While working on the final book of The Rayne Trilogy, I found myself thinking about how far Rayne has come and how much she's changed.
For book one, I set out to create a new species of human, different than us physically, mentally, and with special abilities to boot. After researching Latin words for what I wanted to convey for their species, I decided to name them Homo praestans.
Define praestans: excellent, distinguished, imminent, superior, outstanding.
I wanted “their” opinion of us Homo sapiens to be exactly like what we think of the Neanderthals. The Homo praestans are the evolved, superior species, and we're…well…not.
To make Rayne's species the next stage in evolution, not only did I have to make them physically different…and smarter…I also couldn't have them talking like us. I thought about what they value and how they behave, and I knew their language had to fit. But how could I convey it? In my mind, there was only one way to do it.
Here’s a random fact about me: I studied Latin for four years, from 8th grade through junior year in high school.
As I was saying: Rayne's species is supposed to be super intelligent, ethical and proper, and as a result, they're also super stuffy. In book two, someone refers to her species as “a bunch of high-and-mighty, pretentious, know-it-alls with magical powers to boot.”
They can’t help but have their culture reflected in the way they talk. As such, the Homo praestans speak a language which is so close to Latin, it may as well be. To us it’s a dead language; to them it's the Superior Tongue, the quintessential language of intelligence.
Fun "fact": Homo sapiens didn’t invent Latin; one of the early Homo praestans did, who lived among us in secret. By the way, Aristotle, Da Vinci, Tolstoy, Mandela, Mother Teresa, and so many others belonged to this evolved species of human too...Well, not actually. I invented this “truth.” These early “Homo praestans” kept secret journals, passed forth from generation to generation. Hundreds—and in some cases, thousands—of years later, the Homo praestans continued to preserve these records of their ancestral species. (At least that’s the history I weaved for book one.)
When I was working on book two, I went back and forth about whether to tone down the dialog in book one to make it more relatable and less stodgy. Whenever I thought I would, I changed my mind. I always believed some would find it annoying, but I also knew it had to be done. After all, Rayne belongs to a different species. They’re not like us.
I should also point out that they despise the way we talk—we Sapiens. Ancients—except for those like Rayne. She loves our “ancient tongues.” In fact, she gets to dive into “the old tongue of English” in book two but discovers she’s not as fluent as she thought she was.
I feel I’m tiptoeing on book two spoilers, so I’ll just say that this debate I had over the dialog soon became a non-issue. I grew to view it as a like-it-or-hate-it sort of thing, because the fact is, it’s necessary.
At some point in book two, Rayne becomes fully immersed and accustomed to our Homo sapiens way of speaking English. All it took was a little nudging:
“It’s like you wanna talk more proper or something, but you keep stopping yourself. It’s kinda annoying at times…If you wanna talk more like us, just, I don’t know, relax your mouth more or…blend your words together or—whatever. Just don’t be so stiff, and don’t over-pronounce things.” -OuterSphere
For those who actually enjoyed the language of Luminescence, don’t worry. In book three, though Rayne chooses to think in the ancient tongue of English, she speaks plenty of the Standard with her fellow Homo praestans.
Now, on to books two and three!
Cheers…and may you find yourself delightfully lost in your next read…