Apparently I wanted to talk about the process of world-building, in specific exploring the repercussions of changing hair color in my world to fit with the image I want instead of what I started with. It lets me move to a world that I want now without breaking the world I've already published. Oh, and Lily goes on a walk.
More on Hair
I enjoy world-building a lot. My relatively wide range of experiences lets me play with so many different things. I like it when everything is semi-logical, or at least I know how the events lead up to something specific (like Tarsan's obsession with blondes).
Of course, that makes it even harder when I realize I have some critical flaws in my world-building. Some of this comes from the “logical” follup of last week's post when I talked about wanting more varied hair colors in my world. This wasn't part of my original design of Fedran since there is a “default” of hair is various shades of brown growing lighter in areas that had shorter summers and darker for the regions with high sun (you know, basic evolution).
Moving away from that also means I have to explain, even internally, how more varied colors work when I don't really have a biological basis to work with. I can always go with “magic happened” but I need a bit more than hand-waving to settle it in my mind.
To add to the complexity, I believe skin color is a factor of environment. It is also integral into my views of racisms in the world since the easiest form of -ism is to have a clear physical different to separate a group by: breasts, beards, skin color, and eye color are all good examples. They are “easy” separators to hang stereotypes against.
Side note, I think one reason people get hung up on gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folks is because they mix those “clear” signals. It confuses them and risks a world view build on those stereotypes, so they respond first with anger and hatred (just like the seven stages of guilt).
Naturally, I also went with the same hair coloring as those skin colors in our world (since it has much of the same biological reasons for why hair is that color). It seemed like a logical thing, but the emotional driven is to switch to a wider palette of colors (because babies with cyan hair are so cute).
If I say hair coloration is less important to survival, then that coupling can easily change. Insects and birds both have wildly different colors, though mostly in environments where bright colors are useful for defense (jungles come to mind). You rarely see a bright red and purple creature in the middle of the desert. Of course, with magic as a defense, having bright colors could be more useful for identifying friends and foe over longer distances. Given that almost everyone in the desert has violent powers… bright colors could resemble the brightly colored snakes and insects that identify they are poisonous.
And that leads into the typical anime colors with red for fire. Actually, given the day's clan preferences for light greens, yellows, reds, and oranges, that kind of works. Likewise, the night clans are more of the darker colors.
This is important because I consider Sand and Blood and the rest of the series to be “canon” while everything else is a work-in-progress. I need to make those colors work in my head because I don't want to retcon anything at this point (I'm only three books in).
The exception has to be black. While this would be a “night clan” color, most of the named characters have black or nearly black hair. There are exceptions, Chimípu for example, but for the most part, black. More importantly, black hair needs to be part of the “ideal beauty” for those areas in the book.
I figured that will come from the kojinōmi. The symbols of death are white and gold, that comes up in Sand and Ash near the end and throughout Sand and Bone. Going with the opposite, I could easily say that black represents life. That would give a reasonable purpose for preferring black hair, especially in the traditional areas (one of the plot lines of Sand and Bone).
This also helps me build the world. Colors are very important to people and knowing that black is life and white is death tells me that babies are probably wrapped in black as are wedding colors. Despite it being a dark color, it wouldn't be treated the same as the rest of the night clan (though dark brown is still a day color).
Using this approach lets me keep Kanéko's hair copper (inspired by electrical wires actually) but probably means I might change the other characters in Flight of the Scions to fit. I always saw Maris as a black-haired collie though and she has plots that require her not to have any obvious traits.
My current plan is to have about half of the population stick with earth tones for hair (blonde, brown, and black). The other half will be varied colors but mostly gradients from the various earth tones into the more extreme colors. That fits with my desire for many traits to be on a bell curve. It also means it happens enough that someone won't see a blue-haired girl as being exotic, just “slightly different.”
And that leads to the other problem: eye color. So far, I've sketched out a world where everyone has brown eyes of varied colors except for the desert folk (green) and the vomen (blue). I think allowing multiples colors there would be logical with a wider variety of hair color. It gives a new spectrum for a sense of beauty (“oh love, if your green eyes had the same shade as your hair”) and allow for hints of the future. I already had one character with red-brown eyes (Sinmak) and I think it works.
Having the desert folk all have green eyes is a stereotype and one I realized I don't really need. There can't be “one constant trait” for any race in the world because I really hate “all orcs are evil” or “all villains have hooked noses.” Have you ever noticed almost every bad guy in a fantasy movie has either a wide flat note or a large hook/ridge? There are no button-nosed orcs (except for Fiona from Shrek)… and there should be.
... in a bikini.
... and not shaved.
It took a while to realize I was going down this path of having a single common and obvious trait represent everyone of a given race. That is an injustice to everyone, readers and me, so that flaw needs to be corrected.
I love rain storms. I love the sound of it coming down, the tingle of the air, and the moisture that creeps into the back of my throat. Even when I was walking a few miles to and from school, I have such fond memories of following half-hidden trails in the forest behind the school.
I think that is one reason why Kendrick is a water mage. (Well, that and I love bare-chested men with wet hair clinging to their shoulders.) It fits his personality and also reflects how he faces his problems.
This chapter is about a long walk, though it ends in rain instead of being in the middle of it. It is also a “sequel” chapter leading into what I hope is a wonderfully romantic scene next week.
Second-Hand Dresses 16: Heading Home
Lily's struggle to finish her dresses forces her to take work home with her. She is painfully aware of the cost of getting a carriage, so she walks only to be haunted by her own thoughts and lusts.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/second-hand-dresses/chapter-16/.
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