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The Chronotrace Sequence Glossary

chronotrace sequence glossary

With the upcoming release of Ascent of the Nebula on February 9th, I recently updated the Chronotrace Sequence Glossary on my downloads page with terms from all three books. And today I’d like to give you a little behind the scenes look at how some of these words made their way into the series.

I consider the inventing of new words one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer. And science fiction is so conducive to this sort of jargon juggling, but early feedback from those who read the first drafts of Into the Vast was that there was a lot of unique and, yes, confusing, terminology used in the story. And so to alleviate that problem I began compiling a glossary to catalog most of the unfamiliar terms. And since the book has been published I’ve heard that readers have found it tremendously helpful in navigating the technologically advanced world of The Chronotrace Sequence.

So with that by way of introduction, let’s dive right in and take a look at where some of the words from the glossary came from.

Werin \WAIR-in\:

Name used by the Welkin to refer to all people, whether Welkin or Waymen. The Welkin believe that the Waymen and Welkin are simply two groups of the same people, but most Waymen do not share this view.

Okay, we actually have several words to unpack in this first one. All three of these refer to the primitive people that live in the desert wastelands of the series. I’ve actually talked about the word welkin before, but it is an antiquated word for “sky” or “heaven”. The Welkin are, above all, people of faith, so I wanted to use a word that would have overtones of that.

The Waymen are sort of the antithesis of the Welkin, savage raiders who are all about survival and controlling the desert. Their name is a shortened version of “highwayman”, that good old-fashioned word once used for robbers and thieves who attacked people out on the open road.

And finally, the word Werin itself is the Welsh word for “folk” or alternately “peasant”. As the definition says, this word refers to the Welkin and the Waymen collectively, basically anyone who is native to the desert lands.

Mosh \MAHSH\:

A lumpy paste eaten by Werin, made from sere powder mixed with water.

Mosh is a grain based food eaten for breakfast in Latin American countriesI happen to be fluent in Spanish and spent a couple of years living in Central America. In fact, it was during that time that I came up with the initial seeds of the story which would later become Into the VastI may share more about that in the future, but for now, what you need to know is that this particular word is one which I did not make up. Mosh is the name of an actual food eaten in Latin America.

It’s similar to Cream of Wheat here in the United States and in fact Quaker, the company most famous for its oatmeal, sells mosh in Hispanic countries, though I’ve only ever eaten the homemade kind. Sometimes rice is used instead of wheat or oats and it generally has a bit of cinnamon dolloped in as well. It’s quite tasty and makes for a warm and hearty breakfast.

Of course actual mosh is not made from sere powder. That’s something I made up. In the world of The Chronotrace Sequence oddly enough there is no vegetation whatsoever. So how do people eat? They get their food from rocks. Sounds strange, but if you think about it, have you ever eaten a food that was advertised as “high in vitamins and minerals?” Well where do you think all this minerals come from? They were once in rocks! Anyway, sere is a word which means, “dry or withered” and usually refers to vegetation. Except here it is just a powdered form of rock which, when mixed with water, makes a delicious Werin meal.

Atol \ah-TOHL\:

Hot, grainy drink consumed by the Werin.

atol is a grain based drink served in Latin AmericaNo this is not a type of coral reef. This is another type of food. And this one, like mosh, is another item from Latin America where it’s also spelled “atole.” It’s a little like drinking mosh or cream of wheat but with a whole lot more water added to make such a feat possible.

Are you starting to see a trend with the Spanish words? Many of the words from the Werin language are really just Spanish. For instance, “Aldea” the name of the village where some of the Welkin live is Spanish for “village”, and “ishto”, the word used to refer to Welkin children is Spanish slang for “kid” or (less kindly) “brat”. You’ll find several other words in the novels taken from Spanish if you know what to look for.

Bismine \BIZ-mahyn\:

Yellowish crystals which absorb light and produce inordinate amounts of energy for their size. This is the main power source for all Oasis technology.

Oasis, for those of you who haven’t read the novels, is the city where the series begins and where much of the first novel, Into the Vast takes place. I knew that in the future people would not be using something primitive like fossil fuels or solar energy to power their cities, so I thought I would make up something new.

Citrine crystalsThis word is a particular favorite of mine because its inspiration actually comes from The Chronicles of Narnia, of all places, The Silver Chair to be specific. Wait, what? The Chronicles of Narnia inspiring a science fiction book? Strange things can happen when you write in the genre of imagination.

You see, in Silver Chair the heroes are searching for the lost Prince Rillian. In their quest they are drawn down into the underland where they eventually encounter the gnomes of Bism. And so, as a tip of the authorial hat, I decided to call these energy infused rocks bismine. Their appearance would be something akin to the citrine pictured above, but more glowy.

Of the making of words there is no end

There are lots more words in the glossary that I could talk about. The glossary is a full six pages long in The Ascent of the NebulaBut hopefully that gives you a few interesting, “behind the scenes” tidbits about what goes into fleshing out a science fiction world like the one featured in The Chronotrace Sequence.

If you’ve read any of the books in this series were there any words that you particularly enjoyed? Or some that you wondered where they came from? Have you ever tried mosh or atol?

Until next time, may your vocabulary be ever increasing, whether with real words or invented ones.

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Comments (2)

  1. Jenelle February 3, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Ooh, super interesting! I need to look through your glossary while I re-read the first two books. I love new and made up words (one of the plus sides to reading fantasy and sci-fi), and I love hearing how other authors come up with their made up words or names for places and people.

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