Thursday, 16 May 2013

Evoking A Fantasy World: A Guest Post by Rahima Warren

Today a guest, author Rahima Warren, drops by as part of her blog tour for her new book, Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy.  She discusses the art of creating a world of fantasy, introduces us to her book and shares a great giveaway at the end of the post.  So read on, and enjoy...


Evoking a Fantasy World


When reading a fantasy set in a different (non-historical) world or time, I find it jarring if the characters’ names are old familiar ones from our everyday reality. Why would people in a strange time/place have names like Steven or Julia? Also, why would they use the same words to refer to time or distance that we do? Convenient for the writer perhaps, but too familiar for me as a reader.

TIME AND DISTANCE:

In my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, I tried to evoke a different world in subtle ways. For example, I avoid using our familiar measures of time. Instead of “minute,” I use “moment.” Instead of “week,” I use “quarter-moon.” Many cultures measure time by that clock in the sky, the Moon. For distance, I just referred to how many days a trip took. And I had fun making up names and words to help evoke a different world. I used two methods for creating these new words: listening/intuition, and research.

LISTENING:

For most of my characters’ name, I start by ‘listening’ for a name, using my intuition. Sometimes, that’s it. I get it on the first try, like Zhovanya as the name of the Goddess in my trilogy. For others, I play around with the sound of the name until it fits the character. And for some, the name evolves as I get to know the character better. For example, originally Kyr’s name was Arik (which I believe relates to an old Nordic word for eagle). Somehow, I didn’t like the hard ‘k’ as the last sound of his name, so I changed it to Kyr (“keer” like “peer”), which to me sounds like the high, lonely cry of a hawk or eagle, and suits his character.

Over time, I noticed that there was a pattern in the way I was naming men vs. women, and changed a few names to fit that pattern, though there are some exceptions. You might check out the Cast of Characters (in Book Extras- http://www.starseersprophecy.com/book-extras/) on my website, and see if you can detect the pattern. I also ‘listened’ for the magical commands used by the Warrior-Mage, Rajani; for the names of magical potions; and for the sacred chants. (See the Glossary in Book Extras http://www.starseersprophecy.com/glossary/.)

RESEARCH:

In the case of the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker, I found his name through researching the roots of words in the Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. The Soul-Drinker’s name is Dauthaz, which comes from the Old English and Germanic roots of the word ‘death.’

This is also how I created the name of the land where the story takes place, and the terms used at the Sanctuary. The land is named Khailaz, which is a prehistoric Germanic word, ancestor of our word, ‘whole.’ Adding the suffix –itha to khailaz produced khailitha, the root of our words, ‘health’ and ‘heal.’
 
From this, I made up the words kailitha (divine healing energy); Kailithana (a priestess-healer); Kailithara (healing work of the Kailithana); Kailithos (one who is undergoing the Kailithara); and Kailithama (sacred chamber in which the Kailithana works with the Kailithos).

I don’t recall exactly how I tracked down the roots from which I constructed AithanĂ© (Listener, Confessor), Phanaithos (Speaker, Divulger), or Phanaithara (Divulgence, Confession). I believe they come from Greek roots meaning to listen, and to speak.

A few other words, I just made up. For example, I derived zhan (life force energy) from Zhovanya.

Now, admittedly, I am not Tolkien, creating whole languages, and races of fantastic creatures. My focus is more on the inner world and healing ordeal of my hero, Kyr, than on detailed world making. However, I did do my best to evoke a different place/time by creating new words and names, and avoiding overly familiar names and terms.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

As a reader, which do you prefer: familiar names and terms; or new and different ones?
As a writer, what is your approach to evoking a different world?



Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy by Rahima Warren

The “twin-souled dark innocent,” Kyr, is a youth born and raised to blindly carry out the Soul-Drinker’s brutal commands. At first, Kyr’s one desire is death, the only escape from the Soul-Drinker’s hellish rule. Just when he is about to get his wish, the secret Circle rescues him. Now he has to choose between the familiar easy path of despair and death, or the hard path of healing, living, and a greater destiny, about which he knows nothing. How can a slave who has known only evil, pain and obedience choose to become a man of courage and compassion, and fulfill the Star Seer's Prophecy?



Rahima Warren’s Bio:

Rahima Warren is the author of Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy, a deep, rich novel of the healing journey. With Master's degrees in Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 2006, Rahima retired to focus on her expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies.

In her work with clients recovering from abuse, she was awed by the human capacity to heal, and to reach new levels of forgiveness, wholeness and happiness. She also learned to trust the psyche's own process. This enabled her to allow a dark and mysterious story to flood forth unhindered: Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy.

Rahima is a third-generation native of California and resides with her husband in Northern California, where she periodically chases squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from her roses. Her life-long love of fantasy is her parents' fault: they left sci-fi & fantasy magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.

Links:
Rahima Warren’s website: http://bit.ly/YDWLdo
Read an excerpt of Dark Innocence: http://bit.ly/11AqQ0o
Rahima Warren on Twitter: http://bit.ly/12dIIxc
Rahima’s Facebook Fan Page: http://on.fb.me/XZu15l
Rahima Warren on Pinterest: http://bit.ly/WBau8l
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/11eiksn
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/WTiwvA


Giveaway Info

Rahima is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND a Grand Prize Giveaway of a Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/fan-art/, plus other goodies, including a signed copy of Dark Innocence for one lucky winner, shipped to anywhere in the world!

1)      To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2)      To win the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Rahima’s fan art of your choice, or a signed copy of Dark Innocence, or other goodies, click the link to go to Rahima’s website here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/blog-tour/ and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on June 21st.

Enter for the Grand Prize on Rahima’s website here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/blog-tour/


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