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Jul. 31st, 2008

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

Whenever an author goes to create a world, soon or late they have to deal with the issue of swearing. Even if the decision is “not used in this language” it has to be dealt with.

One of the common options, especially in fantasy, is to invent gods to swear by, but this can sometimes come off as contrived. I therefore offer this small compilation of swearing patterns to assist those starting out.

A lot of swearing is some corruption of an expression of respect, when you think about it, the original form having been someone calling on their deity to witness their sincerity or truthfulness or, alternatively, the severity of the situation–possibly in hopes that, having noticed, the deity in question will fork over some assistance. This, of course, quickly devolves from deliberate calling upon to simple expression of exasperation, anger or other strong emotion. So the first question is: how for down this progression is the swearing in question?

If it’s still early days, some reliable formulae are “by deity-name!”, “by deity-name’s identifying-object!” or “deity-name significant-activity!”

A bit further on, you can start loosening the association with the actual deity. For example, if you take a body part associated with the significant activity, you can use “deity-name’s descriptive-adjective body-part!”. If the identifying object seems like a better bet, “deity-name’s descriptive-adjective identifying-object!” is also pretty standard. The degree of respect or facetiousness in the descriptive adjective should be matched to the manner of the character doing the swearing.

Eventually this can progress into the downright silly, at which point it may well start expanding also. For example: “deity-name on/in/with a strange-descriptive-adjective totally-unassociated-object”.

Now, if you decide you want to avoid deities entirely, you can always use animals instead. Some common variations on that are “domesticated-animal undesirable-byproduct!” or “domesticated-animal troublesome-behavior!”.

If you’re far enough along the aforementioned progression, you can even combine this with the deity version, for something like “deity-name troublesome-behavior!”.

One thing to remember in all this: don’t get too carried away with sniggering and go overboard. Otherwise you’ll wind up like Steve White, who is clearly a little too personally amused by the literal translation of some earthier Russian figures of speech.

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

My public service post for the month.

OpenID is a nice little thing, and it allows you to log in to services you do not actually have an account with. Generally a pseudo-account is created for you under username.homeservice.com. People on, for example, LJ-code-based services can then friend your “account”, username.homeservice.com. Voila, you can read the locked posts of your friends on services that are not homeservice. If you friend them back with your pseudo-account, you will have an otherservice fpage to read them on.

That’s the sketch. Here’s the dissection.

OpenID will not let you view all of your otherservice friends’ locked posts on your homeservice flist. If your friend on otherservice has an RSS feed account at on your homeservice, locked entries will not appear there. Alas, or possibly thank goodness, considering the security issues. What OpenID will let you do is have an flist on each service in question. Each flist will let you read and comment on the locked posts of your friends.

So what you do is this.

Go ahead and log in to otherservice with OpenID; there will usually be something on the homepage telling you how, or you can just comment. When prompted by homeservice whether or not to trust otherservice with confirmation, make sure you select “Yes Always”. Don’t worry, otherservice doesn’t get your password or anything. Open up your profile page (you will have one, at least on the LJ-code-based services).

Click on the “edit your profile” link and fill in your email address.  This is extremely important.  This is how you will get replies to your OpenID comments sent to you.  If you wish, you can also select an icon for your OpenID account.

Now log out and log in again, checking any boxes you need to check for “remember me” or “keep me logged in”. Be sure your cookies are set to allow that site to remember you, if you do not normally allow that.

Friend everyone you need to (this is also important) and ask them to friend your OpenID pseudo-account back (equally important).

Now open up your otherservice flist and copy the url.

Go back to your homeservice and add that url to your link list. Repeat these steps for each otherservice flist.

Now you can click on those links and read your various flists, just like you would click on a subdivision or filter of your homeservice flist. And, because you are always logged in (be sure to check that occasionally in case you’re bumped off) you will be able to read locked posts and comment seamlessly, without having to log in or switch around.

This is how OpenID lets you have a distributed flist. It’s really multiple flists, but if you have the link right there in your sidebar, your actual reading experience will be about as simple as it always has been with a single service.

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