My clothes smell like a fire


If you’ve read through Beneath the Vault of Starsyou’ve probably come across some curious combinations of letters, accents, and diacritical marks. Those are fragments of an (incomplete) artificial language I created for my characters. I’ve drawn up a pronunciation guide, but it needs some work: that’s why it’s not available just yet.

However, creating a language (as flawed and imperfect as it is!) wasn’t enough, no! I needed to create a writing system, too! I’ve been experimenting with these characters for years, and I think I’m finally happy with how they look. (I even created a font from them, but I mangled the kerning pairs, so I don’t use it.)

The “featured image” for this post is Kalas’ name written in his native language using his native characters: while working on Chapter I for the second book in The Daybringer series, I discovered a place where it’d be nice to include it. I started out trying to create some brushes in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I got some results that might have worked, but it seemed there was something lacking…

What’s any of this have to do with my clothes smelling like fire? At that point in the chapter, Kalas and company have just kindled their evening fire when they decide they need something to write with. Kalas opts to use a charred stick. Because I wanted an “authentic” example, I grabbed a piece of cherry wood from the backyard and, with a torch intended for crème brûlée, I stood in my garage until I had something I thought might work. It’s not ideal, and I’ll probably replace it sometime before publication, but it’s still interesting! (I’ve since learned that making actual charcoal would probably give me better results. Something to try next time!)

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