Worldbuilding is a curious process. Sometimes while writing your story, you’ll find that you need to create all new elements in order to make the world feel tangible. Today, I’d like to share one of these instances.
My characters come from different walks of life. They’re different ages and hold varying values and cultural tendencies. My story is also other-world fantasy. This means that it doesn’t happen in the world as we know it. I had to create an alternate universe where my story can play out.
Character dialog is one of the most important parts of storytelling. Not only does it move the story along at a nice, brisk pace, but it also tells the reader a lot about the characters. How a character speaks or uses language will inform the reader what a character’s personality, mood, education, age and thoughts are.
While writing a new storyline, I realized that I needed to add to my story world's vocabulary in order for my characters’ dialog to flow smoothly. Spending time trying to think of these made me feel a bit dirty, but worldbuilding can be a dirty job and I’m willing to do it.
Here’s a few terms I needed to create in order for their dialog to work.
Please excuse my french.
This term is used throughout my story from the very beginning. At first, it’s a little unclear what this word entails, but it says a lot about how most cultures view the universe.
An alien species might find the way we use the term “god” as odd. Phrases like “I hope to god” and “god bless you” may be very normal to us, but for this world, such phrases would not be used (with the exception of two cultures).
Desolate is used in many different ways to refer to the unknown, the supernatural, and the force of change. “Beyond Desolate,” “Desolate’s hand,” and “Desolate-bound” are all phrases that are commonly used.
This is actually a real term, however it’s not commonly used in everyday english. I haven’t spent a lot of time in England, so perhaps it’s used there, but to my knowledge, this is a term that has fallen out of vogue in the 21st century.
Shove is used in my story a placeholder for the classy english term “fuck.” The term usually appears in these forms: “shove off,” “shove it,” “shove over,” “shoved,” and “shoveboy.”
If you search for this on Urban Dictionary, you’ll find a form very similar to how I use this there, but the origin is not the same.
A mopper is a person of low class and is generally considered unworthy of respect. The term originated from sailors in the Crehn Isles. It refers to new crew members who wished to work their way up to a more desirable position. Moppers were often used to clean and perform duties that were… unsavory, and were often overlooked by the rest crew.
The term found its way into common language, but is not widely used outside of seaport communities and sea trade guilds.
This is another term that has a different meaning in Urban Dictionary’s slang collection (in fact, it’s pretty hard to make a term that hasn’t be placed in this engine).
A Clucker is someone who leaks secret or confidential information. This is used casually for someone who can’t keep a secret and also for those who are professional informants. It can also be used in verb form: “cluck” or “clucked.”
This is possibly the only term that doesn’t appear to have any dibs on its meaning in real life.
Blogard is an adjective used to add intensity or emphasis. It works in the same way that the terms “fucking” and “bloody” might be used. It can also be used as an stand-alone interjection in the same way most 4-letter-words can be used (“Blogard!”).
This is a term used exclusively for women. Although it can be used as a slight to a male in the right context.
This is my story world’s version of terms like (and, again, excuse my french) bitch or the less classy “c-word.” The term is derived from the period of time when a woman sits to allow her flow to pass.
Quite simply, a looger is a prick or a jerk. It’s derived from the term “look out” for someone who’s watching for authorities while his accomplices commit a crime. “Look out” eventually shortened to “looker” and then to “looger” as time passed to refer to someone who’s only interested in their own well-being.
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I hope this wasn’t too uncomfortable, but I thought I’d share.
Please, let me know what you think in the comments below!