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May 2nd, 2009, 08:26
Scott from ITS let us know he has posted a new Cyclopean writing sample on the forums:
The Curious Manuxet Medicine Man

17 September, 1720 Deerfield, Massachusetts
The ink still wet on my diploma, I had first come to the New World hoping to practice Law. I had thought there to be much work to do with Indian treaties and in the forming of new laws for our Colonies in the Americas, an opinion formed from equal parts hearsay, promotional pamphlets, and groundless optimism. At the time I had little in the way of name or fortune, and in point of fact, still do not.

After my first twelve-month in the port of Boston I have still only secured a handful of contracts. Due a facility with languages, these mostly involved treating with local Indian tribes on behalf of the merchant guilds. These contracts are seasonal however, and with Winter approaching and no prospect of regular work, I was considering crewing my passage back to London when a letter arrived from an old school mentor, one John Susskind.

In previous years, Susskind had held the post of Proctor at Deerfield Township in the interior of Massachusetts. Having lately heard through mutual acquaintances in Britain of my difficulties in the Colonies, he had secured an invitation for me from the new Proctor of Deerfield, Richard Manley. Manley is a man of much influence whose name I myself have heard bruited about London whenever the Colonies were mentioned. Susskind opined that I was sure to find the work to my liking, providing, as he said, that I was not already set up as a merchant-lord in Boston. Since this was definitely not the case, I spent the last of my funds to buy passage with one of the infrequent goods trains into the interior.
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May 2nd, 2009, 08:26
Good one. Very Lovecraftian. This wouldn't be out of place in an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos tales, and is far above what we're used to seeing in games.

There were a few anachronisms in the vocabulary though, IMO — "hug" instead of "embrace," "old bird" which is more early 20th than late 18th century, that sort of thing, but it managed to capture a "period" feel without being unduly stilted in language too.
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May 2nd, 2009, 09:46
Sounds to me rather like Edgar Allan Poe - only darker. And with no resulution of the whole problem like in "The Gold Bug" (one of my really favourite stories by Mr. Poe).

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May 2nd, 2009, 17:30
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
There were a few anachronisms in the vocabulary though, IMO — "hug" instead of "embrace," "old bird" which is more early 20th than late 18th century, that sort of thing, but it managed to capture a "period" feel without being unduly stilted in language too.
I dropped the more stylized, period-appropriate misspellings and capitalizations I used in a couple other stories. It was too long to keep it up and I didn't think it would add anything.

Whenever I'm doubtful of a word, I double check its etymology and often discover that slang and certain terms go back much farther than I would have thought, often to the 1600's.

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May 2nd, 2009, 18:54
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
I dropped the more stylized, period-appropriate misspellings and capitalizations I used in a couple other stories. It was too long to keep it up and I didn't think it would add anything.
I agree, it's just stilted and irritating, not to mention plumb near impossible to do well enough to sound "right." You struck a very good balance — the language is modern and easily readable, but has very much of a period "feel" about it. Reminds me of some of Neil Gaiman's "historical" writing (and I mean that as very high praise indeed).

Whenever I'm doubtful of a word, I double check its etymology and often discover that slang and certain terms go back much farther than I would have thought, often to the 1600's.
Did you check "hug?" I've read a bunch of stuff from about that time (and earlier), and it has a distinctly modern ring to it.

Edit: I did, and according to Etymology Online, "hug" originally meant a hold in wrestling, at least in the 1600's. The sense could well have shifted by the time your tale is set in. (I'd still go with "embrace," though.)
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May 2nd, 2009, 19:46
Very good! I get impatient reading just about anything, honestly, but this I read word for word and enjoyed. I thought it was a treat, like eating a cleverly prepared meal with satisfying bits sprinkled in throughout.

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May 3rd, 2009, 15:35
Shakespeare used hug so it's been around a lot longer than Lovecraft.
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May 3rd, 2009, 15:37
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Shakespeare used hug so it's been around a lot longer than Lovecraft.
Whaddya know, you're right. Learn something every day!

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May 3rd, 2009, 15:44
It's easy when you have the OED at your fingertips.
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