Well, then, after a couple of days of dipping and weaving away from that thing that’s shaping up to become another NaNo Novel, I finally pulled up The Foundation Chronicles and started in on a bit more research. But this wasn’t research sort of research, it was more like world building kind of research. The kind where you get the lingo down and you start your characters speaking the way they’re suppose to speak.
Each group and organization has their own way of speaking. If you work in a hospital, or you’re a police officer, you know this for a fact. If you work for NASA, they have their own words, their own terms, and their own form of understatement (“Obviously a major malfunction.”). If you’re in IT, this is also true.
The instructors at my Salem School have their own terms, their own sayings. Some of them are related to the school, some are taken from the hidden world of the Foundation. They speak of things that are normal to them, but may not make sense to those from outside their circle.
Last night I began putting that list together.
Nearly all of these terms were familiar to me because I’ve been thinking of them, and using them off and on in my prior story on the Foundation. But there were a few that I needed to lock down, like, “What do they call a kid who has powers?” And by powers I mean the kids are able to do things that don’t require science and/or magic. Like with my current Director of Facility Security, who can levitate without the need of spells or technology. She’s a Hugo, and you can look up that term if you like, because it’s out there. (Actually, I knew the novel from whence the term comes, but I didn’t know the name of the characters. But . . . Research!)
The thing that surprised me the most was how quickly the list finished. I was able to come up with a dozen and a half terms and write them out in under a half hour: this is due in large part to having made many of these terms a part of my life over the summer. When you get that stuff in your head, you’re able to get them down quickly. The trick tonight is to come up with school courses and “things” that the Gifted can do. I mean, I’ve already made someone’s heart jump out of their chest, made another person’s head explode, had a student flay a teacher to death with dust and bits of rock–don’t worry, he was bad–and then Shadowcated her and another student through a couple of walls. What do you call that stuff? I mean, I know what I can call the last, because the student in question may have had Chell as an instructor, so that’s an easy one . . .
Terminology is just as important when building your story as location and characters, particularly if they work in a field that isn’t all that usual. And if that field involves magic and powers and scientist building ray guns, then you better know what your character is saying when they say it.
After all, you don’t want them to look as if they don’t know what they’re talking about, do you?