Scifi/Fantasy has been my favorite genre for as long as I can rememeber. I still have a copy of a story I wrote when I was seven or eight about a martian come to earth. It even has a little drawing of said martian in the upper corner.
The very first book I had published was a light sci-fi book that would probably now be called “New Adult”. The New Adult genre wasn’t around back in 2009. Back then, I loved to write but wasn’t as aware of the rules. I made several mistakes in that book, though I still love it.
But I find myself in the unique position of having left the scifi/fantasy genre, gotten much better at writing, and now returning. Plus, my preferred writing style is so much different than it was back when I wrote In Search of the Drasta. Though, admittedly, this new story is still New Adult. Though it is more fantasy romance than scifi.
So now I’m writing a book involving a male from Earth and a character from another world where their pronouns are not the same as ours because they are very different than we are. Choosing said pronouns has been a unique adventure. I started with the Gender Neutral Pronouns blog, but having so many sets to choose from? Frightening. Plus, their gender neutrality? Not quite. Each new set sounded odd because some of them sounded more masculine and others more feminine. For instance:
He/She Him/Her His/Hers Himself/Herself
Ne Nem Nirs Nemself
Ve Ver Vis Verself
Ze Zir Zirs Zirself
Xe Xem Xyrs Xemself
See what I mean? In one set of pronouns, some of them sound more masculine and some more feminine. Not that I can imagine how to change that. Especially if we want people to get used to it within any circumstance.
So I ended up taking the Xe set and reworking it a little so that it fits better. Though I’m not sure I will use that one in the end. I have a document of words used, including pronouns, so I can easily do a find/replace if needed. For one thing, the X is pronounced like a z, so it might end up Ze, Zem, Zys, and Zemself.
Of course there’s also the concept that once I finish it, that publishers won’t want to allow the new set of pronouns because people won’t get them. But I consider them part of the world building. After all, there are several words, ways of doing things, and unique concepts that belong totally on this unique little planet. Why not pronouns too?
What’s your biggest world building issue in one of the books you write? Or read?
And if you built something like a set of pronouns for your characters and made it work,I would love to hear how you did it to make sure I’m on the right track.