October 28, 2020, 05:28:54 PM

Author Topic: We are not using the Z-Word  (Read 8369 times)

Offline Yora

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 02:38:30 PM »
You can use or not use words in whichever way you like. But it always has an effect on the work.
The first way that comes to mind is not always the most suited for a given purpose.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline K.S. Crooks

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2015, 10:51:46 PM »
I also avoided the word zombie in my current novel. I have a being who can drain the life force from a person or animal. When she choses to she can return some of the life force, thus turning the person or animal into a waking-dead/walking-disease creature. The creatures, which I call immortui, have greater strength, ferocity and can fight using weapons. Their bite causes the person to become infected with a disease that kills them within a short period of time. The creatures themselves burn through their energy and also die in a short while. I did this to avoid the whole zombie apocalypse scenario.
K.S. Crooks- Author

Offline madfox11

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2015, 01:16:34 PM »
Avoid the use of one word, such as for example zombie, is a great tool to highlight the difference with regular expectations of the reader. Just be careful that whatever alternative you use if clear to the reader and that the change actually serves a purpose. I feel though you should be careful. Making up words and terms should not end up confusing the reader. Using familiar terms on the other hand make it much easier to properly express what you want to tell. It is also a lot easier to remember. In fact, in a roleplaying game I can guarantee you that the players call an animated corpse a zombie even though you as the GM used another term at first. Then again, they might settle on wights, ghouls, mummies or various other words used for nearly identical creatures in RL mythology depending on how exactly you describe them and the type of powers they use and the player's background. Fact is, virtually all readers of fantasy are well aware there are no solid definitions of fantastical creatures. It is not hard to make sure the differences with some more common concepts are remembered ;)

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2015, 10:57:17 PM »
I'm not sure if any of you will support this technique, but it's an idea.
In character dialogue, it makes sense not to use terms that fail to fit in their world. However, when first presenting a creature to the reader, or even in the description of a book, you might want to use a modern world name. Something like this. Put the name of the creature in the first sentence, and in the next, when describing an action, throw in a modern term to clarify the image in the reader's head.
You never have to use it again, but it will stick. It allows the definition to be more flexible, since the reader has only seen the modern title once, and then excepts the modifications afterword.
I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone outside of my head. Just throwing it out there.

Offline Yora

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2015, 09:40:33 PM »
If it shuffles like a zombie, groans like a zombie, and smells like a zombie, then it's a zombie. And probably should be called just that.

Using different names makes the most sense to me when you want to emphasize that the thing in your story has a meaningful difference compared to the common archetype of the thing within the genre you're writing in.
If it's an elf, I'd call it an elf, and if it's a dragon, I'd call it a dragon. If you use a new word you also should be introducing a new concept. Otherwise the new word is just junk data that doesn't actually contain any information.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Francis Knight

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2015, 10:57:36 AM »

However, how do you justify using the word "witches"? It comes from the old English "Wicca" the pagan religion. If the concept of Wicca isn't present in the work, the word becomes as tricky as 'zombie' no?

Witch is fine, as there was no historical 'Wicca' pagan religion (Wicca only being established last century) but instead is a generic term that refers to practitioners of a variety of sorcerous practices, divinations etc. (some of which were no doubt adherents of a variety of different pagan beliefs)

History of the word Witch

Old English wicce "female magician, sorceress," in later use especially "a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits and to be able by their cooperation to perform supernatural acts," fem. of Old English wicca "sorcerer, wizard, man who practices witchcraft or magic," from verb wiccian "to practice witchcraft" (compare Low German wikken, wicken "to use witchcraft," wikker, wicker "soothsayer")
(From: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=witch )

Wicca was named after the old word for magic users/wise men/women, not the other way around, so witches is fine IMO, although for me it does have connotations of "against the prevailing religion" or "magic from an older religion". But as you say, we have to draw the line somewhere

That link is extremely helpful in working out whether a word is going to work in your world. My world(s) have an amalgam of one or more afterlifes that Bad Peeps go to, so hell(s) and damn work. I changed some things just because, in a world powered more by clockwork than anything else, made sense. Or because it was fun :) (One of my characters kicks another "right in the cogs" frex)

I think the main thing is, decide your own line and be consistent. LOTR mentions a steam train...
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.

Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!


Offline ArhiX

Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2015, 02:59:41 PM »
I think it was well made in Malazan.
There is a race called "Eleints" - they are sometimes called like that, but usually just... dragons.
They are no ordinary dragons - so they earned unique name.
There are two groups of shapeshifers - and they are also referred to with their distinctive names, because differences between them are huge, but still - in normal talk - many will refer to them only as shapeshifters...

So how about reffering to your 'zombies' as just simple "undead" but also by their very own distinctive name. Let's say - a villager will only see a walking corpse (because that's what he sees), but someone who knows their true origin will call them with other name.

Even now we can call our zombies in many ways.
If they were created by:
Disease - they are "The Infected" - just like in World War Z or any modern zombie film
Bad soul forcefully taking over dead body - "The possesed"
Ripping out ones soul to create mindless servants - "Hollows" or "Ghouls" (Ghouls in Heroes of might and magic were created this way - if I remember correctly).
I think there are enough ways and words to choose from...
"The world is full of stories, and from time to time, they permit themselves to be told."

Offline Rostum

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Re: We are not using the Z-Word
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2015, 12:35:39 AM »
Almost on topic http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/zombie-evolution.html

Wicca is an old English (Saxon) word. Meaning witch amongst other things and Wiccan is a meeting.
The religion is a bit younger about 1890's.Created by some lecherous old goat called Gardner who hijacked classical mythology and nicked the bits he wanted.