10 Jan 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 11

Cultural misunderstandings, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 11.

I had a bit of fun while writing the chapter.  I decided I wanted to emphasize that Wildwood was a matriarchy.  It wasn't enough to have a Council of Matriarchs; the society needed to reflect the difference.  I blew it with the shopkeeper in Chapter 9.  The owner should have been a woman, with Tersial being her husband.  This is why worldbuilding is done before writing starts, not after or, in this case, during.  The quick fix would be to change Tersial's name to something like Terenia and flip all the character's pronouns.  The character isn't major and only exists to show how Wildwood denizens aren't happy with Jyslyn being there.

Anyway, the idea I wanted out was that the average elf woman are far more forward than the average human woman from the Seven Dominions.  Leomund got to be my lab rat for that.  Lia, the serving girl, took a shine to him; after all, Leomund is exotic to her.  She took the initiative and then took Leomund out.  Lia was the pursuer, the aggressor.  Leo just went for the ride.  When Kaleena caught them, she went straight to Lia, not because Leomund is a guest in the city but because she knew whose idea it was.

I wanted to try something different with Lia's dialogue.  Leomund doesn't speak elven, more because I didn't want to create a language whole cloth during NaNoWriMo.  Instead, she understands the language used in the Seven Dominions but not fluently.  Elements of how the elven language works came out.  To emphasize that, I turned to a real language, French.  I translated Lia's words into French, then did a blind idiot translation back, keeping the word order.  Her first sizable dialogue, "I you understand.  What is it you want?" started as, "I understand you.  What would you like?"  In French, "Je vous comprende,  Qu'est-ce que vous voulez?"  Going back, I went word by word instead of by sentence.  And I did that for each time she spoke.  The process didn't slow me down that much.  The problem on re-reading it is that the lines aren't that complex.

The Elf's Prisoner is still in its raw form.  I try to catch errors, but some still make it through.  It's holding together better than I expected, considering that it was a last minute choice for NaNo 2015.  Here's hoping it's enjoyable to readers.

Friday, recruiting the last members of the quest, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 12.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, the road to an original superhero movie.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Blazing Transfer Students Reborn.

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