A Life Of Fiction XL

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Roman numerals and other ephemera: As is self-evident from this post, I tend to use Roman numerals. Part of the reason is stylistic – I think that it looks good. Another reason is so that the usage of Roman numerals will keep on going.

I understand that not everybody out there is totally au fait with Roman numerals. So I guess that I had better give a brief explanation of how they work. Yes, I know that well over ninety percent of you will know how they work. But this is for the few of you out there who are unfamiliar with them.

The Roman Empire had the misfortune not to use a decimal system. The decimal system which we use today was only introduce into Europe in the 10th to 13th centuries, from the Arab world, hundreds of years after the Western Roman Empire had fallen.

The Romans used letters to represent numerals. Those letters are listed below.

I = 1

V = 5

X = 10

L = 50

C = 100

D = 500

M = 1000

Numbers are formed by adding the letters together, with the largest number coming first. For example, the numeral 2 is written II, while twenty is XX. But the numeral 22 would be written XXII, rather than IIXX.

If a lower number comes before a higher number it is an indication that the lower number should be taken away from the higher number. For example, if you wanted to represent the number 40, it would be written as XL in Roman numerals. LX, the other way around, would be 60. If you wanted to represent the number 41, then it would be written as XLI, and so on.

With the above system, it is possible to form numbers up into the thousands. I guess that the Romans did not really need numbers bigger than that.

Our current year (2014), in Roman numerals, is MMXIV. It is something which you tended to see most often in feature films, when the year is listed.

Spelling: I don’t know about other writers, but I constantly have to add words to the database for spelling in the Word program. I had Word because of the spellchecker. But what is the point of that when I have a wider vocabulary than the computer program? The most recent addition was boyos. It is something which I find a little annoying, as I have to keep looking up the word in a proper dictionary to make sure that I have spelled it correctly.

I have to add words every week. Each time I add a word I check in both my Collins dictionary and my Encyclopedia Britannica. I only add the word if it is present in one of those resources. But, considering some common terms which are missed out of Word – such as undrunk – I find it odd that some very rare words are in the resource.

Ah, go figure!

Finally, a recommendation: For those of you who are into gas-lamp fantasy and steampunk then I suggest that you check out Steampunk Empire, if you have not already discovered it. You can go directly there from the link down the left-hand side. I am not really a person for forums, and so on, but the people posting on that site seem really nice. There are also some interesting discussions on writing, and you can also find the odd steampunk vignette.


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