Behind the Moments: Language and Other Wording

In honor of the three months since A Moment’s Worth came out, for the month of October, I shall be doing a series where I reveal some background history of the novel each week.  I might include some content that may contain spoilers, so be careful when reading if you haven’t already read the book yet.  I hope you enjoy.

If you had read my author’s commentary that I had done about “The Shadows,” then you may remember how I took time to talk about how and why I incorporated bits of the Portuguese language into it.  You may also recall me saying that I did a little bit of that with A Moment’s Worth too, which is what I’m taking the time to talk about and expand upon now.

Despite my very weak ability at picking up foreign languages, I still have a love for them.  If reincarnation exists, then I honestly believe that I was a linguist in a past life.

On a general scale, A Moment’s Worth includes a lot of aspects that hail from my own personal interests, and while that goes for incorporating words of different languages beyond English into the text, it goes more beyond that.  It’s also a way of acknowledging the very evident multiculturalism we have in the United States.  While it may not always be evident in the material you’d see in other books and on TV, I really wanted to make an emphasis on that.  I grew up (and still live) in the San Francisco Bay Area, and diversity is very heavily present here.  I walk around and I can hear conversations taking place in languages such as Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese all over the place.  It’s quite normal here, and I guess I have that to thank for my interest in language as well.

Notice how I included a glossary in the book, to clarify some of those words, because I wanted to provide as much understanding as possible for anyone reading it.  However, there are times though in the novel where I took a word in a different language and made it a name.  Take for instance the characters Baleia and Mr. Gestirn.  Have you ever tried doing a search on their names on Google Images before, to see what you would get?  (NOTE: If you decide to do so after reading this, DO NOT ruin it for others who haven’t read the book yet.)

It’s not just words in different languages that I made an emphasis on incorporating into the novel; there are also slang words too.  Slang definitely makes up a culture, whether specific to a certain place or to a certain generation.  It would seem unnatural not to incorporate any slang into the text, which is why I not only made the effort to do so, but also to include them in the glossary as well.  An example can be the word “hella;” a word that’s frequently used here in the Bay Area.  It’s often used in place of words such as “really,” “so,” or “very.”  I used it, not only in highlighting where certain characters are from (an example being Yvonne), but also to show where they are.  (Warning: Spoilers up ahead.)  Notice how I never disclosed which school that Dante, Takoda, and Kira attend, and yet I drop cultural hints, such as the usage of the word “hella,” to indicate which one it could be.  While this along with other descriptions could indicate generally any college in the Bay Area, the school that I was describing was actually UC Berkeley.

I take language even further by even using words that otherwise are generally frowned upon when spoken out loud.  Yes, I’m talking about curse words.  When writing a book set in modern times and with a cast of young characters, it’s hard not to include curse words.  But my thing about it though is, I wanted to be clever with how I went about with curse words.  Speaking as someone who rarely curses, I’ve noticed how the more often you use them, the less effective they are in meaning.  But on the other hand, the less often you use them, the more effective they are in their meaning and intent.  I remember watching an interview done with an children’s author who is adamant about eventually getting around to writing adult novels, not only for content’s sake but to use more curse words.  In my point of view, that’s just a really immature approach to the subject.  My philosophy is, if you’re going to curse, make it mean something.  Just try counting how many times I use the word s#!% throughout the novel and see how much more effective it is, because I restricted myself to using it only a certain number of times.

Words of different languages, slang terms, and curse words.  These are components that I made the effort of incorporating into my novel, for the sake livening it up a bit, and this is something I’m definitely going to continue to some capacity or another in my second novel as well.

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunesPlease leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).

Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.



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