World Building: It Begins with Word-building plus a giveaway!
World Building: It Begins with Word-building.
By Evelyn Ink
Author of the YA fantasy novels Ill-fated and Silver Tongue and the children’s series Sticks, Stones, and Dragon Bones.
One of my favorite things about writing fantasy is inventing words place names, and people names. I have always loved authors who immerse you in their world with language (Tolkien’s use of Norse mythology and Rowling’s use of Latin come to mind). Whether the author has invented new words, or brought back old, rare words with a twisted definition, it certainly sets up the whole feel of a fantasy world– making it more vivid and real, or in some cases– strange and surreal.
While writing my two YA fantasy novels Ill-fated and Silver Tongue, I spent a lot of time inventing "mood" words. I kept a journal of words I just liked the sound of, and then paired them up with other words to create names for things like types of trees, flowers, potions, or places. A few of my favorite invented words were: idlerile for a stream and roughrunnel for a river, moonbloom for phosphorescence, and some fun names for trees and plants like: gingerburn, sallow trees, poppyglums, and rosedeads.
Finding a way to introduce words that have a more specific meaning (like drudge for example in place of a slave or servant) without slowing down the plot can be difficult, especially since some readers like everything explained and others are annoyed if the story is stopped up each time a new word is dropped. Some authors do stop and explain every bit of new vocabulary while others choose to breeze right through. Sci-fi authors and deep fantasy writers tend to offer a lot of technical details and explanations, I seem to do quite the opposite. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I think my readers can recognize the context in which the word is used and deduce the meaning. In most cases I feel like a slight misunderstanding is less vexing than a cumbersome definition, but this is a tricky line to walk.
People and place names are easier to deal with, but just as important because they give an impression of the character or set the mood of the destination (Within Ill-fated a few of my favorite destination words were: the Fiercehollows, the Iron Spine, and Deadroamer, and my villain was Captain Erastacus Oren). First names and surnames are just so much fun in fantasy! Would Lord Voldemort be as terrifying if his name were Terry? No, of course not. In real life villains are named Devon, and dreadful, dismal towns are called Summerset, but in a world where you can create an immediate mental image with a name– why be trapped in the mundane?
If you are interested in either Silver Tongue (Just Released!) or Ill-fated– you can follow the links below or check out my blog for more information! Silver Tongue and Ill-fated are companion books, which is to say– same world, different characters, and can be read in any order, and I am currently writing the sequel to Ill-fated. Stop and visit me on fb, G+ or my blog, I would love to hear from you. Happy Reading!
The plaque on my lawn reads the Edgington Mansion, it was once thought to be lovely I suppose, though now rather decrepit and quite full of secrets. I live here with my husband. He is a philosopher, and quite mad. Our house is full of books. Stacked, piled, and always advancing out and away from the shelves that ought to keep them in. I paint and draw, write and read, and occasionally go down into the dark, dismal, cobweb-creepy dungeon, to do laundry.
If interested, you may choose to follow me on my blog or check in with me on facebook. However, due to my absolute terror of electronics and a crippling phobia of the social media (technical term: Socmephobia), my blog posts tend to be infrequent and erratic. Also, due to several post exile investigations I am generally prevented from giving any specific information regarding my whereabouts...
Social Media Links
Ill-fated on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-fated-ebook/dp/B008XD94OE
About Silver Tongue...
Deep in the tunnels and passages of the Grendel mines there is a mystery waiting to be uncovered – a secret weapon left behind and forgotten to all, but a few. As the alliances of a once stable country shift and rumors of civil war take rise, another mystery surfaces: children are disappearing. All over Shalendorf in every city and every province – young men and women are simply … vanishing. When the parlormaid from the Manse at Ivorydeep goes missing along with two children from Catchfrost, Belin Vaulatrix is forced to take notice. For even far from Casterwick and the turmoil of the ruling families, Belin is having some drama of her own. A single letter sealed with the crest of the royal family has brought her world crashing down. It is a request she cannot refuse, and as the rumors, mystery, and tensions build, Belin plans a disappearance of her own.