1. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    Is it possible to get away with this scene, without it being an infodump:

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by alvin123, Sep 11, 2008.

    This is a fantasy scene, just to let you know. (Irse means portal in Phillisin).
    What I'm trying to say, is this the correct way to let someone know Irse means portal: Look at the words in red if you don't feel like reading this.


    I walked out of the front doors and aimed my staff into the sky. Hopefully last night’s sleep restored my mana. “Irse home.”
    Nothing happened. “Awe come on,” I said to my staff, “you’ve been to my house ever since you were assigned to me –you should know where to go.”

    “Pathetic,” I heard someone say from behind. I turned around and met gazes with a wizard named Tyler. “You can’t even get to you’re house –you’re so disappointing to be called one of The Destined.”

    “Shut up,” I snarled. “Don’t take your anger out on me because you didn’t win the award as best spell caster.”

    Tyler pointed his staff at me and said, “I’ll show you best spell caster. Fir–”

    “Tyler,” Kian voice yelled from nowhere, “I wouldn’t be disrespecting one of The Destined if I were you.”
    Tyler put down his staff and mumbled something under his breath as he went back into the headquarters. “As for you, Jake; the spell to get home is actually ‘home Irse’ not Irse home.”

    “I should’ve known it was home portal and not portal home,” I said. “Anyway Kian, where are you?”

    “In my office,” he said. “The surveillance alarm flashes red when someone is in dangerous, so I just talk through it. Anyway Jake, I’ll see you later.” Kian voice faded.
     
  2. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    Btw, i know its grammatically incorrect, please answer my question. (Nice voice)
     
  3. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Why is "home" in English and "portal" not? I mean, if it's the Ancient Tongue of Magic and one Calls Thing by Their True Name to do stuff, then that's all well and good, but it seems off to me.

    Honestly, it reminds me more of the XKCD strip about UNIX than a magic spell.
     
  4. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    well what's wrong with having half a spell in english? it souds better than saying "home portal" or copying harry potter with "greppo irse"

    But you make an excellent point
     
  5. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Structuring magic as simple commands like "Come here, broom!" or "Home, portal!" is going to seem similar whether you have half in English or not. Frankly, the half-English reminds me far more of Potterverse ("Accio broom") than magic commands in a language I don't speak at all.

    Why does the reader need to know that "irse" means "portal"? So long as you know, and you structure your magic appropriately, then your world will be consistent, and that's what's important.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Shouldn't it be enough to know when the magic is/isn't working, and when it does, SHOW what it does?

    Really, why does the reader need to get a literal translation?
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    To answer the original question, it doesn't come across as an infodump because 1. it's short and 2. it's in dialogue, from one character who knows the spell to another character who does not know the spell, thus avoiding the "As you know..." method of explaining something (characters who both know the information, talking to each other like they don't--another no-no in writing). It also fits in context and doesn't come across as unnecessary info because the character really needs to know why his spell isn't working.

    So putting aside all questions of whether you should use all English or all another language, or whether you should explain the term or not--my simple answer is no, it's not an infodump; it reads fine to me.
     
  8. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    thank you, tethuti88,
     
  9. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    The dialogue itself is natural enough, with its flow and all. However, when people both obviously know what they're talking about, they tend to not mention it by name. That is, referring to the conversing between Tyler and Jake.

    Are you trying to convey the way magic works or the conversation between the two magi?
     
  10. Mikee
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    Mikee New Member

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    Honestly, I don't think you should give the reader that information. There are some things in my writing that make me smile when someone reads it and puts things like that together. Such as a suspense novel that allows the reader to solve the mystery as they go instead of adding a different point of view to show that the villain has set a trap for the protagonist. I think that spoils a story. If the reader cares that much about your book, then give them a little trivia. Make them figure out where the word "Irse" comes from. They'll be proud of themselves, and if they're anything like me, they'll feel accomplished and want to learn more about this unfamiliar world of wizards. Keep it up though. I'd like to read more.
     
  11. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    It works fine...

    Portal is the incantation of the spell, IE: What triggers the spell. While Home is the generic desire, what the Input for the spell is. This the spell links to the want of the user bound to a desire.

    Made sense to me, I fail to see how anyone is having a problem with this.

    And it is not an info dump, makes sense that the way magic works is (Desire/Input) - linked by users desire so it would be in their native tongue then (Incantation/Direction) in "Magic Words"

    Worked and was smooth flowing. I did not miss a beat in the story line and would have just kept on reading with that bit of extra knowledge now known.
     
  12. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    You've figure it out. That's 100% correct. That's what i had to be clear on.

    Appreciate your comment, and also everyone elses,
     

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