For almost 3 years I have been building my Elphame Universe and in the last couple of weeks, I have been having this feeling that my Universe is unintentionally too… I am going to say European. Or at least appeared to be based too heavily on European folklore— which it is, and it isn’t.
I was so focused on trying to make the races different from how we traditionally told stories about them that I didn’t stop and think maybe then be using other lore as my guide. The most prominent example of this is the Fae.
In my stories I see the Fae as an advanced race, they make mistakes, they are constantly questioning their own ethics and morality, but they are also in a way the older aunty or uncle that you would go to for help and advice. They care about life and want to guide you to make good choices.
That doesn’t sound like any Fae I have read either in modern or historical literature. The Fae are either portrayed in a benevolent light, or as tricksters, power-hungry, bargain makers, cruel and bloodthirsty.
It got me thinking of the other Fae or Fae-like creatures in other histories such as Jin, the Peri (or Pari Pari in Malaysia), or the Johan. The Peri had closer ties to the being I was looking to create but not quite.
Right now I am throwing up two ideas.
- To simply change the name of the Fae to Pari and look to the Persian, Arabic and Malay folklore more to build out their identity as a race more, or
- To create find another mythical being which better suites the qualities that my Fae race currently embody.
I haven’t quite decided yet which way I will go. Considering I am currently querying my books I either need to make a decision fast or (fingers crossed) if I get an agent explore the idea with them.
Thankfully in my current book the Fae play only a very small role for the most part I believe it will only be a name change rather than extensive changes to the book. But I am working on a second standalone in this universe for Nano and if I am going to change the Fae race I would like to do it now rather than in draft 3 or 4 while the story is still new and exciting.