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[Liz, for once, is not sitting in front of her bookcase. Instead, she is standing in the theatre deck in front of a chalkboard with her back turned to Cambot, one hand on her hip. Already she looks rather different; instead of her typical attire she is wearing a short black skirt and a leather vest with an Iron Maiden emblem sewn onto the back, and her hair is tied back.

Cambot starts up another 8-bit tune, and Liz doesn't move for a few seconds, waiting for the music. Then as the first power chord twangs away in the tune she turns around. Now you can tell she is also wearing obviously-lenseless glasses, a rather professional-looking blouse under the vest, a few leather belts, a spike collar and leather fingerless gloves. Essentially, she looks like a cross between a traditional alluring school teacher and the lead singer of a heavy metal band.]

Hello class, and welcome to Literary Lessons with Iron Liz. [She gestures to the board, where the title is written in huge fancy letters.]

I assume by now that all of you have done your preliminary reading of Janine Cross's confusing and borderline pornographic Touched by Venom.

Now children, you get your minds out of the gutter. Today's lesson has nothing to do with proudly-flaunted venomous danglybits. We're here today to talk about a little something I like to call...[she turns the blackboard around, revealing the topic] 'Authorspeak.'

As I'm sure we've all discovered throughout our lives, language can be a wonderful thing. Any given language has a huge variety of words to choose from; that is a writer's greatest tool, and with such useful tools as the dictionary and the thesaurus, they can find just the right words to portray the subtlest of emotions and bring their world to life.

However, some writers believe that the millions of words the language has to offer just aren't enough to project their thoughts, or that the choices of names one could give a character are just too bland for their tastes. That, class, is where authorspeak is born. Instead of using real words, the author will just make up their own, sprinkling them into their novels, often with little to no explanation of their meaning. These words could be anything from names that sound like they might originate from a foreign language but really inadvertently come out as an insult, or a combination of preexisting words that make something altogether different. Or most of the time it's just a jumble of letters thrown together to look important.

Some authorspeak becomes well-developed and the subject of well-deserved scholarly praise, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth dialects. [Cue a picture or Orlando Bloom as Legolas.] Some are embraced and even spoken in the real world, such as Klingon. [Cue a picture of Worf.]

And then there is today's subject. Touched by Venom introduces us to a new language, but barely explains anything about the language. We do get many myriad descriptions of erect penises, but no simple straightforward explanation of what, say, a "navel auntie" is.

[Liz walks in front of a desk that may or may not have been there before, boosts herself up to sit on it, and crosses her legs.]

Well, we're going to try and figure it out for ourselves--[Cambot interrupts with a collective groan clip.]--or, we can just talk about fictional languages and how this one just sucks in comparison? [Cambot responds with clapping!]

Alright then. Who wants to go first?
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Iron Liz

March 2015

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