1. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    Last question, for a while. But Fantasy gender hasn't been brought up yet.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by alvin123, Sep 12, 2008.

    This is very tough to me. I can i let the reader know the genders of non-human characters. for example:
    Jake and Lina are phillisin. Genders are witch and wizard.
    But in first person, (this has been changed though: One of my chapters said something like: (Don't worry about the grammar. As i said, it has been corrected in the actual novel)

    He tapped the bell of the lobby’s front desk and a witch named Tory answered.


    Human genders of course are man and woman, and yes, the human world is in this novel. Its hard to let the reader know about the genders without it being an info dump, or sounding like the character is insulting the other character.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The names you are using might give the reader a clue as to the gender of the character. When I see Jake, I think male, so my guess is that Jake is a wizard. I think most readers know what gender characteristics witches and wizards have. However, if you come up with any different genders, then you will have to explicitly state them since it will be hard for the reader to put names and genders together. Sorry if any of this wasn't clear; I typed it a little fast cause I'm in a rush.
     
  3. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    No, actually this was very clear to me.
     
  4. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    appreciate your comment,
    thirdwind
     
  5. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I think people generally know witches are women and wizards are men, so I wouldn't worry about it too badly.

    Although it may be possible to have male witches etc. I think the likes of Harry Potter will have made it clear enough in peoples' minds.
     
  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    I would have to go with Leo. Witches are girls and wizards are men, and unless you make a fuss otherwise I don't see a problem.
     
  7. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I still don't understand how "witch" or "wizard" is a gender though?

    Why not just have men who are wizards and women who are witches?

    I mean even if you avoid male/female, you're still gonna have to deal with masculine/feminine anyway.
     
  8. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Try to pick a word for your genders that DOESN'T come pre-loaded with meanings in English. Made up words work. Really, anything that isn't quite as well-known and conceptually tricky like "witch" and "wizard," which are used constantly in a variety of ways, from the flak about Hillary Clinton's "witchy" smile to discussing "computer wizards." Just too much meaning in those words to comfortably alter their usage.

    Or just consider, y'know, translating it just like you're translating everything they say in their own language. Call her a "woman," since that's what "witch" means to a phillisin.
     
  9. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    maybe find out what "witch" and "wizard" are in another language and use those words.
     
  10. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I agree with the witch and wizard gender statements.

    Beyond that, couldn't you just slip in a "he" or "she" someplace. Such as, "She adjusted her coat as she approached," or anything like that.

    Instead of using "witch" and "wizard" you could even make up new terms like "Ajentar," and "Rentar" and as long as you mentioned the sex of each one and the powers, people would get what the terms mean. Readers love that sometimes because it's a puzzle for them to figure out.
     
  11. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    But what about the info-dump rule, TheAdlerian?
    Its tough to explain something, even in first person, without someone calling it an info-dump.
     
  12. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't mean to sound like a jerk or anything, but you're making a mountain out of a molehill, and this whole thread seems rather pointless. You're underestimating your reader's intelligence level; most people know [witch = woman] and [wizard = man]. And for the few who don't know, "he" or "she" will quickly fill in the blanks for them. This isn't rocket science.

    And I fail to see how you can have an infodump on something as simple as "this is a man, that's a woman." Correct me if I'm missing something here.
     
  13. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    You don't have to explain via info-dump. You can explain through action.

    You, the author, can make a list of titles and powers:

    Trens: Are female and enter into a trance to cast magic spells.

    Brens: Are Male and must hold an amulet in their left hand to cast spells.

    Text:

    In the story you never say that these actions are needed, but you always describe the character doing them. Then your reader will figure out the sex and rituals needed by each class. A side benefit of this is that you can always add more stuff as needed.

    If you put a list up front in the story and then want to add new things, then it will seem like you're just adding stuff. But, if you never define the terms you can add as much as you like, and keep the reader in wonderment.

    Example:

    The Tren saw a shadowy figure lurking in the doorway. Her spine seemingly ran with current detecting the energy of a Bren. Since the war her part of town had been restricted to them and this incursion could only mean trouble. Tina said the mantra which activated her ethereal trance and with eyes rolling back into her head she saw into the other realm gathering it's energies for a mighty blast.

    Suddenly, the figure from the door burst out into the weak streetlight a ward of protection burning off the amulet clutched in his left hand. He screamed, "No Tina, it's Fred! I need your help desperately!"

    And so forth...

    Although that may not be the best stuff in the world, I wrote it off the top of my head in order to address the powers and titles I mentioned.

    I believe that the reader will ask themselves what's going on here and want more. I'd be interested.
     
  14. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    What everyone here has said is true. Made up names work best I believe. Robert Jordan used Aes'Sedai and Ahsha'Man to describe his male and female magic users.

    Use what you think is best.
     
  15. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    Man did that get clear to me. And yes, i shouldn't be making such a big deal about this, but i had to get it clear in my head. So without further ado, this was the answer i needed. (I'm not using the amulet idea. BUt i get what you were explaining. Bascially, give the male certain characteristics and the female a certain characteristics, (as in real life anyway)

    Your explaination was so clear, that it works with first-person too.
    I appreciate the help! Thank you.
     
  16. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I'm honesty speaking, elated, to have helped you.
     

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