Waiter, there’s a grobginthnik in my x’nibblierk!

Without warning the captured gnomish thief reached into his cloak and removed a g’tharknik–

[Hang on, wait–what’s a “g’tharknik” again? Isn’t that the big shaggy animal with horns? How did a gnome fit one of those in his cloak? Is it a cloak of holding or something?  Gonna have to check the glossary–

Flip flip flip flip…

Oh, here it is: G’tharknik, (n) A ceremonial dagger used by gnomes to commit vernarkdik (c.f)

Vernarkdik?  What the heck’s that?

Flip, flip, flip…

Okay: Vernarkdik, (n) An act of treachery performed by a gnome.

Got it.  The gnome has a knife up his sleeve. Now where the heck was I?]

Without warning the captured gnomish thief reached into his cloak and removed a g’tharknik, which he plunged into the heart of the soldier holding him.  Leaping nimbly across the floor he leapt on the back of his waiting g’liptrik–

[Right, the “g’liptrik” is the big shaggy animal with horns, I guess]

Leaping nimbly across the floor he leapt on the back of his waiting g’liptrik, which instantly took off into the air–

[Hang on, “g’liptriks” can fly?  Lemme see–

Flip, flip, flip…

Oh, wait: G’liptrik (n) Giant eagle raised by Gnomes as a riding beast.

Oh, that was an eagle in the corner–I was thinking it was like a longhorn sheep or something.]

Leaping nimbly across the floor he leapt on the back of his waiting g’liptrik, which instantly took off into the air, narrowly missing the flishoopalert on the castle wall–

[Flishoopalert?

Flip, flip, flip…

Flishoopalert, (n) An Imperial bowman.

Now where the hell was I again?]

Leaping nimbly across the floor he leapt on the back of his waiting g’liptrik, which instantly took off into the air, narrowly missing the flishoopalert on the castle wall, then escaping eastward towards the waiting ygg’nimblinks–

[Screw it.]

This is why I don’t read much Epic Fantasy.

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Publishing, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Waiter, there’s a grobginthnik in my x’nibblierk!

  1. The Mixed GM says:

    I cannot tell if this is an excerpt from a real novel, or if you just made it up. I am afraid of the answer either way.

  2. Dave Higgins says:

    Viddy well, O authorial droogs. Too much jargon can be such a pain in the gulliver the reader is inclined to say yarblokkos to the lot of it.

  3. Mary says:

    Of course, it can be a difficulty with real worlds. Gene Wolfe provided a glossary for the The Book of the New Sun, though using all pre-invented words

    And I did get a beta reader observing that she had stopped reading The Princess Goes Into The Forest to look up onomastics, only to discover it’s a real word: the study of proper names. (A study much more exciting in a magical world than our own.)

  4. Someplace I came across an article about not doing that in SF writing.

    Also to avoid the unpronounceable words with too many apostrophes.

    I think you have a couple of choices here: 1) translate the language of your made-up culture into English equivalent for benefit of the reader – if the character is a native of that culture he would automatically think that way;

    2) Introduce terms SLOWLY at a measured pace, followed immediately by description of the thing, so that readers will know what they are later on – this would work for a character from outside the culture as he would have to familiarize himself with the terms.

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