1. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Obscure Worldbuilding

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by SNJade96, May 15, 2020.

    Okay, so basically my book takes place in a world where all orphans are shipped off to communal homes, sort of like orphanages, except they're all being trained to be slaves. They're taught a myriad of different skills in order to serve their future family. The problem is that none of them are called slaves, because this is in the future and humans don't want to associate themselves with what is so clearly wrong, but since this is sort of dystopian, it exists anyway. At the moment, these children are called "Girls" or "Boys" depending on the gender, distinctive from the normal words girl and boy by capitalization. However, this is just a placeholder, and I feel like this name is not only confusing, but also very uncreative because I'm absolutely horrible at coming up with things like this. Any ideas as to what they should be called?
     
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  2. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    Something euphemistic like "helper?"
     
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  3. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Girl and Boy works fine. Then give each of them a number. Girl 871, Boy 24601 etc.
     
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  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Taking this description at face value, you need to create a dynamic that serves as a mental shield so that they don't see it as slavery. That dynamic will be the most likely and fruitful source for what these slave/orphans are called.

    Think about how The Handmaid's Tale handles a similar situation. A dire reproductive calamity causes a fringe government to lean into stories from the Bible as their exculpatory source. In this way, they manage to swallow the fact that women have been turned into a variety of different kinds of slaves named Handmaids, Marthas, Aunties, Econowives, Jezabels etc. Even the Wives of the Commanders come to realize that they too have been subsumed into this conceptual envelope, and their "freedom" is little more than that of a bird in a cage. Whatever else you feel about that story, with respect to this particular dynamic you mention, the situation in T.H.T. is the same.

    That which was unthinkable is made not only thinkable but acceptable by wrapping it within a new paradigm.

    How does your society swallow the idea of these slaves? What is the reasoning for permitting this? That's where your name for these poor souls will be found.
     
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  5. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I've come up with a few options. I figured if you wanted an explanation as to why I chose these names, you can read, but otherwise, just skip to the list and tell me which sounds best. I'm horrible at telling these kinds of things.

    When the concept was created, they weren't treated as slaves at all, but more as a way of giving orphans a new life after losing their parents in an apocalyptic event. This is part of why society is alright with it; they don't even consider that it might be like slavery because they think of themselves as in the right. Anyway, the orphans were named for being "hard workers" and things like that. Since this society turned to myths and fairy tales in order to try and ignore the scientific hopelessness of their situation, I turned to Greek mythology to name them. (Mainly becauses I'm very familiar with Greek mythology.)

    1. Aidos - Greek spirit of reverence, respect, and modesty. As time went on, people would remove the 'o' and pronounce it the same as the word "ides".
    2. Arete - Greek spirit of virtue, excellence, goodness, and valour. This is pronounced "Uh-RE-tee" now, but I was thinking that over time people would transition to dropping the "ee" at the end and just saying Aret or Arets.
    3. Ponos - Greek spirit of hard work and toil. I'm not sure how I would shorten this one.
    4. Soter + Soteria - male and female personifications of safety, preservation, and deliverance from harm. I don't think this one needs to be shortened.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This rocks! I'm reading Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller as we speak! So, what about picking more than one? There are underlying concepts here in these names you've picked from Greek that could easily be subverted as the whole dynamic of these orphans goes from "saving them" to enslaving them. The modesty of an ides is one thing when it's her choice, but another thing entirely when it's forced upon her. Her enslavers could so easily talk out of both sides of their mouths, that her modesty is a virtue, but it's a virtue she doesn't have the right to pick or unpick if she so wishes. The same is true for what all these words represent. There's a choice version, and an ugly un-choice side.

    I like your idea. I see lots of potential. Use more than one and create different classes of these orphans.
     
  7. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Mind if I bounce a few more ideas off you? I can't believe I didn't think of having different classes before. I was thinking that at first, the orphans were able to choose which class to join, but over time, they were forced into their classes based on what was "popular" at the time.
    For an ides, the normal household workers (cooks, maids, etc.), they're supposed to be modest, respectful, and subservient at all times. Besides the ponos, they tend to be the most physically abused, i.e. slapped, punched, etc. Those orphans that just wanted a simple life at the beginning were allowed to enter this sect, but now, those with ambition are forced to be a servant of another for their entire lives.
    An aret is raised to take care of children; she's not allowed to take care of any children of her own, or to even be physically intimate with someone. Originally, this would've been a personal choice, but now, obviously, it's forced upon her. This is to preserve her virtue for working with the children, as making her more child-like in this sense would make her better at it in their minds. Does that make sense? I would like to point out that others aren't allowed to fall in love or have children either, but the arets are the only ones that are expected to act absolutely perfect and good, child-like in their innocence.
    As for a ponos, this represents those forced into physical labour. Any people forced into this class are pitied by most everyone else, because a lot of the time, they aren't allowed breaks and are worked to death. Originally, people who chose this wouldn't have been forced into anything and were given any breaks they needed to; this gave them an opportunity to make money without having to perfect any skill, which was a nice prospect for many of the original orphans, when there wasn't much opportunity to perfect skills or even develop them.
    Soters and soterias were originally raised to be the "guards" of those that could afford to hire them (they were paid back when this all started). This made sense back after the apocalypse had just happened, and the world was a very dangerous place. This was a very noble choice to make back when it all started, to protect other people, but now it's just viewed as a sort of "Oh, they're still doing that?" because the world doesn't really require private guards anymore to live in. Soters and soterias are sort of just a show of wealth now, since they're very expensive to buy, and can be made to do anything behind the curtains. It just depends on what the family wants and needs.

    Now, we come into the ones I haven't named already...

    Agels are messengers. They're named after Angelia, the spirit of messages, tidings, and proclamations. Originally, those who loved to run were able to deliver these messages, but now, they're often forced to run long distances before they're ready, resulting in exhaustion, heat stroke, sunstroke, and a whole host of other things that come with that sort of thing. Originally, they could turn down any job they didn't want or couldn't do and worked independently for themselves, but now that's not the case.
    An aphea, originally derived from a minor goddess of agriculture, Aphaea, is a farmer. This was originally included inside the ponos label and was only separated later, so these didn't even start being fair. They came to be while things were first going south for the orphans. They generally have the same problems as the ponos.

    I went a little deep with the descriptions, but when it comes to worldbuilding, that's a good thing, right?
     
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  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think all of this works as a starting point. My opinion (take it for what it is) is to make sure you don't paint the enslavers as despotically draconian and without conscience. This aspect I mentioned is what makes The Handmaid's Tale work, thematically. If they're just monsters, then you have a monster story with a reasonless monstrous foe. Make sure that each of these aspects for the slaves has a psychological "other side of the coin" for the enslavers. In THT, Serena Joy, Wife to a very high ranking Commander, finds that she is slipping through the cracks of the very system she helped create. Without a child, she has no place in the greater social structure. Whether that should be true or not is neither here nor there within the narrative. It's an implacable fact in Gilead that Serena is facing. And blaming infertility on the man is forbidden in this story. This is how she finally canalizes that she is just as trapped as the Handmaid she enslaves. It was this self-deception that allowed her to accept the new order of things. Your enslavers need a similar dynamic, even if just at the start, in order to slide in this direction. You can look at any atrocity that ever happens, and though it looks reasonless from one point of view, there's an angle somewhere that someone has concocted so that if you look in just the right way, in just the right direction, it's acceptable. That's what you need to find to make the baddies human.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  9. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I've thought of that. I didn't put it here because I realized the problem after I had put away the computer for the day, but here's what I came up with:

    Just very quickly, I came up with the idea while writing this that the reason these people are so looked down upon is because other people are actually jealous of their guaranteed survival, of all the privileges they're given, seemingly undeserved. I might expand on that later and try to explain it more, but for now, on to the rest.

    For an ides, the reason the enslavers think it's alright is because they're provided food and board. As one of the few aspects that actually isn't abusive in some way, these are allowed their own room, giving them some semblance of privacy, and that they have enough food. This goes for everyone, but is seen as especially generous because they don't do any sort of hard work like physical labourers, or running around with children like an aret. As far as them being the most physically abused, to the enslavers credit, if they do, they aren't up front about it because they know it's wrong, and they tend to shun those in society that have been seen hitting their ides publicly. An ides is constantly told that she's lucky she has guaranteed access to food and her own room, a luxury many of the other slaves don't attain.
    Arets are sheltered, protected from the horrible things in the world. They're taught that it's their role to take care of children, that they're lucky to be able to take care of such darling creatures, things like that. The enslavers believe they're lucky, too. Like an ides, arets are provided guaranteed food and board, but they have the added benefit of never having to face the hardships and ugly truths of the world, which, in a dystopian future, is a quality akin to gold.
    For a ponos, they have the food and board that everyone else has, but they also have respect among their un-enslaved peers, unlike most everyone else. Unlike most of the rest of the enslaved, they're seen as having earned their keep. This is valuable among all the slaves/orphans, as most of them are greatly looked down upon.
    Sort of like a ponos, soters and soterias have a great level of respect. Obviously, they're also given room and board, but this is the only class treated, to their faces, at least, like actual people, mainly because of the people they're employed to. Since the only ones who can afford these guards are hugely wealthy and respected, the soters and soterias trade their lives away for a life even more privileged than everyone else.
    Agels I've decided are seen as lucky because of their supposed freedom, at least by other orphans and children. Children are jealous of them because they're free of a parent's discipline, influence, and control. Other orphans envy their freedom for reasons that should be obvious, though I'll take this opportunity to say that most orphans aren't aware that they're enslaved, at least before going out and working for a family. They're raised in Homes, where they're given classes on things like etiquette, mythology, art, and music, though never anything like history or science. As I'm going to make a line in the book, because it sounds clever, "We've never been taught the history of anything but our own names." As for adults, they're jealous because of all the ways they're jealous of everyone else, though sort of view them almost as an object most of the time. These are objectified the most because their just seen as a messaging service, almost like a mailbox or iMessages or something like that.
    The apheas are seen as lucky for most of the same reasons the ponos are; they're respected more because physical work is seen as more valuable in this world, they have free food and board like everyone else, but they also have the most access to food. Because food is scarce in this world, everyone wishes they could be an aphea, not knowing that they aren't allowed to eat a grain of the food they plant and gather. However, everyone outside the orphan system sort of assumes that all apheas are gluttons because of their easy access to food.

    Let me know if this works. I love worldbuilding, but I don't have much experience writing good stories, whether I enjoy it a lot or not.
     
  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    With this said, the following:

    I'm the other way 'round. I find myself creating my world on the fly because the first thing that comes to me is a very general, vague, amorphous idea of what's going to happen in the story.

    What's going to happen is the plot.

    I sit on that for a while. I pull the characters up out of the haze and decide who is the MC, who is the MC's love interest (if any), who is the antagonist, is this antagonist the primary villain, or does this story present a conflict for which the opposing side is not a person, but nature, God, time, self, etc. This is casting the story. Some people necessarily begin with a character around whom they create a story. I don't do that. I have a story for which I hold a casting session. How you do it will be up to you. Both ways 100% work.

    This leads me to what the story is about. For me, that's very different to what happens. What the story is about, for me, is the thing I want to say with this story. Don't confuse this with a polemic. No one wants an unsolicited heated diatribe, and those raising their hands about to say "I want that", good for you, look elsewhere you little Edgelord Without a Cause.

    What the story is about (as described above) becomes the star on the horizon by which I steer. I'm neither a panster nor a planner, but instead a combination of both that couldn't care less about all the investment people have in that particular conversation. The story may tack and turn in unexpected directions, but that star is where I'm always looking.

    So, without telling me any plot points, any happenstances or occurrences, what is your story about? What are you wanting to say with this assortment of narrative props and stage setting?
     
  11. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    This one’s easy. I've had this sort of thing in mind since the very beginning. It's not about "triumphing over the system" or anything like that. If this sounds a little cheesy, I'm sorry, but it's about trying to make your way in a world that's dead set against you; it's about trying to find a family; it's about realizing that the people you've grown to love maybe aren't who you thought they were after all; it's about how doing horrible things doesn't necessarily make someone a horrible person (though perhaps a bad one); it's about the lengths people will go to to protect the people they love.
    What I'm trying to say is that sometimes, you can't change the world, only your own situation; and that desperate people are capable of horrible things. Since this book is dystopian, which almost always has a set "good' side and a set "bad" side, with few complexities, I wanted to go against the stereotypical grain.
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Then, as far as this particular line of query is concerned, I've given all I can offer. You seem to have a productive idea of what's going to happen, you know the props and stage dressing, and you have a star on your horizon, which is a great deal more than most when they first set pen to paper. Now you need to sail that ship, and that's the hard part, the part that gives truth to the fact that no one in these forums and boards is interested in pinching or purloining ideas, which you did not say but it's a sentiment/concern that does come up with regularity in these venues.

    From here, it's for you to get something on the page and then come back (perhaps) and use the Workshop here as a way to discover if what you intended to do is what actually happened.
     
  13. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    *Checks to make sure this is Wreybies...* :superconfused: :supertongue:
     
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  14. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    [QUOTE="Wreybies, post: 1852898, member: 3885"
    From here, it's for you to get something on the page and then come back (perhaps) and use the Workshop here as a way to discover if what you intended to do is what actually happened.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, I'm planning on using the workshop as soon as I can. Thanks for all the help with the names; as I've said, I'm horrible at coming up with new words or names for things.
    Also, this is definitely not something I've come up with off the top of my head; whenever I first start writing, I have a very vague idea of the world it's in and the character we follow, and I sort of write out the ideas as they come, editing out the things I don't want to keep later.
     
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  15. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I would add that it's not a good idea, in my opinion, to become TOO hung up on what other people might think of your writing at this stage. If you get into the habit of putting all your work in the Workshop as you write, when you're not sure exactly where you're going with it, you can end up writing by committee.

    Don't be afraid to let go of worry about what other people are going to think of every aspect of your story, and write what YOU want to write. Later on, once you're well on your way, or, preferably, have actually finished a first or second draft, you can get opinions on what you've written without risking others telling you what you should write. Not to mention, until you get to be an expert at filtering opinion, you can get swamped with conflicting ones, and end up more confused than you were when you started.

    So, by all means use the Workshop to find out if your style works, etc. But beware of becoming too reliant on it when it comes to plotting your story and building your characters.
     
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  16. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Don't worry; I'm not really trying to take advice on the plot itself, only on the way it's conveyed. I used to be really insecure about writing and reliant on others' advice, but that's why I stopped showing other people my writing for a while; it got to the point that I was so worried my writing was bad it wasn't fun for me anymore. Anyway, I'm being extra careful now to not hinge my own opinion of my plot and writing on what other people say, or at least, what strangers say. Now, I only give things like plot summaries to friends and family, who are mostly avid readers, because I don't worry about what they'll think about it so much.
    And I definitely won't start writing by committee; when it comes to plot elements, I actually have a bit of trouble taking the advice I'm given because I like the story so much. Thanks for the warning though; if I had come here maybe a year ago, I would've needed it.
     
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  17. Justin Attas

    Justin Attas Active Member

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    I really li
    I really like the euphemistic names people have listed. Something that helps the slave owners feel like the people in their service aren't slaves would be a powerful storytelling device. I like the term Guest, but also the number system. Like your MC could be Guest 578 or something of that nature. The ones imposing the slavery would almost dignify their servants by calling them this, while perpetuating the cycle of enslavement.
     
  18. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I ended up going for a more complex system. Partially because I just prefer a name that actually has meaning and reason behind it, like the ones I ended up choosing, and partially because it sets me apart from other dystopian books. In most of the dystopian books I've read (it is dystopian) if there's something even vaguely similar to this, there's almost always a number system. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad idea; with stuff like this, it's mostly a matter of opinion. It's just that the system I started using allows me more freedom for subtle background, I can dig deeper into particularly motivations, and if there's levels, I might be able to go further into how the different levels (or sects, as I've taken to calling them as I write) are supposed to be equal but aren't, or how the names are inspired by something culturally relevant to the society. I just find that sort of thing more enjoyable to write about.

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm defending my choice here, but I did want to explain why for future reference if I might consider changing it later, so I can see why I chose this system in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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