Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Today's writing notes:

I'm almost done with "The Shadow of Takeryuu"! Powering my way through the climax right now. Yay crazy epic battle scenes where a bunch of character arcs get resolved at once! That's what climaxes are for, right?

Well, to celebrate nearly finishing, I'll share the origins of the characters' names. Because totally made-up names are all well and good, but when I'm working with a world that's based on something in real life, it just delights me to no end to use culturally authentic names and/or historical homages. (I did this in "Worth Searching For", too.)

- Eun-ji's name is Korean for "kindness and wisdom"--or "kindness and earth" depending on the Chinese character it's spelled with. I picked this name specifically because I loved that both meanings fit her perfectly.

- Master Cheol's name is Korean for "wise" or "sage". I'm not sure if all of the geomancers have Korean names; I haven't put much thought into if/how East Asian cultures correlate to Shenkuuvian geography the way I have with the Haunted Woods. I'm not going to worry about it for now.

- Ganzorig is Mongolian for "steel courage". I picked Mongolian because to Western ears, it sounds much different from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, while still seeming vaguely East Asian-ish. Mongolians were long seen as uncivilized barbarians by China, which fits with Ganzorig being a Tyrannian Lupe. Considering whose player character he is, I could have named him "Tomor" which is Mongolian for "iron", but "Ganzorig" seemed to fit him better, and incorporating a word meaning "steel" into his name is still a reference, I think.

- Min's name is Korean for "jade". This one was too easy. :) Incidentally, the name of her village, Saro, is the first recorded name of the small Korean state that would grow into Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. I blame the East Asian history class I took in college for making me so interested in the subject.

- Wai Ren shares his name with one of the kings of the Shang Dynasty of China--either the tenth or the eleventh (depending on whether you trust Sima Qian's Qin Dynasty work Records of the Grand Historian or more contemporary oracle bone inscriptions). I think the history of Shang Dynasty research is incredible (in a nutshell, everybody thought they were made up until the turn of the 20th century, when someone discovered that ancient bones being ground up for medicine actually had writing on them containing fortunes being told for these supposedly mythical kings), and yes, the Shang kings are not remembered fondly by their successors, but maybe they needed some kind words, a plate of cookies, and to be dragged into a life-changing journey by a group of motley adventurers. Which is exactly what happens to Wai Ren the Kougra in this story. Sans the cookies. (Maybe I'll be nice and throw in some cookies somewhere.)

- Takeryuu's name means "martial dragon" which seems like the kind of name overbearing royal parents would give their son. I was so caught up in using Korean/Mongolian/Chinese names for characters that I forgot I like Japanese history, too, so I had to throw some Japanese references in there. (But I did try to keep it primitive--this is ancient Shenkuu we are dealing with, here, not modern Shenkuu where the Japanese references seem to be taken more from feudal Japan.)

- Yuezhi's name is Chinese for "moon queen". FYI it's approximately pronounced "yueh-zjuh". Chinese is impossible to completely accurately transliterate into the English alphabet, so I recommend learning the ins and outs of pinyin romanization which is what I use (it's also the most used system today, and the official system of mainland China and Taiwan).

- Himiko is named after the illustrious Queen Himiko of the ancient Japanese country Yamataikoku, who ruled during the 2nd-3rd centuries A.D. and had political dealings with the Chinese Kingdom of Wei. I picked this name not only because it has historical significance recognizable to those who are up on their Japanese history, but because she has a Lyman-alpha blob named after her! How nerdily cool is that?! She must be proud.

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