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Thoughts and observations about language

Voynich Manuscript

Next part of The Pocketwatch is up, Clues. I had wanted to do some stuff in the future before moving on, but I could not think of anything that wouldn't just drag the story down before we got to the real meat of what was happening, so I finally decided to just drop it. This is a short story, after all, not a novel in this case, so adding a bunch more than is really needed is just not something necessary.

Since I haven't talked about it before, I guess I'll talk about it a bit here. The Voynich Manuscript is a strange book discovered by a book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich, which is filled with undeciphered writing with strange linguistic properties, odd plant illustrations, odd astronomical appearing charts, and other things, believed to have been written somewhere in the 15th or 16th Centuries, carbon dated to between 1404 and 1438. It has never been deciphered, leading some to believe it is some sort of elaborate hoax. Regardless,  it is such an oddity, so out of place with everything else we know, that it was a perfect candidate to use as part of this story. 

Actually, I didn't know they had carbon dated it until reading the wiki just now, that was done recently. I had made the author of the book as part of this story and the greater storyline, I had better check my own dates for its authorship against the carbon dating and other events going on at the time and adjust it to match. I'll just go ahead and mention now, since the contents don't really play any more in the story, that the way I have written this story the manuscript is a hoax, made to look the way it does by the original author to hide what it actually is.

The design on the Pocketwatch face is more elaborate then the illustration in the book, but has as a base the leftmost illustration of the three-page foldout shown on Wikipedia. The other page our narrator refers to specifically, in Revealing, is the single six-page foldout in the book. The entire book is scanned and available for viewing on the Yale website. It is pretty interesting to look through.



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Date: 29 Apr 2010 - 00:36
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The Last Short Tale

Once, there was a country in need of saving. But in saving it, there were casualties. The demon commander. The devil government worker. They had been celebrated as heroes, but because of what they had to become, they were hated and feared once the people no longer needed them. And so they were cast out, finding only comradery in each other for their common plight. They were two outcasts, and an unlikely couple in and of itself formed only of necessity, a demon and a devil.

But the people didn't realize that there was a reason that they had these two gain these powers, and they soon learned just why they needed to fear the demons and the devils. The spiteful pair would not sit in exile for long, and they vowed to get revenge on their country. But they did not simply attack them. No, they went and took leadership over the invaders they had previously fought. And with that enemy under their control, they marched back to their country, and began to slaughter the people. They ran, in terror, knowing fear unlike any they had ever known before.

Finally, the two invaded the castle, killed the royal house, and became king and queen themselves. They then called off the foreign army and sent them home, leaving the kingdom in ruin. The remaining people lived in fear, in sorrow, for they had now learned all to well that it was their own actions and hatred that had led them to the ruin they knew now. The demon king and the devil queen had vowed to return the control of the kingdom to the people once they died of age, but until then the people were to do whatever they wished. And so the people served their king and queen. Fearful, morose, and broken, they awaited the time when they would be free, and silently vowed that they would never show such prejudice again.



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Date: 24 Apr 2010 - 13:59
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Another Short Tale

There once was a woman, an agent of her government, who was asked by the people to protect them from the coming invaders. The people wanted her to take on the powers of the devils to help them, but she did not wish to. What they did not know, however, was that she already had the blood of devils in her, from ancestors that had loved and born children of devils. She spent all her life hiding her heritage, and found it horrible now that the people wanted her to use it.

As time went on, however, the invaders grew in number, and the situation of the people grew more dire. She could hide it no longer, her country was in peril, and so she chose to finally accept her devil blood. She used its power to overwhelm the invaders, and they were driven away. The woman was a celebrated hero among her people, but things did not stay that way for long. Since she had released her devil blood, she could not  suppress it any longer, and she soon found herself avoided by others, and then driven out by the people in anger and fear. She retreated into exile, bitter and angry at the people who had begged her to be what they hated her for.



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Date: 24 Apr 2010 - 13:21
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A Short Tale

There was once a man, a soldier, who wished to lead his country to victory in the face of invaders. The enemy was stronger, faster, and so the man went to make a deal with a devil. The devil told him, "wear this helmet, and I will grant you my power." The man put on the helmet, and his body was transformed, twisting and enlarging him so his form was somewhat demonic itself. He removed the helmet, and he returned back to his normal form. Elated, he accepted the devil's deal, and took the helmet to go into battle.

As a demon commander, he and his fellows made quick work of the enemy, until they finally retreated to leave the land in peace. No longer needing the demon form, he removed the helmet, only to find that he did not return to his normal body. When he went to confront the devil, he simply laughed. "You were foolish to trust that I would just let you have my power for free. Now your body is mine." The devil vanished, leaving the demonic commander stuck in his form. The people soon came to fear and avoid him. He could not live among the country he fought so hard to save, and was driven into exile.



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Date: 23 Apr 2010 - 11:54
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Text Adventure Inferrment

So I figured out how to turn the build number into a date in Silverlight, so the next time I update the Text Adventure Experiment it will indicate when it was built by date. I am not going to do it yet, because that would be the only change in this build.

So far, I have no idea what I want to do as far as a story for the text adventure. I don't even know what genre I want to fit it in, to be honest with you. I just had the urge to put together something, starting with a framework, but of course without knowing what it will be telling it can't move very far. I've been spending most of my development time lately working on the roguelike I'm making, but after thats done I can't honestly say I will have any more idea of what I want to do once I have more time to work on the text adventure.

There's not really anything on my scratchpad of ideas in my wiki that would fit well as such, either. I could possibly do something related to the storyline of The Pocketwatch, but at this point it doesn't sound like that good of an idea (although I thought of adding multiple stories into this app as time goes on, so maybe one later on). I guess I'll just have to wait until I have some interesting dream that would be a good fit to adapt to a story such as this.



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Date: 23 Apr 2010 - 01:22
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Half-Paragraphs?

To continue on along the same line of the last entry, the second problem pointed out to me has been paragraph length. And that's the one that's confounded me the most, actually, because, as I think about it, I don't ever recall anything about paragraph length being covered in any of my English classes. 

This particular individual that hassled me had two things to complain about primarily: my sentence length being too short, which I went over last time, and my paragraph length being roughly half of the "normal".  She states the average should be 6 sentences per paragraph, and my overall average for the active projects (excluding Skewed, because again how dialogue-heavy it is) is 3.5 sentences per paragraph. The longest out of these is the "celebration" document, the story The Green House.

Now obviously, these rules about writing aren't meant to be strict, they are guidelines. And as such, things are going to be different from thing to thing. I've read some people's instructions to stay around that length, and I've read some people's instructions to write short paragraphs, depending on the particular style of writing. But, as I've read through these writing style guides and looked back over my work, I've come to notice that you almost could combine every two paragraphs into one.

The paragraphs are meant to be one set of ideas, one structure to hold everything together talking about a point before moving on to another one. Somehow, though, my style seems to split that, into half-paragraphs. I write a 3 sentence paragraph on some point, then the next paragraph I write a 3 sentence paragraph still on that same point, but looking at it in another way or something. Essentially, I am finding my writing is in a sort of "point/counterpoint" format. The two 3-sentence paragraphs are on the same particular topic, but because one is sort of a counterpoint, it looks better to me visually to separate it into a second paragraph. Essentially making the paragraphs into "half-paragraphs". 

Obviously not all of it is going to look like that, and dialogue breaks things up quite a bit as well. But as I review all my work over the years, that seems to be overall the way I have written for a very long time. I don't know when it started, because I don't have any of the stuff I wrote in Jr. High or Elementary School anymore, and I don't know why it started, but thats the way I write. Should I change it? Maybe. Maybe not. That's hard to say, really. Yes, I am going to have some criticisms about it from time to time, but aside from now I have never once had anyone particularly comment on that. But it is something that makes my writing mine, my own style of writing that makes it distinct from others. If, say, a publisher were to say I should adjust it for a work to be published, then I would in that case, but since people aren't complaining about it in general I don't see a reason to. After all, its the content that matters, not the structure, isn't it?

By some strange irony, the second highest document is the storyline for a roguelike I'm working on right now, which I was trying to deliberately write short to make the story segments simple to read. After all, you don't play a roguelike for the gripping storyline, you play it for the randomness. And this blog is written with an altogether different style, the style of online news, which treats paragraphs rather differently, so not going to do any sort of counts for this blog overall. And because, as evidenced last time with the post's word count, I totally can't show my point using my explanation as a demonstration, as this blog post's average to the end of this line is 5.0.




Date: 20 Apr 2010 - 00:32
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