the margins that aren’t in my chicken-scratch handwriting. Plus, I find so many things that I either immediately change or make a note on, another thing that’s much easier digitally.

That isn’t to bash anyone who uses hard copies! Like I said, you go with what works. I am interested in learning about the advantages of paper-editing, though. So tell me: which way do you prefer to edit? Do you see a distinct advantage? What do you do when you edit (because I can never amass enough tips)?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Distractions, Distractions

I felt like doing something fun today. Just ‘cause. And also, my contest is still going on. So go leave a comment here before you read on, and then scroll to the bottom of the webpage to enter. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Entered? Good.

First of all, I'm going to be tweaking my posting schedule after today. It's going to be Tuesday (writing), Thursday (etymology) and Saturday (fun). Of course, being me, it's not going to be one hundred percent. This Thursday, for example, is not going to be etymology.

I can sense your dismay through the internet.

Because I love you all so much, I’m sharing another web game with you. You know you want to click on the link. You can minimize what you’re working on for just a few minutes. Just a few.

This game is called Snailiad (a play on the word Iliad, although it’s not about the Trojan War). It stars a cute snail named (wait for it) Snaily Snail, who sets out to learn why some of the other snails have been disappearing. It’s structured like an old-school NES game with saves, health, and of course, precious upgrades.

It’s really a lot of fun. You can spend time exploring every corner or blast through to try to beat the 30 minute speed-run time. It’s not terribly difficult, although it may drive you nuts trying to get 100% map and items. There’s also an optional extra hard mode where you play as Sluggy Slug, without Snaily’s protective shell.

I really love the names.

Enjoy! The game is great. The realization that you’ve spent four hours trying to find that one room that will give you a 100% map…not so much. But still fun.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yes, it’s already my first Blogiversary. Just one year ago today I was babbling on about how reducing books to ambiguities such as “Man vs. Man” and “Man vs. Nature” is disingenuous to the work and misses its point entirely. Or something.

Forgive me. I had no idea what I was doing back then.

That was the hardest part about starting up a blog. I jumped into it without much thought. I didn’t realize blogs should have—what’s it called?—focus. I’m not sure why, but I figured it was easier and more entertaining to post whatever popped into my head. It wasn’t until I started restricting myself (which, I admit, came months after the inception of the blog) that it evolved to something I think people like to read. Maybe? Please? I hope?

Has my blog improved in a year? Definitely. Is it at its best? Not yet. I’ll keep working on it.

But enough of that boring stuff. Here’s what you really want. A giveaway! Enter, be a follower and leave a comment below and you’ll be eligible to win either a twenty-five dollar Mastercard Gift Card or copies of both ACROSS THE UNIVERSEby Beth Revis and DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver! Woot!

Unfortunately, this means it’s US only. I’m sorry about that : ( because there are some awesome non-US people I wish I could include. Again, sorry.

Please enter today! It ends next Thursday Monday (the 26th) at midnight. Don’t worry—I’ll be reminding you until then.

Usual rules apply. Comment so I know you entered and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. +2 entries for old followers, +2 if you Tweet about it (mention me, @jefishere, so I know) and +5 if you blog it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Brother/Sister

BROTHER/SISTER by Sean Olin is a Contemporary YA. The main characters are the titular brother and sister, Will and Asheley, who live in an affluent coastal Californian town with their mother, who is well known as the town drunk. Their father left the family years before and is respectively vilified and idolized by Will and Asheley. The entire book is, as Will states in the beginning, about why he had to “kill him.” Also, as he says, it’s complicated.

The story is told in chapters alternating between Will and Asheley. Occasionally, their stories overlap, showing the same scene in two conflicting lights. Neither of the two characters is what you’d call a reliable narrator, so you have to figure out which version (if any) is true on your own.

I have to admit, I thought there were some faults in the book. Will and Asheley’s voices were tough to distinguish at times, bad news considering how important it is they be distinct. I stopped in the middle of a chapter once and when I picked it back up, thought it was Asheley for almost two pages before Will’s name was mentioned. Not that this is a fatal flaw. I also thought some of the development of Will’s character was rushed in the middle. It didn’t flow perfectly and it seems like he goes from a kid with a bit of an anger management problem to a full on creep in only two chapters. Granted, some of the events in the book affected him, but it still came off a little improbably.

This book is definitely intense, and I suggest parents read it first because your kids might have some questions. It’s a book about love, neglect, jealousy and obsession, difficult topics under any circumstances.
Overall: I liked it and would recommend it, just know what you're getting into. It's not a book for everyone.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Requiescat in Pace

I had a hard time coming up with a post for today because it’s so hard for me to think about. Such violence and hatred…it makes me feel like crying.

Say a prayer for the past, but act for the future.