I write about different fictional cultures, and I like that. I do use some ideas from real (Terran) life, as well as some ideas that I make up (or don’t realize come from real life). And I do research lots and lots of things. I find it fun, most of the time.
One of my story characters, Nia, comes from a culture with pretty loose family rules and infrequent marriage. She led me down a path of kinship research that was highly entertaining, except when I couldn’t find the right term for a kinship relationship. (After trying several exotic terms, I finally settled on the simpler “near-sibling” and “far-sibling” terms for some of her brothers and sisters.)
If you like dabbling in anthropology, here are some fun kinship articles for you.
An explanation of kinship terminology, and a glimpse at several different systems (how families are set up and who is considered related): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinship_terminology
Kinship terms (what relatives are called) in different languages. Click on each language to explore: http://www.omniglot.com/language/kinship/index.htm
The particular character I was telling you about has a highly complicated family due to her culture, so I had to draw a genogram to keep track of her family. It isn’t a standard genogram, because I didn’t bother with dotted lines, and I had to break some rules in order to get everything down. (If you can do better, let me know how, & I’ll adjust.) It does, however, allow me to know who’s who and how they’re related, as well as random facts I threw in for my own writing convenience.
But before you look at her family tree, here’s an explanation of genograms in general: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genogram
And a look at the rules used to create them: https://www.genopro.com/genogram/rules/
And now you can scroll back up to my current best attempt at Nia’s scrambled family tree. 🙂
M. C. Lee
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