More than just Volocio out here…

‘Researching the Role…’

On Writing with a Foreign Language…

So my current project takes place in South America…in the beginning.  I have a group of characters who speak Spanish.  The question here is how do I portray that? Do I write in English and just say it’s in Spanish?  Do I write some bits in Spanish and then immediately translate? Or do I go the David Mitchell route from Cloud Atlas and just write certain excerpts in only Spanish and let the readers hope for the best?

I think I’m trying a little bit of everything.  Mainly the dialogue is in English; however, I have managed to put in a little phrases here and there (being half-Peruvian, I use what I grew up with).  I feel that it makes it a little more real by adding this little dash of flavor.  Examples?

I have a character who has a line that goes something like this:

Oye huevon! Que haces aqui? Why are you not at the church yet?”

I don’t translate it.  If you’re familiar enough with Peruvian Spanish, you’ll get the ‘huevon’ bit.  If not, it doesn’t effect the story.  It is simply a name that one character is calling another in jest.  “Que haces aqui?” What are you doing here?  I don’t translate that either since but you see what I did there? What are you doing here and Why are you not at the church yet are asking the same questions.

In essence, I added a little dash of culture but what is important is still in English.  Don’t get me wrong, I do write some dialogue where it has to be translated.  But if you do this, use it sparingly.  So far, it is one of the few places in this project where such a practice is used:

“Parca,” the old man whispered. Reaper.


“¿Me puedes ayudar?” Can you help me?

Cesar nodded. “Por supuesto, señor.” Of course, sir.

What other ways of utilizing a foreign language do you use?  Granted, not all of us are Tolkien’s here who can develop a complete language for books (although, like Tolkien, I did study linguistics….I just wasn’t a professor).  Do any of you try to use your own language when writing?



On Music as a Source of Inspiration…

I do most of my writing with a playlist in the background. I have always had a thing for soundtracks and when I was younger (actually I still do this today) I would listen to a song an imagine scenes played out. In fact there have been a number of songs that have really inspired some scenes. Currently the ones I have been listening to the most are the following:

The Fountain original soundtrack by Clint Mansell
Civilian by Wye Oak
Last of the Mohicans original soundtrack by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman
La Concha Perla traditional song of La Marinera
Viento de los Andes a CD of various traditional Andean music
Songs by Loreena McKennitt
Songs by Nuttin’ but Stringz
Wuthering Heights original soundtrack from the Masterpiece Theater version by Ruth Barrett

What about you guys? What songs inspire you? As you can see, my list is sort of all over the place and these are songs that help me in my current project. I have a list for Volocio but since that book isn’t out yet there is no point in telling you that list until then.

I may revisit this post later once the book is out there and then I will give you a more accurate list of what songs help inspire what scenes.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I know it’s been awhile and I promise to write more!

Until next time,

On Writing While Having a Full-Time Job…

Right now, I am flooded with ideas. So many ideas that there is not enough time in the day to get it all down in writing.  Trouble is: I currently make my living at a pharmaceutical company where I work a normal 9-5.  That’s 40 hours a week that I don’t get to write.  ARGH!

Aye, there’s the rub.

I’ve known since I was young that writing was my passion.  However, I’ve always known that the chances of making a living off of writing was slim to none which was why I went for my second passion: science.

Yes, I make good money, but I do have to work.  I am not the only one who works to live and spends the rest of her time living her dream.  One of my co-workers spends his free-time on his productions.

I know this is a shameless plug, but go and check out his skits:

Anyway, with this influx of ideas and a full-time job…how do I manage?  You have to do what you can.  Me, I always carry a notebook.  If I get an idea, I jot it down (even if I have to take a quick restroom break to do it).  Obviously, I have to be serious about my job, so I try to take advantage during a tea break (yes, I take tea breaks as I don’t drink coffee) or lunch break.  That way when I get home my ideas are written down and not forgotten.  It’s hard but you have to do what you have to do.

One of my besties is a playwright in New York.  She’s getting her masters at Queens and is getting so much exposure.  I am so happy and slightly jealous.  I want that kind of exposure but I have my job.  Ugh.  She deserves great things, she is such a wonderful writer.

I will get there.  I know I will, it will just take longer.

But I know that I am not the only one going through this.  I know there are people out there working for the man while trying to live the dream.  It’s hard.  But never stop.  The important thing to remember is this: when it comes to art, you have to do it for yourself.  Honestly, don’t do it for the fame or the glory or for anyone else.  You have to do it for you. You. You. You.

I know this is quick, but I had to mention it.

That’s all for now.


On New Books…

So I have put aside my Volocio trilogy for a bit because I have had a HUGE influx of ideas concerning other projects. When I was originally writing, I was planing to pull a George Lucas. What do I mean? Well, my saga so far will span 6 books and I wanted to start with book 4. Then work my way back to the beginning.

But here’s the rub…

While Volocio is finished, I am having a hard time getting an agent for such a complicated piece of work. It is a very complicated world with a lot of the groundwork yet to be laid out. So now i am just biting the bullet and going all the way back to the beginning.

Where the Volocio came from.

Well…I am not going to tell you everything here, but here is a hint as I went about doing some location research yesterday with a friend:


I think that’s a damn good hint for now.

Until next time,