Friday, August 5, 2016

Latin Novellas: Nuts & bolts

Salvete omnes! I wrote way too many words about Latin novella-writing so this is part one of a three part series.

First things first, these are the ones currently available. There are a lot of people working on more, which is awesome.

Also, just recently a FB group was created for people working on Latin novellas to discuss the process and help each other out a bit, etc. If you're planning to write something or already writing, join it! More under the cut.

Stuff you shouldn't worry about yet

re: publishing. Most of us used It's not the only option, but it's easy and part of Amazon, which means it's basically immediately available world-wide.

re: your copyright. Creative Commons is a really good way to make a license, especially if you want some level of free use to be allowed. Whatever you do, do think about what rights you want to retain and what you're okay with giving up. You retain copyright by being the author, but you can choose to allow certain levels of use & modification which I think is a nice thing to do.

re: pricing. Most of them are $6-7 with occasional conference pricing discounts. Feel free to charge more or less. I make mine freely available because I have a lot of privilege guilt and I'm trying to "give back" or something, and also because I think Open Source is the best way to make more resources available more quickly. The paid version is only because people wanted bound versions for their classrooms & to reduce photocopy waste.

Stuff you should worry about

re: other people's copyright. Respect it. That means don't steal images or sentences or plots. Duh. But also, some publishers of textbooks don't want you to use their characters, for example. Be careful about that. Also, I don't think this has been a problem so far, but even though these are for a pretty small market, it's not a good idea to rip off a movie or show or book you like for the plot. Just do something original or myth- or history-based.

re: unsheltering grammar. This is basic CI tenet that I have a lot of trouble getting my brain around, but here's a painful epiphany for you: most of your students don't look at endings anyway, no matter whether you're teaching them G/T or CI.

Just think back to every translation you've ever graded or heard, especially in the lower levels. (pic from here)
So if you need to say faciat, say faciat. Don't make it facit out of a misplaced concern that they'll be confused. They'll be fine. If it's a really weird form, like velim for volo, well, you can gloss it if you're that concerned.

(The above is not drawn from any formal research, but if you know of some, please tell me because I'm pretty sure I'm right.)

re: sheltering vocab. Bear in mind the below is my writing process, which led to a relatively difficult novella. I personally found however that doing it this way was easier on my creativity and I think led to better Latin and a better story than if I had tried to do it in a more restrictive way. YMMV.
  1. Write it keeping frequency in mind, but don't stress too much. Use the DCC frequency list and Logeion's frequency tool to determine what words to use. Once you have a full draft, go back and...
  2. use a word-count tool, e.g. (n.b. rather fussy, significant learning curve) or this other one (n.b. can't handle macrons). I tend to use voyant & then put it all into an excel sheet so I can manipulate it. I tend to also separate it by lemma/dictionary heading at this point, which involves significantly more fussing, but I can do a guide on it sometime.
  3. Look at the list and figure out which words you only used a few times. Not forms, WORDS, i.e. if you used vult and volunt those count as one "word" for frequency purposes.
  4. Replace those rarely used ones with higher frequency ones. Let's say you have the word domus plenty in your story, but you've used habito only twice. Maybe instead of in Italia habito you could say domus mea in Italia est. see Latin usage caveats section in the entry coming out Monday, however.
  5. Now, deal with the Latin issues, for which see the entry which will be coming out on Monday.
Bonam fortunam!

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