Elvish Vs Elven

From a writing perspective, which word do you use more often? Elvish or Elven???

Why does it matter?

Well, let me explain.

If you are a fantasy writer and your fictional world contains elves, chances are likely you are going to sometimes being using one or both of the above words.

It varies upon the author, but typically it works as follows:

Elvish - The language of elves, but also used as an adjective to describe elvish words, elvish names, elvish poetry, elvish writing, elvish script, elvish semantics, etc.

Elven - An adjective used to describe things made by elves. Elven swords, elven architecture, elven magic, elven mapmaking techniques, etc.

As noted above however, it does vary with the author. Tolkien for example had his own rules for when he used elven and elvish. But at least he was consistent about it.

And therein lies the most important part. As a fantasy writer if you are going to use the words in question then you need to use them consistently.

For example, Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the Witcher book series, uses "Eldar" as the language of elves instead of Elvish. But at least he does it consistently.

In my own writing I use elvish and elven, as per the definitions above, and Eldar refers to completely different group of powerful beings known as the "Eldar Noramir".

For more about the Eldar Noramir see the Korovian Creation Myth.

But I do find it interesting that Sapkowski chose to use the word Eldar as the language of elves.

Eldar has multiple meanings in different languages:
  • Eldar in Hebrew - "God Resides".
  • Eldar in Old Norse - A warrior who wields fire as a weapon.
  • Eldar in Turkic - Ruler or King.
  • Eldar in Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic - Fire.

So there is a lot of meanings to possibly interpret there.

In Tolkien's work Eldar is a name applied to elves. The name was given to the elves by the Vala Oromë when he first found them wandering.

So Eldar has previously been used as an alternative to saying elves.

Andrzej Sapkowski might have even considered giving the book shown above a different title. eg. "Blood of the Eldar".

But then only nerds like myself would know he was talking about elves.


Question Time!
 "As a writer, how do you depict dialogue between characters who are speaking elvish?"

That depends on who the POV (Point of View) character is.

If the main character/POV character doesn't speak Elvish, I write it in elvish so the reader doesn't know the words either.

Although for reference I use Esperanto as a way to translate English into an elvish sounding language. Esperanto is effectively my go to language for all things elvish.

If the POV character does speak elvish then I write the words in English, but I indicate to the reader which language is being spoken.

Eg. "Greetings friend, how farest thee?" asked the halfling in formal elvish.

Note also that the character's knowledge of the language might vary. Flawless elvish, formal elvish, informal elvish, crude elvish, a childish knowledge of elvish, and they probably speak with an accent if their elvish is not flawless.

Which words I choose to use in a particular situation also varies on the language.

Formal High Elvish is more flowery and flowing, prone to artistic flair and metaphor.

Dwarven is more guttural and sounds rocky, with Low Dwarven being prone to swearing.

Halfling or Habbel is more pastoral, using simpler words common to farmers, and prone to anecdotal sayings.

Minotaurs talk like vegans. Vegans who are holier than thou and very formal about it. eg. "Wouldst thou eat an ape? Then don't expectest me to eat thine cattle."

Because Korovia is so in-depth and complex I created a section on my fiction website where people can read about Korovia's complex history, culture, economics, maps, guilds, heraldry, religions and more. This way fans of my writing can find lots of background information about the world.

I even made a page dedicated just to fables.

The Witcher Music / Complete Tunes

The music from The Witcher TV series is very catchy. However there is more to listen to. Below is the most popular song from The Witcher TV series ("Toss a Coin to Your Witcher"), and the Full Soundtracks for the TV show, as well as all three games from The Witcher video game series.

Cannot get enough of the Witcher? I recommend reading the books too.

Also earlier today I found out they are also making an animated Witcher movie that will take place during the timeline of the TV series.

Especially the following one:

Toss a Coin to Your Witcher

Netflix's The Witcher - Full Soundtrack

The Witcher 3 - Full Soundtrack from the Game

The Witcher 2 - Full Soundtrack from the Game

The Witcher (1) - Full Soundtrack from the Game

Adrian von Ziegler's Fantasy Music

I just wanted to say that I am completed addicted to Adrian von Ziegler's Fantasy Music on YouTube.


The guy makes a variety of differently themed fantasy music. I put it on while I #amwritingfantasy.

  • Celtic Music
  • Fable Music
  • Faerie Music
  • Generic Fantasy Music
  • Nordic Music
  • Slavic Music

And it certainly is not just me singing his praises. His videos get millions of views. One of them currently has 40 million views, a 2 hour long track of celtic music. Perfect for listening to while you write fantasy books like I do.

Below is one of my favourites.

Witch World, An Urban Fantasy Shared World

Witch World - By Charles Moffat, January 21st 2020.

I came up with the concept for this earlier today and I got so excited I needed to make a logo. A basic logo, but it will do for now.

But first, let me explain how this came to be.

A year ago I saw a posting on Facebook from a fellow writer who was looking to co-write a book / anthology with other writers, which would be an urban fantasy set in Earth and featuring witches (and wizards, warlocks, etc).

A total of 13 authors came together and the project was initially called "13 Witches".

That project however has become rather stillborn. It never survived its infancy.

Each author in the project was supposed to write 3 chapters each, with the '13 witch characters' coming together by the finale to defeat the villain(s).

At the time I wrote my chapters leading up to the finale, but realizing that this project was starting to look more and more doomed I started thinking about what could be done with the story I was writing if the project never made it to print.

Authors started dropping out of the project. The viability of the group was faltering.

This is the problem with writers collectives. Any time a group of writers tries to write something together there are going to be a series of hiccups and the end product will either be horrible and unreadable (not literally unreadable, metaphorically and figuratively speaking), or it will never make it to print anyway because the authors are too different, cannot agree on anything, and they each have a different concept for what they want to write about.

And frankly if they all wrote about the exact same thing the writing would get boring very quickly.

Take the Trillium series for example. The Trillium series is a series of five fantasy novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, and Andre Norton. While it must have sounded like a great idea on paper, having three writers co-write the first book was clearly a bad idea.
  • Black Trillium (1990, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, and Andre Norton)
  • Blood Trillium (1992, by Julian May)
  • Golden Trillium (1993, by Andre Norton)
  • Lady of the Trillium (1995, by Marion Zimmer Bradley)
  • Sky Trillium (1997, by Julian May)
Granted, they still sold books, what with the name recognition of brand name authors behind it, but it was definitely not a bestselling series. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" is an apt description for what went wrong with the first book. The 2nd to 5th books were not so bad, as the authors had more creative freedom to do what they want.

Anywho, back to the topic at hand.

"13 Witches" was doomed from the beginning.

I could in theory publish my chapters as a short story or novella, finishing the book by myself, but I still liked the idea of the other writers from the project doing their contributions.

Then earlier today I had a lightbulb moment, followed by a second lightbulb moment.

I was talking to another writer on Twitter (see twitter.com/charlesmoffat) and I got an idea concerning the issue of copyright ownership of shared worlds.

Essentially, shared worlds suffer from an issue. Who owns the copyright? Who owns the rights to publish books set within that world? The writers? The publishers? Both? Can anyone just write a book set in the shared world, or do they need permission?

And then I had that lightbulb moment and it occurred to me "What if the shared world had an anonymous copyright owner?" Meaning the copyright was completely anonymous and no one else could claim ownership. It could be run through a Facebook page or other websites anonymously. Just create a shared world, create logos/etc for it, promote it anonymously, and then other authors can join in and self-publish their work independently.

Following this I had a second lightbulb moment. What if the "13 Witches" group changed their goal from writing a book together to writing their books independently, under a different name, but still using a shared world?

None of us could claim sole independent ownership of the shared world, as it had been a group effort to create the shared fantasy world of the book in the first place. The big change here is that now each author can publish their stories independently using the common name.

We can let in other writers. No more "13 Witches", we can let in as many authors as want to join in the group effort. We need a different name. Thus "Witch World" became a thing.

Note - I did not create the shared world. That was a group effort. I only came up with the name.

A thing with a logo, because I got so excited about the concept I needed to make a logo. Even if it is just a temporary logo. (Probably going to change it later.)

The writers involved could:

  • Write as much or as little as they desire.
  • Write independently.
  • Publish independently.
  • Self-publish via whatever 3rd parties we want to (Amazon, Kobo, etc).
  • Publish multiple stories, novellas or novels in the shared world.
  • Price their work as they fit.
  • Collect their individual profits.
  • Use characters that appear in the work of other writers in the group.
  • Benefit from marketing synergy from the group effort.
  • Write and illustrate a graphic novel set within the shared world if they wanted to.

Now I only have one problem...

I am anxiously waiting to hear back from the other writers involved in the project. I have yet to learn what they have to say about the idea of converting our failed book effort into a shared world concept.

If nobody else is on board with the concept I may have to just go it alone.

Publish my story solo, as a standalone work of urban fantasy. I would prefer to do the shared world with the other writers from the group, the more the merrier, but if it doesn't happen then oh well.

I should have an answer within 48 hours.

Also I still like the idea of an "Anonymous Shared Fantasy World". I would need to come with a name for such a place, promote it secretly, write/publish the first book or short story anonymously. Then later I could join the shared world under my own name.

Or not.

I already have my own world that I created back in 1999. Korovia. 21 years and growing. I don't need to create another fantasy world. I am very busy enough as is with my own creation.

But that doesn't mean that a different writer could not read this and go "Hmm... I like this concept. I am going to create an Anonymous Shared Fantasy World where other authors can write and self-publish their work."

In which case please invite me to contribute to it.

In fact, if you already have a world of your own I would love to contribute to it. Maybe a short story. Maybe something bigger. Depends on how inspired by your world I am and whether I want to make a bigger commitment.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I really like shared fantasy worlds. I just wish there was ways authors could collaborate more easily together without stepping on each other's toes with respect to who owns the copyright to the fictional world you are using.

Happy Reading!

Writers: Conviction Vs Experience

I found this amusing.

Mostly because it is true of many writers I have met, especially young writers. Most of them I find give up at Steps 3 or 4.

Writing: Info Dumps Vs Mysteries

I was thinking about this recently with respect to a short story idea I had.

Having an info dump at the beginning of a story is used sometimes as a way to pass give the reader a lot of the background info the writer wants the reader to know. Even Tolkien, JKR and GRRM sometimes do this, even though it is generally frowned upon by other writers.

However the idea I have been working on is the concept of leaving breadcrumbs and clues for the reader via other characters being secretive and there being a mystery around certain things important to the plot. Thus the mystery about why it is a secret or taboo topic becomes a subplot.


"Spirit Warriors?" asked Belita. "What is a Spirit Warrior?"

The grey wizened elf looked away, his eyes staring into the fireplace. "An obsolete type of fighting. Don't concern yourself about it. Hasn't been a Spirit Warrior in these parts in centuries. They're almost a myth these days. We should concern ourselves with the task at hand."

And there you go. No big info dump. Just a few tantalizing clues and rare knowledge.

More clues later. Then more. Eventually the reader has the full picture of what Spirit Warriors are. Just the name "Spirit Warrior" gives you a clue that their powers are somehow mystical.

Ambiguity to me can be a blessing, like mysteries and secrets. Characters with secret motivations to me are invaluable. You don't reveal their true goals until near the end of the book, and only then does their actions make sense.

For example there is a character in particular I am thinking of in my novel "The Demon's Sacrifice" which falls into this category.

The eBook is $7.99 CDN and the paperback in Canada is $9.99. International prices may vary.

The Demon's Sacrifice, Paperback

The Demon's Pawn on Sale

January 5th 2020.

Starting today / January 5th and ending January 12th my book "The Demon's Pawn" is on sale on Amazon Kindle.

I published it under the pseudonym "Frederic King", but later in 2020 I will be dropping the pseudonym in favour of using my own name.

Sometime in 2020 I will be updating the book with the new cover, shown further below, and releasing the Second Edition version of the book. (And releasing a paperback of the Second Edition version.)

But for those people who want to read the First Edition version the book is on sale starting Jan. 5th until Jan 12th 2020.

Young Katya Yerovik has been raised in an elven monastery almost as long as she can remember... and her memories before then haunt her as nightmares about her father and herself being chased by a red-eyed horse with fiery hooves. When she reaches adulthood she sets out traveling west towards the Holy City of Kost to try and find her father. Armed with a bow, a sword and some rusty splintmail she faces the dangers of the road.

But unknown to Katya she has been a pawn in a game of chess from since before she was born, and the player is none other than the demon prince Varaziak who has set his sights on the Holy City of Kost...

A Hound Named Hunter FREE

Greetings Fans!

My short story "A Hound Named Hunter", which is a story of time traveling wolfhound, will be free on Amazon Kindle every Saturday in January 2020 + Saturday February 1st.

I love a good time paradox, but I also grew up reading stories about collies - Lassie books, and also the collie books of Albert Payson Terhune. Small surprise, I grew up and wrote a story about a time traveling dog.

As dog breeds go the "Korovian Wolfhound" is most similar to the Korean Chindo Kae, which shares similarities with border collies, except they are often white. They are often smaller, but when I lived in South Korea I once saw one that was as big as a German Shepherd.

A mysterious wolfhound is found on the banks of the Dangarn River, north of the tiny village of Dangarn. The dog's injuries are profound, but he makes a rapid recovery and his incredible intelligence belies a mystery surrounding his origins. Wild beasts and orc raiders roam the woods to the north, underlying the fears of the villagers that something more sinister lurks in the woods to the north...

Marketing Fantasy Books via Facebook or YouTube

So this is admittedly a post about marketing and advertising, from the perspective of a self-published author who promotes their fantasy books usually via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my website (fiction.charlesmoffat.com) and other websites (like this one).

But one of the things I have been meaning to do for years now is to create a YouTube channel where I can promote my writing (and to a lesser extent my paintings).

Well, I finally did it.

I created my first youtube video for my fantasy writing youtube channel.

And because it was both fun and easy, I decided to make an "unboxing video" for two Afro-Fantasy books I got for Christmas.

So why did I finally make a YouTube channel for my writing?

Honestly, I think it is partially because I am disliking the whole "advertise your book on Facebook" business model. It is a very spammy system, which I dislike, because there are tonnes of different fantasy writing facebook groups which either have a strict no spam policy or is just people spamming their books.

And there is no point promoting your books in either of the two.

I even administer two such groups:

Fantasy Writing (which admittedly I don't allow spam on and it is more geared towards fantasy writers talking to other fantasy writers)


Fantasy Authors and Marketing (which also doesn't allow spam, but is for fantasy writers to share their marketing techniques).

And then I have memberships in at least 30 other facebook groups for fantasy writers.

But asides from talking to other fantasy writers about writing craft, they aren't useful for marketing.

Same goes with having a "Facebook Author Page", which in my case is facebook.com/charlesmoffat.fans. It doesn't really work that well for marketing purposes. Sure, it is there. But people visiting the page are already fans. The page is not converting people into new fans of my writing (or painting). It is there just for existing fans.

This is why I think YouTube has more potential to engage new readers to my writing.

On youtube I can potentially post a variety of videos on various topics:
  • Excerpts from my books, read by myself. Effectively a short audiobook sample.
  • Book Reviews of other people's books.
  • Unboxing videos of other people's books (or possibly my books, but usually it will be other people's books as currently only 3 of my books are available as paperbacks).
  • Painting videos (I have begun a new policy of painting my own book covers).
  • Details about the fantasy kingdom of Korovia, the world in which most of my books are set in.
  • Audio versions of fables, myths and legends from Korovia.
  • Video of book signings.
  • Interviews with other fantasy writers.
  • Videos about my writing process, Q and A videos, where I get my inspiration from, etc.
There is a lot of options there and I am sure I will think of more over time.

The real trick is finding time to make the videos AND not getting chewed by mosquitoes. (Last year I tried making a book review video when I was outdoors in the wilderness... and the mosquitoes were attacking me... It was a disaster. I deleted all of the footage from that failed endeavour.)

So yes, really this is a matter of time and commitment to spending that time making videos.

However if I spend half the time I usually spend on Facebook and use that time making videos for YouTube instead, I should be able to make multiple new videos each week. And I could really use a break from Facebook. Earlier this week I was tempted to remove the FB app from my phone.

So far there is only just the 1 video on YouTube, but in the meantime if you are anxious to learn more about my fantasy writing just browse over to fiction.charlesmoffat.com and check out my writing that way.

Happy Reading!

When does Conan the Barbarian become public domain?

Today is January 1st 2020.

The creator of Conan the Barbarian Robert E. Howard died on June 11th 1936.

The first Conan the Barbarian story appeared in weird tales in 1932. At the time of that publication the copyright duration for works that complied with all of the requirements had a rather lengthy copyright, and thus could enjoy 95 years of copyright before they become public domain. So he becomes public domain on January 1st 2028.

However this topic is disputed. Depending on who you talk to, which copyright law they are quoting, and which country, the public domain for Robert E. Howard's work varies wildly.

For example:

"Within the United Kingdom, as in many other countries, the works written by an author fall into the public domain 70 years after their death. Since Robert E. Howard died in 1937, all his original works, including those featuring Conan the Barbarian, will be in the public domain from 1st January 2007."

Source - en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Author_talk:Robert_Ervin_Howard

Note that the above source couldn't even get the year of his death/suicide correct. They have him dying in 1937 when he actually died in June 1936.

It also follows U.K. law, which in turn follows the date of the author's death. However since the character first appears in Weird Tales in 1932, and was published in the USA, why should U.K. law even matter? The copyright should be following the laws of the country it was first published in.

Furthermore the companies that now own the rights to Conan the Barbarian (and other works by Robert E. Howard) are jealously protecting their ownership of the copyright. Namely by suing anyone who tries to publish new Conan works.

However there are holes in the copyright...

If a work is published in Europe, for example, they can ignore American copyright laws. But they cannot sell anything they make in the USA.

Which means that if someone wants to publish something on Amazon Kindle or similar locations the companies who own the American copyright can sue anyone who is violating their copyright.

That is until January 1st 2028.

Thus a countdown is on. You can expect a slew of writers to be released new Conan books and short stories on January 1st 2028. Exactly 8 years from today.

However there are other ways to write barbarian stories about characters who are similar to Conan or nearly identical.

#1. Simply don't use the Conan name.

Myself I have several characters who are similar to Conan, but each have their own names and personalities, and they exist in a fictional world of my creation. So I own all the copyrights for them.

  1. Wrathgar, Son of Wulfric
  2. Wulfric the Wanderer

Of those two characters the one who bears the most similarities to Conan the Barbarian is Wulfric the Wanderer, who appears in the following book: "Black Monoliths of Al-Kazar", but also in other books within the Wulfric the Wanderer series. As the name implies he is a wanderer, sort of like "The Man with No Name", who wanders from town to town, righting wrongs and having adventures as he travels around like a vagabond. However Wulfric is also a time traveler, and as such he also travels to different time periods using time portals which allow him to travel to various points in history.

Wrathgar, Son of Wulfric meanwhile is a more archery and wilderness focused character. His stories focus more on a realistic use of woodsman skills, hunting, tracking, and stories that follow the barbarian's skill set, which sometimes involve solving murder mysteries. Wrathgar currently appears in multiple novels on Amazon, both paperbacks and ebooks, and new Wrathgar books come out every year as part of the Adventures of Wrathgar book series.

So that is what I have done with respect to create unique and interesting characters (and other characters that don't fit into the Sword and Sorcery subgenre). But what else can people do?

#2. Change the Name only Slightly. eg. "Konan"

I think this is a lame idea myself, hence why I never went in this direction.

Simply calling the character Konan to me is a silly idea. Or Conann. Or Conen. Or whatever spelling you want to use.

It just feels wrong to change his name like that.

Presumably authors would also need to change the world he is in too, as the world of Conan the Barbarian is also copyrighted.

#3. Use the Conan name, but your story is a Parody

Conan the Librarian for example. Parody.

Any time a character is used in a parody it bypasses copyright law as it makes fun of the original character. By being a parody the character is also changed somewhat and becomes comical.

#4. Use the Conan name, but don't sell them for a profit.

If the books or stories are free, then people can read them for free, share them, etc. If for example someone wrote a free web series of books people could access the books for free. They could, in theory, even have a Patreon account for donations from patrons that go towards supporting the writer to create more stories, but does not directly result in sales of the copyrighted character.

I have thought about doing the Patreon thing and writing a web series, but I would be doing it for characters of my own creation. I would not bother doing it for Conan or other characters who are soon to become public domain. (I have a hunch there will be a deluge of new Conan books that become available in 2028. The market will likely become flooded with self-published Conan books by a wide variety of authors.)

No... My preference is to wait, and maybe not even bother.

Wait the 8 years and then if I am still interested in doing so I could publish Conan stories like the many other authors who might all be doing it at the same time.

Honestly I think my best option is to focus on method #1. Write my own characters, set in my own world, and I own all the copyrights. I may really like Conan as a character, but going my own way is really the best solution in my opinion.

All of the original Conan stories by REH were published between 1932 and 1936. Less than a five year period. During that time period he published 17 short stories, novelettes and novellas, and various other stories were published after his death.

I could spend the next 8 years, and decades into the future, writing a wide variety of Wulfric the Wanderer stories. If I ever get bored of the Sword & Sorcery subgenre (although I doubt that will ever happen) I can always switch to writing something else.

Hypothetically I could devote my entire writing career to writing nothing but Wulfric stories, writing and publishing one new piece every month of the year. Maybe more. Over a career spanning 40 years that would be 480 stories. Or more depending upon productivity.

I know I will not do that, but it is hypothetically possible.

And I know I won't do it because I have other writing projects I am working on instead. Some of them are more Wulfric stories, but there are also Wrathgar novels, as well as other novels, novellas and short stories that have my attention currently.

So as much as I like Conan, I have my plate full. I am very busy writing all manner of stories.

And to my fellow writers who hold a similar affection for Conan I recommend you do the same. Go your own way. Forge your own characters.

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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