Ignore the skull. It doesn’t have much to do with today’s blog. I’ve no real excuse for using it except that I liked it.
As I’ve lain awake each night for the last four months, chiseling away at the final edits of Dark Moon Daughter, I’ve found my mind roaming into realms both strange and eerie. I’m sleep deprived. I’m locked in my man-cave. I’m in an abyss, starved for meaningful human contact, yet utterly in love with the loneliness of writing in the dark. I’ve always believed there’s a certain amount of lunacy/mild sociopathy required to be a writer, and I’m no exception. Whenever I’m locked in obsessive write-mode, I travel to places downright terrifying and weird. I dream of things that could never exist. I create sentences, destroy them, and resurrect them again and again in the wild hopes of giving my readers just a glimpse of the galactic-scale warfare taking place between my synapses.
And in doing so, I have to use words.
So let’s cut to the chase. I’ve got seven of my favorite words on the tip of my tongue. I want to share them with you. I hope, after you’ve consumed my list, you’ll stuff the comments section with your favorites. I’d love to see them.
Without further ado, I present:
1. Crenellation – a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows or guns
It’s no secret. I love writing about spiraling towers, vast fortresses, and cloud-penetrating, sky-wounding, bad-guy battlestations. I’m also a nut for medieval architecture. The image of a castle’s last surviving archer squatting behind a crenel and firing off arrows at the hordes below sits right with me. If you were guarding a castle, you’d want a crenellation, too.
2. Annihilate – destroy utterly; obliterate
What do antagonists (and just as often protagonists) desire for their enemies? Do they want to maul them, hurt them, punish them? No. What they really want is to annihilate them. They desire dust and ash, powder and bonemeal. Admit it; you’ve felt this way about someone or something. Or am I the only one?
3. Moldering – slowly decay or disintegrate, esp. because of neglect
Rot is tired. Ruin is on sick leave. Decay just took a vacation. When it absolutely, positively must be reduced to the latter stages of disintegration, it must molder. It works for houses, castles, bodies, cities, or in the case of one of my books, entire worlds.
4. Exile – expulsion from one’s native land by authoritative decree.
Exile, in a way, is worse than death. We’re not talking about the prince sent to a neighboring kingdom or a lord sent away to a posh, thousand-pillowed prison. We’re talking about total expulsion, the removal of everything a character holds sacred. We’re talking permanent banishment into a realm at the edge of civilization. “Here’s a desert, my friend, scorched by the sun during the day, stalked by three-thousand year-old wights after twilight. Enjoy…”
5. Profane – characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.
In a close tie with blapheme and desecrate, I’ve an image in mind for profane, but I can’t put it here. No way. Not happening. Simply put, when something is profaned in a book (or real life) someone’s going to be angry…very angry. Thus vengeance is conceived.
6. Phial -a small bottle for liquids; vial
Slender. Delicate. Glass. But in these small relics might slosh the venom to lay a king in his grave, the potion to restore a lost companion to life, or the foul brew which living men dare not ingest, fearing their skins might slough off and their minds turn to porridge. ($2 to whoever guesses which concoction I’m most likely to use)
7. Bones – The dense, semirigid, porous, calcified connective tissue forming the major portion of the skeleton of most vertebrates
This one was obvious. Maybe the skull up top belonged after all. In writing Down the Dark Path, Dark Moon Daughter, Nether Kingdom, Hollow Empire, and even Old Man of Tessera, bones played a role. We’re not limiting ourselves to human bones. We’re talking the bones of a long-sunken ship, the bones of an empire, the bones of an ancient civilization mortared to the walls of a cavern ten miles deep. Almost everything alive has a skeleton of sorts. More importantly, so does almost everything dead. My next twenty books had better be about fluffy unicorns and romantic nights on the beach, else people might start to worry.
Now it’s your turn. I want your favorite words, and why.