Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Eye to Paper

(I actually have a very large backlog of things to blog about; this is just a stray thought)

How much effort is it for authors to establish an intimate connection with their readers so they can mutate their writing enough that it's hard to read by outsiders? This might range from slang (Nadsat in Clockwork Orange) to alternate grammatical structures (I experimented with this with one of my sci-fi blogging ideas sometime back) to graphemic/phonemic codes (anything from pig latin upwards).

When is this a good idea? I suspect it's very good at establishing a distinct mental context; people might parse what they're reading differently if they must make an effort and if it feels special. In Dianetics (a bunk theory of psychology that serves as a foundation for Scientology), Hubbard makes extensive use of inline definitions of (sometimes common, sometimes not) terms, and his definitions are usually slanted. In that case, I suspect the idea of defining things slightly out of the mainline of the text is that when people set aside page context, they also turn off their skepticism (if applicable) and just swallow anything left there. Mutated writing is sneaky in Dianetics, but it may be good storytelling in fiction. It might either create potential for greater depth or just be odd enough to be remembered. Dianetics is an unusual example anyhow; it's more interesting to focus on things that make investment in reading more important. The downside of this is a more limited readership; not everyone is either going to be able to or interested in learning the code enough that they can forget they're using it, and if the work is not awesome enough to merit it, only those who have the thrill of secrets (ZOMG SEKKRITS) will bother.

I'm partly inspired to this by looking at Esolang last night in the context of a conversation on quirky programming languages. It'd be interesting to have the equivalent of encryption between our eyes and what we're reading; other people would just see squiggles in our text, and we alone (or among few) get the meaning (but in analogue, probably).

It's weird to think of it this way, but books in Braille almost qualify. If nobody were blind (either due to it being easily reparable or things that cause blindness practically always also causing death), would humanity have produced braille?

Unrelated, I expect to soon be in the mood to start working through the backlog of things to write.


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