Stargate Monuments


Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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We went to the Caldwell Czech Heritage/Kolache Festival yesterday afternoon. Fun, but it was hot. Like, really hot. Or, as one of the vendors we passed said, "Oh sweet merciful lord, the heat!" It was held in the downtown square and streets around the courthouse, and the problem with little old towns holding their festivals in their little old downtown area around their courthouse, is that the old brick buildings there tend to reflect and hold in the heat from the street, the way an open field wouldn't. We wished that the courthouse trees were ents, so we could pay one of them to follow us around.

It's the first time we've gone, and it had actually been rained out by hurricanes or tropical storms for the past two years.

Then we came back to town and went to Pho John's and had truly delicious Vietnamese food for dinner.


Tiyana W. said Anyhow, I love your worldbuilding in Death of a Necromancer and the Fall of Ile-Rien series, and I noticed there are some Wikipedia pages up with info about the worlds in your books, which is kind of cool.

I have three questions. The first doesn't directly pertain to writing, but I was curious if the info on Wikipedia is stuff you've posted yourself, or was this a task freely taken up by hard-core fans?

Nope, I didn't do that. I'm not sure who did, but to whoever it was, thanks very much for doing the work of putting all that up there. The main Ile-Rien page is here, and there are also sub-pages for Countries, Cities, and Places, Characters, and The Gardier.

Second, what inspired you to come up with your concept for etheric signatures and using special glasses with which to view them?

The concept of aether has been around for a long time, in early Greek philosophy and later in medieval alchemy. It's been so long since I wrote those books, that I can't remember where I got the idea for viewing it with special glasses. I think it started with the gascoign powder (which was a real substance used in alchemy) that the characters used in the earlier books to see traces of spells, and that the sorcerers of Ile-Rien would have been trying to come up with a way to do that more easily, and that a greater understanding of aether would have led to something like the glasses.

And lastly, is there any difference in meaning when you use "aether" and "ether" in your stories
or are they pretty much the same thing? (I hope I don't sound nitpicky or anything; I'm just genuinely curious!)

They're exactly the same thing, but sometimes copyeditors don't like you to use more archaic spellings. :)

Oh, on the previous question, sinanju on dreamwidth suggested over here.

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Thanks for responding. :)

That's interesting. It seems silly that an editor wouldn't let you use that spelling but I guess they have their reasons, what with the modern audience and all. Though, if using archaic spellings, or even spellings uncommon to American English, was a big part of your novel that contributed to its style and the cultures within the story world, I wonder would copy editors generally take (less) issue with that?

No prob! :)

It depends a lot on the copyeditor -- (and FYI to anyone who doesn't know, that's the person who goes over the manuscript after the editor, and checks for grammar, spelling, continuity, points out possible word choice/sentence structure problems, and, before computers, did the mark-up for the typesetter. (The editor looks more at large issues like plot problems, characterization, etc.))

Some copyeditors are excellent, and are a big help to the writer, some aren't so good. Copyeditors used to work directly for the publisher, so they were a lot more likely to know the writers' work, be familiar with the genres, and so on. Now publishers tend to outsource the copyediting, so you may get someone who is very inexperienced, doesn't understand fantasy novels, or may not even be a big fiction reader at all, and that can cause a lot of problems.

A good experienced copyeditor will realize pretty quickly that you're using an archaic spelling intentionally for effect, and let it stand without questions.

Mm, so a bit of it is just luck of the draw when it comes to who edits your writing, huh? Ah, well, I guess that's life.

Oh wow, I'm learning a lot today! As an aspiring novelist, every bit of info helps. Thanks so much for all the insight! (And I'm so looking forward to your latest novels!)

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