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World of ALA (Adventures of the Last Aygiff)

In the beginning of my book, I have a concordance of terms. Do you think this is too much? Most of the words are introduced and explained within the first three chapters.

Concordance of Terms:

Cultural Words:

Michis -
mixed blood

Side note: typically looked down on in their culture, mixed bloods usually take up after only one of their parents’ races. They are then labeled as that race with the change of inserting a “U” in front of the name. For instance, if a Maunin and a Aelacrin mated, their child would either take up after one or the other. Depending on which one, the child would be labeled either a Uaunin, or an Ulacrin.

Orvin - hardened seed of an Orvin tree. Has a soft furry overshell, and is a common toy for children due to its roundness and slight bouncy attribute

Stavis - A stavis tree is a hard-barked tree that has a root system similar to weeds. A single forest can be inhabited by a single root system - all connected to a singular “Father” tree.

Gaaban - specialized shorts that shrink and expand to a certain extent with the user.

Reka - fool

Dhiaga - title of absolute sovereignty - a term implying god-like power

Dalit - a race that is deemed undesirable/untouchables, races that are ostracized and shunned by the rest of the populace

L’ent - a put-down that is similar to calling someone straight-laced, a square, or a goody-two-shoes.

Uncommon/Legendary Creatures

- a roly-poly type creature that grows up to 8 inches long when full grown

Nyuki - a large bee that grows up to five inches long. Its strong sense of direction has led to the nyuki being trained and used to transport messages across great distances.

Anqingon - a legendary lizard-like creature that can alter its size at will. Similar to a chameleon in shape, however, it is known to stand on two feet at times.

Saliero - A giant toad the size of large trees: known for its long, hardy tongue and thick skin.

Geake - a wing-less ground dragon that runs on two feet. Known as the fastest creature on two legs.

Aemirok - a flying wolf-like creature that can freeze items with its spit.

The different Races:

- Green-skinned, mohawked, people with tuffed ears that stick out the side of their faces. A shorter race, they have a gift for controlling insects.

Aygiff - A race of tan-skinned, mid-height people with pointy ears that lay back against their head, who can transform into different animals.

Ceratecian - A large race of muscular, slimy-amphibian-like skinned people who have layered, sharp shark-like teeth, with relatively flat faces, and have strong fin-like bone structures that stick out from their forearms.

Eviani - A race of feathered people. A matriarchal race, the female usually governs. The males can fly with large, angel-like wings attached to their backs, and feathers atop their head. The females have no wings, but they have feathers that decorate their shoulders and lower arms.

Faehin - an essence-less race, they have very few distinct attributes and no power or abilities. Of medium height and average life span.

L’entia - Golden-skinned people with deep secrets. They live for centuries and are known for their wisdom. Typically of the governing class.

Loxor - a giant, rocky-skinned race that can grow upwards of 20 feet tall.

Maunin - a tall, elegant race with long, flowing hair that have the ability to manipulate plants.

Naksian - mid-sized, broad-shouldered race who are known for their trickery and love of money. They have forked tongues and pig-like snouts. They have a very distinct accent that adds an “s” to the end of many words as they speak.

Neulahdian - A race of strong telepaths and empaths who typically keep to themselves and shy away from large populations. They live long lives, but develop twice as slowly as other races.

Scyphozome - a nearly transparent-skinned race of average height but skinny arms, legs, and torso. Have the ability to change the color of their skin to blend into their surroundings. Their hair is an integrated part of their skin, and they can manipulate it like their fingers. They also have similar hair on the tip of their chin. At the end of their hair are small barbs that can hold an electric charge.

Vaelintry - Ash-skinned people, no hair, and slits for ears. They can manipulate the elements and are known for their powerful abilities.

These are all the races introduced in book one. I am thinking of adding some new ones for book two. Any ideas for new races?


I don't have the time to go through all of these but I can tell you right now that:
  1. Starting the book with a vocab list is going to be really intimidating for your readers. Stuff should be clear in the context of the sentences
  2. It's 2021 we really shouldn't be using "race" to mean "species" anymore
  3. Making up a lot of races/terms is going to be confusing to readers, especially if most of them are being introduced really quickly. I only have 2 species I invented + names of some nationalities and that confuses some readers
Many books have concordances. I can just as easily place mine in the back of the book. I've read multiple books with it, and they are helpful to me, especially when words are new or foreign or hard to pronounce. As far as confusion, you are correct, it should be clear in the context, and I hope it is. Also, the number of new terms and confusion does really depend upon how it is expressed and explained in the text. I've done a lot of work on that side of thing, though I am far from perfect on that score, but I really do hope I've done a good job on it.

As far as using "Race" to mean "species", those terms themselves are very ambiguous and used a lot of different ways in our culture. I may be wrong (actually, could very easily be wrong), but I believe it is mostly American culture that are particularly sensitive to the word "race" and confuses it with "ethnicity." As far as what I've seen (which, again, I could be very wrong on this), referencing the "human race" is still widely used - and particularly in the genre of fantasy, I have always heard it separated into the human race, the dwarven race, races of elves, etc. ....I know race, as in ethnicity, can be a hot button issue, so I hope I don't offend you or anyone else; however, I'm not sure I agree with your second point. For example, elves and dwarves and humans may be potentially categorized as the same family or genus in taxonomy - as different species; however, my "races" are arguably from completely different genus, family, or even order (in reference to biology taxonomy charts). A real world example would be that most people consider panda's as bears. Panda's are different species than black bears or brown bears, and vice versa - however, black and brown bears share the same genus, while panda's are in a different genus altogether. Panda's only share the same family as black and brown bears. So in light of taxonomy (if that is truly what we wish to look at in terms of identifying "race"), different races aren't different species, but potentially different orders or classes even. That argument was much longer than I anticipated, and I'm sorry if it sounded like i'm rattling on about it...

I probably over thought that by A LOT.... actually, I am pretty much an amateur when it comes to most of this, so perhaps I am wrong. I wonder what other people think.... especially since I do not want to offend anyone if that really is the case.... I think I will put up a discussion with a survey and ask for people's opinions....


Dogs and cats are separate species, though they share the same root clade of carnivore (which is an order). But your argument would say that we should call dogs and cats separate races, because they didn't branch off from each other at the species level. That doesn't make any sense, like at all, I have never heard of anyone use those words like that.

You MIGHT be confusing "species" with the term "kinds," which is used in some young-Earth/creationist circles to mean the root type of organism that [intelligent designer] created, which then diversified into other species. There was 1 camel invented and then it branched into the 2 extant species, so "camel kind" is one collection that has a shared common ancestor (and no common ancestor with any other form of life). I specifically use the term "kinds" in my story because, like you mentioned, they might have differentiated at different "levels" than just species. There are multiple phoenix subspecies, but the different kinds of dragons branch off into different families. So, collectively, it is "dragon kind" but there are still separate species that look, act, and think very differently and are still treated differently. I even have a species that is a different domain from everything else, but it is still a species, because all life is one species or another.

In America, ethnicity is "are you hispanic/latino or not?" and race is everything else (or at least that is what the official Census data is, which is what a lot of things base their info off of). Yes, America is "sensitive" to the use of the term race, but we are not the only country that has a very long history around racism (I mean, look at South Africa). I imagine that since you're writing this in English, you are writing your story in English, and are looking to sell to an English-speaking audience. America is the largest English-speaking market, by far, so you are going to have to be aware of stuff like that if you plan on anyone reading your story.
Thank you for bringing these up for my consideration. I hadn't thought of things from that angle. And you are right, I think I was either confused in my argumentation or did not express it very well, but I'm not very well versed in that subject area. I really enjoyed coming up with these original "kinds"(?) I wanted to create a fantasy story that didn't follow all of the common tropes of fantasy characters (like dwarves, elves, etc - even though those are still very well loved character tropes). I have the first half of the first chapter posted in the critique section. I would be very interested to know if you think it's too confusing with all the new terms or not, if you have the time.
I think having a list of terms used in your novel is fine. It's fairly common in epic fantasy. You should place it at the back, which is where it's commonly found. Putting it at the front will scare readers away I feel. It would be the first thing people see when using the "look inside" feature on amazon. And you want them to get to your story as fast as possible then, not give them a vocabulary list.

As for the question if it's too many strange words, it's hard to say. Depends on your book, its length, your skill as a writer etc. It could be a lot for the first 3 chapters. But if you have chapters 10k words in length then it would be no issue at all. One thing to consider is that a fair few readers will not remember all of them. Especially if like me they take some time to go through a novel (as in a month or 2), then they'll not remember all the exact details of each race. Not an issue if it's not plot relevant, but if it is, then it might be worth repeating it every now and then.


I’m just going to go ahead and throw this out there: “aygiff” sounds kind of silly. I’m sure the linguistic roots and entomology is totally rock solid but saying it out loud, it sounds goofy to me.
Although, I’m pronouncing it like “eh GIF” and maybe it’s supposed to be like “AYE gef” or something.

If the aygiff’s main characteristic is their shape shifting, I’d substitute for some more clear English phrase like “changeling” or something. I think that would work better if you plan to use the term in your book title.
thanks for your honesty. You're the first person to voice that. I appreciate your honesty. Though i'm wondering, is it any more strange than the other words I came up with for the other races? Ex. L'entia, scyphozome, neulahdian, vaelintry.


Myth Weaver
My concern is you might be throwing a bit too much at the reader too fast. Usually, with introducing new races, the 'rule of three' is something to take into account. One new race - fine. Two new races - also fine, especially if they're clearly distinct from each other. Three new races - doable, if the writing is good enough. More than that, unless your aiming for a scene where a character is overwhelmed with weirdness - not a good idea. Gets the reader confused.

You *can* get away with more than two/three new races, but the others are likely going to get short shrift. Maybe a single 'wtf' scene or a passing mention - 'well a such and such could do this, if there were any within a thousand miles'

That said, points for worldbuilding. Put the concordance at the back of the book.