We interrupt this generally-more-sophisticated-than-that blog to bring you the analysis of a word, a word so beautiful in its simplicity… an adjective of vaguely French and Dutch origin, with a definition that bends to the will of those who wield this most potent word. It evokes such depth of meaning, such incredible boundless feeling that it is hard to believe it is only contained in six little letters. The root does not stop there, oh no, it goes on to become a noun and a verb and a whole little world revolves around its monosyllabic perfection. If only all words could hold such meaning…
So without further ado, I present to you my adjective (or does it transcend such a dull classification?) of the day:
I’m going to a wedding this week, and it got me thinking about relationships and characters. I’ve talked before about imposing a writer’s own cultural values and beliefs on characters, but it’s equally problematic to impress your specific morals on them. Or, when the character is specifically designed contrary to your own morals, it’s easy to slip into a very biased, skewed, and stereotypical view.
Below is my own sort of self-case study. I would love to know what others think, and how to avoid literary bias, if that’s even possible. Comment away!
I have the very good fortune of being surrounded by a wealth of culturally different people. It’s given me some interesting perspectives to think about. Even if you don’t write about humans, this information is pretty useful when you’re considering having different cultures clash (I have a very deep thread of “elemental” culture in my Worldtree series– the different races of Elves have their whole lives shaped by it).
I know I have a few revisions to do… so let me know if you have other examples! I’m born and raised in so-upstate-I-could-spit-on-Canada New York, so I have an admittedly narrow world-view (my every piece of knowledge is shaped by my upbringing). I know I’ve gotten readers in Canada, Russia, the UK, Greece, Germany, Jordan, and the Phillipines- so feel free to share! I’d actually really love to hear some non-American opinions!
I am trying to keep this as neutral as possible, which means it’s going to be a little lot general in some places (talking about race is just plain difficult).
Where I saw giant fighting robots in Transformers, my graphic designer friend just saw a ponderous number of polygons.
The examples go on and on and on (and on and on and on); who we are shapes what we take away from our experiences.
SO… it’s essential to get some perspective. Quirky little observations are a simple sentence or two and really help immerse you in the person you’re reading about. If someone makes a comparison of fabric to the fur of their Persian cat or their mother’s homemade dresses, it gives us a very simple, very identifiable way to characterize that person. A link to a profession can really help develop a fuller view of the world, from that character’s perspective.
BUT… (a four carbon chain… connected to what, I wonder?)
In April 2012, I had the opportunity to go to Jordan for the International Conference of Young Chemists. Between the culture, the food, and the people, it was amazing enough, but the most incredible part by far was visiting the Roman ruins in Juresh and the ancient city of Petra…