As the Officially Un-Official Keeper of Ferret Documents, I’m here today with a post talking about – and sharing examples of – three documents of which I keep track.
The Ferret Dictionary, the Ferret Phrasebook – and the Ultimate Nemeses Collection of the RRFS.
These three hallowed documents came into existence during the first NaNoWriMo after the creation of the RRFS, and are regularly expanded. The last addition as of my writing this post was to the Phrasebook, and only a few days ago.
Things get (more than) a little silly around here – are you really surprised? – but as writers we simply know that sometimes there just isn’t a word in the English language for what you want to say, sometimes you need a phrasebook to understand a Ferret, and sometimes . . . there really are evil nemeses out to get you – and worse, keep you from your writing!
The most common way that words become part of the Ferret Dictionary is out of a desire to explain why our fingers have produced this particular combination of letters, and thus it becomes assigned a meaning for which we have been needing a word.
The very first entry in our dictionary, and the only one for which we have no concrete date, Rebekah was the originator for this word during NaNoWriMo 2011. It is a curse of pure frustration – i.e., for use when your characters are not doing what they should be at a particular plot point.
Example: ‘What the crump? Why won’t these characters behave?’
Coined by Michelle, in September of 2012 (one of the busiest months for the Ferret Dictionary) this word describes the sound made by your stomach when you have not eaten for too long, which is audible by everyone in the vicinity.
Example: ‘I skipped lunch to finish up this short story I was working on, so when I stopped in at the store after work my stomach began to thunger embarrassingly.’
This one comes from me – Serena – also in September of 2012, on one particular late evening when I was busily preparing for a new project. It describes the deeply unsettling sensation of being deep in world-building, only to realise that your universe’s established history, rules, and cultures are beginning to fall apart.
Example: ‘Oh no, my new ‘verse has started to builidinig on me!’
Sometimes when the Ferrets speak, as does occasionally happen with many writers, in my experience, the average person just doesn’t seem to understand. Often, it is best to simply move on, accepting that writers are strange creatures. Sometimes, though, we Ferrets take things a little further than the typical inexplicability.
He can hold my parasol any time.
Originally spoken during a discussion featuring fiction of both steampunk and generally Victorian genres, this was the first addition to the Ferret Phrasebook. It translates, roughly, to saying ‘I find that man attractive/appealing’.
I can’t focus to save a cat’s uncle ‘potamus.
Sometimes the writer’s brain – or fingers – are truly inexplicable. This phrase is an example of a time when you are trying to explain how very much you cannot focus, and your fingers decide to assist you, without your conscious knowledge. It has since been accepted as the standard method to declare this state amidst the Ferrets.
The only phrase that can clearly describe the sensation – and the overwhelming nature – of what happens when you are working on backstory and world-building and suddenly everything begins to be much more complicated. By a factor of ten. Particularly applies to collaborative ‘verses, where the asplodey boom is shared between two minds and thus doubled, at least.
The Ultimate Nemeses Collection:
These nemeses have made themselves known to the Ferrets as we discuss the obstacles clearly put into our lives to keep us from being happily writing Ferrets, and due to careful espionage efforts have been revealed for their true evils.
The earliest discovered enemy of the Ferrets – and writers in general – Time Mages are fiendish creatures, often found astride their favoured mounts, the evil Pegacorns, as they steal increments of time – from moments, to hours, and even, on rare occasions, days – leaving a bewildered Ferret aghast and confused as to why she suddenly has no time to work on a project.
The evil hybrid of a Unicorn and a Pegasus, many of these creatures made a villainous pact with the Time Mages long ago. In return for the providing of time, which Pegacorns feast upon to sustain themselves, Pegacorns allow themselves to be used as mounts by the Time Mages.
These heartless individuals have been responsible for many a mysteriously empty tea cup, leaving Ferrets forlorn at their keyboards or notebooks and despairing for lack of tea. They prey most heavily in the winter, and favour the Ferrets as targets not because of any specific enmity, but only for the surety of finding tea near them.
These dastardly beings counterfeit themselves to seem like one of the Ferrets’ Muses, leading an unwary Ferret away from her true Muse (and the inspiration offered by the Muse) like a will-o’-the-wisp of the mind, only to abandon her in the thickets of confusion, where imagination is choked out.
I became the Officially Un-Official Keeper of Ferret Documents by dint mostly of being the one to leap upon statements like ‘that needs to go in the dictionary!’ and the eventual realisation that it was easier to just keep it for one person to handle.
Besides, I have such fun maintaining these lists!
There might just be more of these posts from me as the Ferret Dictionary, Phrasebook, and Collection of Nemeses continue to grow!