A piece of information that Emma McCoy posted on her blog (emmamccoy.wordpress.com) that has stayed with me was the idea that every person in your story (main, supporting, bit part) needs a life within the story’s world. It seems like the fantasy genre has done that more often recently, hence the tome-like books. Robert Jordan tried this, though it seemed to detract from the story overall.
I am setting out to have an expansive description of setting in the first 100 pages, meshing it with the characters who directly affect its layout and culture. With the success of this method yet to be decided, I hope it works. With somewhat uniform layouts elsewhere in the world of Book 1, it will hopefully make it easier for a reader to establish the look in their mind’s eye.
What I am also attempting to do in my story is to tap into the rich reserves of the existing history. This has now had a more focused effect on my story, as I now have to rename characters. It seems weird to be naming characters in the form of one culture, but with the words of another. I can only hope my attempt at finding a ‘happy medium’ is not considered disrespectful!
I showed my wife the two different ways to say the character names. Thankfully, she said the same as me. The preferred name was longer, but it sounded lyrical. Such an effect is well-known among one of the cultures.
On the plus side, one of the supporting characters names, unknown to me, translates as ‘lovesick’. I used the name as it had a historical link to famous architects of the area, but now the name’s link is twofold. Since I am writing of her in Chapter 3, the meaning is useful to my guiding her character =)
As well as that, another character to appear later in Book 1 is causing issues. He is not a main character, but will be very important for Book 2. His description seems to make him stronger than any main character! Well, considering his real-life inspiration was immensely powerful, it makes sense that he is.