So, this weekend, I needed to get a lot of writing work done. Of course, this is true just about every day, but seeing how the previous weekend I was at FenCon, and next weekend I’ll be in New York, I needed to make this weekend about getting as much done as I could. Most of that involved working the edits for the final version of An Import of Intrigue, some business/administrative work for the future books, and a few new scenes in the third Thorn book.
Import is all about subcultures in the city of Maradaine, specifically the foreign enclaves embedded within the Inemar neighborhood. And, especially on this editing pass, I need to make sure I’m handling that with the care required. None of the foreign cultures seen in Import map cleanly on to real-world ones, but there are parallels that can be drawn, and with that, there are pitfalls of stereotyping and cliché. The other important thing to show was how those different cultures clash when they’re pushed up against each other, as well as the rest of Druth culture. The hardest part, for me, though, was in showing how the a lot of the Druth are antagonistic, if not downright hostile, to the foreigners and foreign-descended citizens of Maradaine. Various epithets are used for different foreigners, but it also matters who uses them, and in what circumstances and situations. Some people use them freely, some only in select company, and some not at all.
The scene I wrote in the third Thorn book this weekend was challenging, and it also involved subcultures, in a less direct way. If you’ve read Thorn, you know that Veranix is Racquin– a semi-nomadic subculture in Druthal of refugees from the neighboring country of Kellirac– from his mother’s side. In A Murder of Mages, Minox’s mother also is Racquin, but Minox was raised in Maradaine by a family that was mostly Druth, while Veranix was raised among the Racquin, save for his father. Veranix’s father’s heritage and performance skills allow him to pass himself off as a “regular” Druth on campus and around the city.
So then, what happens when Veranix is with someone who is also Racquin (and also “passing” in Maradaine culture?) Code-switching. They both fall into a pattern of talking like Racquin instead of Druth around each other. The question on my plate is, how do I make this clear without being heavy-handed? The main thing I have is very different slang between the two of them, that we haven’t seen in the rest of Maradaine. Does that work, or just become confusing? I’m still not sure. That’s why it’s a rough draft at this point.
Speaking of, I’ve still got plenty to do before heading to New York. So into the word mines I go.