Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why the Second Edition?

Guest Post: Dawnflight

What I did after my summer vacation

Or, “Why the Second Edition?”

This year marks the release—14 years after its original publication by Sonnet Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster—of what I officially term the second edition of Dawnflight.

In this age of instant gratification and DIY publishing, fans wonder why I took the trouble to make such substantial changes to what was already an award-winning, critically acclaimed novel to warrant labeling it a new edition. The answer lies rooted in the maze of my psyche.

I am, and always have been, a chronic overachiever.

There. The secret is out! I feel much better now. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Oh… you want to know why. Quite right; I did promise you the why.

A late addition to Dawnflight’s first edition featured “Pictish” language terms I invented, based upon Scottish Gaelic, to convey key concepts of my characters’ world. So far, so good. But keep in mind I was performing that research in the late 1990s, before the Internet became the repository for everything under the sun and beyond, and I had bumped up against the deadline for submitting the final draft for publication. For the Pictish terms requiring a plural form, I simply slapped on an “s.” Bzzzt—wrong! Thank you for playing. That’s an Anglo-Saxon construct, not a Gaelic one.

No one else seemed to notice…but I never forgot.

Flash-forward to the summer of 2012, when I made the decision to self-publish Dawnflight’s sequels. While waiting for professional editorial input on the first sequel, Morning’s Journey, I decided to dive back into Scottish Gaelic to figure out how to generate the correct plural forms of my terms. The deeper I dove, the more immersed I became; I began to see linguistic patterns that I could mine to create new endearments and epithets for my characters to use toward each other. As summer blazed into autumn, these patterns led me to study Irish Gaelic, Old Welsh, and Old English, where I discovered to my chronic overachieving delight that I could invent entire sets of idiomatic terminology for my characters of the various races to describe themselves and each other. Even their pantheons gained new deities from this trove of linguistic knowledge I had acquired.

I like to believe that J. R. R. Tolkien—the second “R” of which I employ for the name of a minor character in homage to Professor Tolkien’s academic contributions to the English literary landscape—would have been proud.

Ah yes, before I forget…I ramped up the sex, too.

Read, dream, and enjoy!

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