Wanted: Old Norse Name Pronunciation

The kind narrator over at Liquid Imagination has realized that he cannot do my story justice without some help with the pronunciation of the Norse names. If you have any knowledge of Scandinavian languages or if you can guide me to a place where I can find pronunciations of names such as Gunnr, Róta, Skuld. Göll, Hlökk and Herja (just to name a few), I would very much appreciate it!

 

Sometimes limitations are liberating

So. My story about Valkyries is up at Liquid Imagination. It’s called “Transience, Transcend” and you can access it here:

http://liquid-imagination.com/site/?page_id=856

This story began the course of a writers’ workshop retreat weekend at my friend Lilli’s house in Haverhill, MA. The four of us in the workshop each had to come up with one limitation for a story, and then we were all to create a piece that incorporated all four limitations.

The limitations were:

1) The story must mostly take place outdoors

2) Sound must be the primary sense featured in the story

3)The story must have some kind of mythology as its theme

4) The first and last sentence of the story must be the same.

I used to think I hate writing exercises. Just let me write what I want! But sometimes these limitations are exactly what we need to stir our imaginations. Never did I think I’d write a story about Norse mythology. But once I started doing the research, I became so immersed in it I couldn’t stop. I also loved forcing myself to concentrate on an element like sound, which is often the most underrepresented sense in stories. The surprising thing was how these limitations actually allowed me to write the story much faster than I usually do. When you have no set guidelines, often it’s harder to construct a story; the “freedom” can actually constrict you. Of course you have to flexible enough to allow things to change, but I’ve come to realize that in the end, we are always imposing an array of limitations on our stories–when we choose a POV, for instance, or a tone, or even a setting. Sometimes we come to these limits organically, and other times we begin with them, and just knowing that we must do things a certain way frees us to concentrate on other elements.