What always surprised me when I would watch documentaries about other cultures was not how different we were, but alike we were. Like language, innocent cultural facets are, at its core, not an expression of our differences but a different expression of our similarities.
Exactly! I’ve noticed the same thing, also in history. No matter how long ago, people have always been people and we’ve always done the same things. Many things were lost to time, but it’s amazing these little human touches you find everywhere, like how medieval scribes used to doodle while testing their pens or how they once found Viking runes high on a cave wall that read ‘this is very high.’ (Honestly, I still think that’s hilarious XD)
Speaking of language, I have some interest in linguistics, so I pretty much just played with common phonemes that sounded right for those people groups and wrote them down. There was some inspiration from real places or names for some of them, but for the most part, I just made it up (and googled the names to try and check that I didn’t accidentally create something obscene, lol).
You did it really well! They suit excellently! I usually translate words from a language in the approximate same region until I find something I can change into a name. And then once again translate them back just in case, like you said XD I’m fascinated by linguistics and languages in general, but I haven’t tried creating an actual language for a book.
ooh, medieval North-Africa sounds like a fun setting; it gives you lots of space to play with horse-riding cultures, naval societies, desert wanderers, and even through in some crusader-esq aesthetics. And yeah, backdrops are great fun
You guessed all of them correctly! The MC’s tribe is the nomadic horse-riding culture (So much fun to write!), there’s a naval merchant tribe (They don’t feature much though), and I have a city and two tribes that are strongly based on Alexandria and classical North-Africa. The city is aesthetically closer to Jerusalem, but the tribes’ cultures are closer to classical.
is the civil conflict a primary driving force for the plot or does it more provide a general danger and tension for the protagonist?
Well… both, in a way. It’s the primary driving force of the plot at large, but my MC is usually pursuing a more personal goal that is linked to the war. The personal goal and more general goal do usually tie together though, so she does end up influencing the war. (Often accidentally XD)
Here’s the one-sentence summary of the first book (Oh, dear, here we go, I hate doing these XD): The king of a nomadic tribe is captured in a raid and his younger sister has to rescue him before it turns into an all-out war.
Those moments from great anguish where something finally breaks, for good or ill; those times where temptation becomes overwhelming and the character must choose between the sweet deception or the painful truth; or the joy when the suffering they endured finally gives way to accepting comfort. Those terrible and beautiful moments when something changes, those are my favorite.
That’s an amazing answer! Those moments are fun to write, but they’re really hard to get write. I often end up agonizing over them endlessly and then messing it up anyway XD Though writing something badly is always better than not writing it at all and since I’m that much closer to getting it right, I don’t actually mind.
What’s your favorite part of your current WIP?
I’d say my favorite would have to be my main character, Liorah. She’s the most chaotic character I’ve ever ‘met’ XD She’s sarcastic, stubborn, and reckless. Let’s just say she has a lot of room for character development, LOL. She’s still my favorite character since she’s actually really kind and caring deep down, she just hides it well XD
"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux