Editing the first two chapters of Hell has its Demons and trying to work out what happens next while overcoming writers block with my laptop on the train. I seemed to spend most of the time looking out of the window, before realising that chapter three should probably have a gory or violently sexual theme to it given the subject matter it was going to cover – a nightmare sequence where Jake relives finding his wife in bed with his father! I then thought I felt a bit perturbed about writing such things next to my fellow commuters! Silly I know, but it’s a bit odd to be writing things, with someone else sitting two centimetres away from you.
Steven Till, a fellow blogger and writer of historical fiction, has posted a very kind review of Bisclavret (The Werewolf) over at his blog.
Steven found the story “engaging and thrilling. As an eighteen page short story, it reads quickly: his pacing is good, the dialogue is tight, and the plot is absorbing. His style is clean and precise and executed extremely well.”
Although he “did feel that some of the characters could have used more fleshing out, Bertrand for one, and on some levels Edward.”
One of the pleasures of writing and getting published is to get a reaction from readers, and I am really pleased that I have been able to get this story out to a wider audience.
Steven has a wonderful website that is a must for anyone interested in history and historical fiction, particularly set in the Middle Ages. Steven also has some of his own stories posted on his site, all of which are well worth a read.
I was planning on writing a post about the etymology of the name Bisclavert, which was the name of my recently published short story about a medieval werewolf, based on the story of the same name by Marie de France.
I was surprised to find that the spelling I had used was actually a variant, and a less common variant at that! So what I have done is actually to go and change the name of my story to Bisclavret (The Werewolf) just to make things a bit clearer! I thinks its pretty obvious the story is about werewolves so hopefully that won’t spoil anything for anyone!
Back to the main purpose of explaining the etymology of the word, I found that this is actually pretty unclear. Marie de France in her lai tells the reader that:
‘Bisclavret’ is the Breton name, the Normans call it ‘garwaf’.
The usual old-French word for werewolf seems to be garou, and forms part of the more modern phrase used in France now of loup-garou. But, according to Widsith’s help blog post, it seems very unclear as to where you get the werewolf meaning from the Breton bisclavert. The closet word in Breton is “bleiz” for wolf, but even that is not very close.
Perhaps Marie used a bit of artistic licence herself and made the word up anyway?