1. Veo
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    Veo Member

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    What to Call a Magical & Non-Magical Person in a Fantasy Novel?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Veo, Jun 30, 2014.

    Hello.

    I have the ones who are born with magical abilities and practice them, and the ones who are normal humans, called Muggles in the Harry Potter series, called Fains in Half Bad.

    What should I call them in my story.

    Thank you.
     
  2. FallenShandeh
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    FallenShandeh Member

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    If you can't or don't want to make up a word, you could look at other sources. For example 'Muggle' is slang, I can't remember what for now but I do recall it shocked me. I've seen the word 'Fain' used to describe a nonmagical person in a few other works, have not personally read Half Bad. It obviously has its own meaning as well.

    You could try tracing back the etymology of a word like 'mundane' or 'ordinary' or something of the sort. If you're still not satisfied, someone on here suggested to me that I could trace back the etymology of the etymology. Etymology-ception.
     
  3. Veo
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    Thank you :)
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Depends too if the name you chose for either is meant to play a character itself in the story. In the original Tomorrow People, regular humans were called saps* which was constantly having to be explained and apologized away by those with special powers in the show as not a slur, but simply short for homo sapiens. The people with powers referred to themselves as homo superior.

    *You don't hear it often used these days as a slur, and if you're not familiar with it, it means rube, dummy, easily fooled.
     
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  5. Veo
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    Thanks! What a trick!
     
  6. Pandemonia
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    "Homo superior" was already used in David Bowie's song Oh You Pretty Things.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I was talking less about the actual choice and more about the reason the story chose that choice and how it was used. It wasn't random; it had places in the plot-line and in their interaction with others that created story-line.
     
  8. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    And in the recent Tomorrow People. :)
     
  9. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    If you want a really concrete and evolved meaning, then you really want to look at what is normal in your world and the perspective of your characters. I'm going to use some non-PC terms to make a point because they show extremes, which is something that usually exists in these situations.

    Take for example the Caucasian race, aka white people. Not all Caucasians are identified the same way. There are "Gingers" and "Albinos" that are common terms used to further identify major differences even though they're Caucasian. People do identify with these differences because they're not "normal" of Caucasians. When someone of these obvious traits intermingles in public, one easily takes notice. If the inverse was true, say in Scotland where red hair and freckles are common, the same person in the previous example wouldn't draw focus.

    To apply this to your world, consider if people with magic are the majority. If they are, then they're likely not going to call themselves something special, however, if they do, understand that your reader may find it elitist to do so. It is more relatable to give the minority type the special designation.

    I wouldn't create different terms for both, only one.
     
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  10. Pandemonia
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    Pandemonia Member

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    Since you're already using one reference to Armenian mythology in story, what about deriving a term from the Armenian word for "magic"?
     
  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Here's what I wrote on the matter:
     
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  12. Veo
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    It is very hard to pronounce that word in English: Kakhardutyun.
     
  13. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I like the cheeky way of adding an 'er'. My fav is espers meaning ESP-ers. So I would use clavers - as in cla(irvoyant)-ers while nonmagic would be derogatory in essence. Say vioders or noners. Just idea tho just try shortening and adding er :)
     
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  14. Veo
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    Veo Member

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    This is great!
     
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  15. ChickenFreak
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    This is the rare sort of situation where I would actually recommend playing with a thesaurus. Starting with one word--let's say "mundane" for the non-magic-users--and wandering from word to word in a thesaurus (most easily done in a electronic one, which is easy enough online) could give you some fresh ideas of how people think of the mundane versus the exotic, and whatever other concepts come up in the search.
     
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  16. Simpson17866
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    Mabye just "mortals?" Sure, the mages would technically be mortal too, but we are even more so than they would be.
     
  17. J Faceless
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    J Faceless Active Member

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    Then use part of the word they may say Kakhards or Kaks. they have harsh tones which both sound derogatory. When you look for a word you should find one the reflects the setting. If its a gritty world use a crueler word. If the magic users are more positive then maybe a gentler or even nurturing word for humans etc.
     
  18. Wuggums47
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    Wuggums47 New Member

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    The unenlightened and the enlightened.
     
  19. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That sounds like a White Wolf game.
     

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