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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Building a Fantasy World
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: two-part comment 'cause it's getting hella long

>> I've been thinking of sitting down and writing/typing out things that I personally like reading in stories, so that I can try to incorporate them more consciously into my writing (or, conversely, challenge myself with something I usually don't like and try to make it so that I would read it).<<

Both of those are good ideas. One thing I enjoy doing is paired stories that point in opposite directions, to discourage readers from thinking that everything I write is necessarily a reflection of my own worldview. So for instance, I have a pair of unplanned-pregnancy stories, although only the pro-life one has been published thus far.

>>Also, I checked out that link you sent me, and I am snerking at the idea of a strumpetocracy, and also kind of going "hmm" at it, because it might actually fit pretty well with Seera Kai. It would be entirely plausible that, early on for the incubic/succubic (I need a better all-inclusive term for these folk) race's time in Seera Kai, they established at least one state that could more or less be described as a "strumpetocracy".<<

Bear in mind that modern America really looks down on sex, while using it to sell everything. Not all cultures are so messed up. Think of Japanese geishas, Greek hetaerae, or the Registered Companions in Firefly -- all highly respected and sophisticated. All of those had excellent political awareness. There is a tendency to oversimplify the leccubi (that is, sex daemons of all varieties) into lust alone. But they're really about all types of passion and desire; in some cultures, there are things like the leannan sidhe that combine aspects of muse, succubus, and vampire. Think outside the ... box.

>>(Although I have to admit I'd kind of feel sorry for bonsai dryads!)<<

They make more sense from a Shinto perspective.

>>Originally I went with "daemon" because it seemed like a ttly kewl mispelling of "demon", but then I found out that it could refer to either good spirits or bad spirits, and I liked that ambiguity. It'd be interesting if it weren't clear whether the daemons of Seera Kai were inherently benevolent or malevolent.<<

That's an excellent idea. Purity of any kind is extremely rare. Most traits have a spectrum where the sane range is in the middle. Being a skinflink or a spendthrift is not so good; a moderate relationship to money is healthier than either extreme. Then there are traits where the asset and the liability are part of the exact same thing: if you have very sensitive hearing, you'll know when you've left the computer on because you can hear it across the house, but an ambulance siren will give you a headache.

Daemons are often manifestations of archetypes, themes, ideals, etc. So it's natural that they would have both the positive and negative aspects of their force. A solar daemon would be warm and cheerful when happy, but fierce when angry.

>>Oh, thank you so much for this heads up! I knew I'd have to do research into genetics but I wasn't sure where to start with it.<<

No problem, I've been exploring this stuff since I was little. Here are some good online resources:
http://www.horsecolor.com/
http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/colors/index.html
http://www.theequinest.com/colors/
http://ib.berkeley.edu/courses/ib162/Week3a.htm
http://www.hdw-inc.com/genetics.htm
http://www.tenset.co.uk/catgen/indexus.html
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: two-part comment 'cause it's getting hella long


In your setting, you could take an "easy" way out and secretly map the daemon types and/or traits to either a horse or a cat set of genetics. That is, jot down something like "archdevil = black", "leccubus = chestnut", etc. Then you can just run the projections and translate them. (This would also assist you in determining a number of the daemon types.) Add "human" as your choice of dominant or recessive.

A more challenging and realistic approach would be to use the above resources merely as inspiration on how complex genetics can interact. Bear in mind that nobody, not even breeders, knows ALL the quirks of genetics. Consider the mysterious appaloosa patterns:
http://www.mustangs4us.com/Horse%20Colors/appaloosa.htm
With this approach, you'd take your base list of daemon types and jot down which ones are dominant/recessive and what the modifiers are. Then throw in something that is just not fully understood, to give yourself some wiggle room and allow for the vagaries of fate. But if you base the core genetics on something real, it will show through.

>>Yep; I've already compiled a list off Wikipedia of various mythological creatures and beings that don't normally show up in fiction. This goes back to my initial question of "which races should show up and why?"<<

Good plan.

>> I'd definitely like for most of my daemonic races to be creatures that people don't usually write about, but I'd like to have some measure of logic for it, even if my characters can't agree on what that logic is.<<

Look for a unifying base set, then. Frex, it might be that they're "obscure" types because they were driven out or chose to leave the vicinity of Earth. Or you could pick odd creatures you like, and derive their daemonic traits from traditional associations -- sphinxes are thought to be mysterious, so might have powers relating to truth/falsehood, illusion, akashic knowledge, etc. in addition to broad powers like speed/strength that most daemons would have. Another option would be to pick a set of concepts -- like the 7 Deadly Sins or the Eightfold Path, or even one each of positive and negative -- and create a daemon for each of the points.

That reminds me, there are two ways a gene can express: On/Off or More/Less. On/Off genes don't stack. They are either present or absent; some are absolutes that can't even be modified by anything else because they're hyperdominant (i.e. some versions of black or white coat color). More/Less genes interact with other genes a lot more. Size is usually in this category; breed a large and a small critter together, and the offspring are likely to be medium. With daemon powers, the core abilities (like shapeshifting) are likely to be On/Off while the widespread ones like supernatural strength are likely to be More/Less. But within each type, there will be a handful of powers that are characteristic of that daemon's sphere of influence; some of those will probably be More/Less (and thus fairly well known, especially in weak versions) while others will be On/Off (and thus rare, but when they do appear they'll be at full strength).
reileen From: reileen Date: July 10th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: two-part comment 'cause it's getting hella long

Another option would be to pick a set of concepts -- like the 7 Deadly Sins or the Eightfold Path, or even one each of positive and negative -- and create a daemon for each of the points.

I was initially trying to map the daemonic races to the 7 Deadly Sins, but didn't get much farther than lust = leccubi and pride = sphinxes. It would be interesting to use a non-Western concept like the Eightfold Path or something, though.

Thanks again for the extra pointers on what to do about the genetics. It still seems very daunting to tackle it, but I definitely want to try to make this work.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: two-part comment 'cause it's getting hella long

>>I was initially trying to map the daemonic races to the 7 Deadly Sins, but didn't get much farther than lust = leccubi and pride = sphinxes. <<

You might try looking over descriptions of demons and their correspondences. Unfortunately the tightest are one-to-one, like patron saints more than classes. But there are some classes. Shedu are storm-demons. Djinni are fire. Se'irim are animalistic. Mazikin are violent. Nephilim are hybrids between demons and humans. And so forth.
http://www.djmcadam.com/demons.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon

>>It would be interesting to use a non-Western concept like the Eightfold Path or something, though.<<

That would certainly give the setting a different flavor.
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