#AtoZChallenge – N is for Niu Wen

a-to-z-letters-nI’ve spent several novels, now, naming characters, but book 2 of Red Slaves presented me with a new opportunity: To build fake words in to the world as a representation of the culture and expectations of those beings.

As I mentioned earlier in this challenge, Anne meets ghilen in book 2. While I was able to find one site for a sketchy background, I needed to build more back story for these characters to find their proper place in Anne’s world.

Since the premise is that Communists are behind the drainage of magical powers, and I had intended for more of the story to take place in China, I went with the Chinese interpretation of these beings. So I also gave them Chinese-like names and language elements.

Naturally, the difficulty with that is that Chinese languages are tonally based, so finding words that have some kind of significant meaning could easily be distorted by the wrong kind of sing-song application, but I was interested to find that there are some interpretations of “Niu” as excellent and “Wen” as historical culture. And there’s an “assimilated” artist who bears the name. So there’s a hidden dichotomy for the word I created to indicate a collection of this particular kind of magical beasts.

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