Where It Came From and How I Used It

As most of you know, I’ve decided to do the rewrites on The Changeling for NaNoWriMo. A lot of the elements I have in it right now can be removed and used for later books in the series (yes, it will be a series). My goal over the month of November is to remove those elements and create a more solid story that doesn’t have a wandering plot. One of the most useful things I learned drafting this book for NaNo 2011 is that I am not at all a pantser, lol 😉

I’ve talked about how the idea came to me in a dream, but I haven’t talked much about how I developed the back story, especially for the creature (changeling). First things first; for those who haven’t stopped by My Writing to see what it’s all about, here’s the blurb for it:

Amanda saw her older sister die. When she starts claiming a creature from the forest was at fault, her parents send her to a mental institution. Five years later, when she is released, she is determined to get her life back to normal. Aside from a few bullies at school, things seem to be on track. Until she discovers that her sister was not the only kid to have died so suddenly. With the help of her friend and a boy she just can’t keep away from, she goes in search of the truth and discovers the world outside of the hospital is a lot crazier than inside.

The creature in my dream wasn’t clear, so I had to start from scratch on that. I decided that it would be an unknown. Something no normal person would ever have heard of. The first thing that came to mind was some sort of hellhound, but what would it look like? Three heads like Cerberus was out of the question, but I wanted to keep it in the realm of myth. I had just gotten done reading the first four books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and fell in love with the idea of a warg. I needed more than that though. So I followed the Wikipedia links until I found Fenrir.

Fenrir’s multiple names translate to “monstrous wolf.” He is the son of Loki, the Norse god of mischief, who was known to be a changeling (I’ll talk more on how I use one of his forms in a bit).

BAM!

What if I mixed the myth a bit and created a new creature that is both wolf AND boar?

I decided to keep with the Norse mythology for the origins and creation of the creature as well as the only group of people who know about the changeling. Of course, this group has a name for themselves, and I decided to mix Norse with Irish lore and came up with Vetteri Sidhe. Loosely translated, it means “forest elf that lives in the hills.”

Vetteri comes from the Finnish word Vättern, or, more specifically, the archaic term vätter, meaning forest or lake spirit. (Vättern is the name of a lake in Sweden.) I took liberties with the name because I needed something that would work, use some of the mythology, and yet still be specific to the world I created.

Aes Sidhe is Gaelic for creatures like fairies or elves and is pronounced [ays shee-uh]. Used in a lot of fairy or elf based paranormal novels*, they are most often referred to as just Sidhe [shee].

I decided to make the Norse mythology’s creation a result of the ancient clans of Vetteri Sidhe. Here is a direct quote from my notes:

Loki, the Norse god of chaos, is actually named after the old women of Vetteri Sidhe, the Lokins. One of the shapes Loki is said to take is that of an old woman, but the Lokins are a wise council to the tribe and do not thrive on chaos (though it is not wise to cross them).

An extra note; in the world I created, the reason Loki is known as the god of chaos is because of a spell cast by the ancient Lokins of the tribe. I won’t give you all the details (you’ll have to read the book for that;-)), but chaos ensued.

Anyways, that’s a little bit of the world that I’ve created in The Changeling. I’m excited about getting the rewrites done. I really enjoyed creating the story and would love to someday share it with others=) Oh! And I created a mock-up of the cover. This is so not official. I did it for fun=)

(Cover image by BartNJ on flickr.com via CC)

*The books I can think of off the top of my head that use the Sidhe spelling for their stories are the Hayle Coven Novels (YA) by Patti Larsen and The Fever Series (Adult) by Karen Marie Moning.

About Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of NA and Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble an eight and six year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz and a German Shepherd/Boxer rescue named Charlie. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's screaming at characters on TV and trying not to curse around her kids.
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4 Responses to Where It Came From and How I Used It

  1. Marla says:

    That is an amazing world you have created. I’m so excited to read Changeling now! Any tips on effective researching since I’m struggling with that for Dark Heritage. I know my MC and another boy are descended from the ancient Druids. I’ve created a s small town in Idaho, that functions as a mini Ireland (those of Irish descent are drawn to this place for some reason-not sure why yet). The bad guy is immortal, a Druid who decided to use twisted magic to grant himself a painful eternal life. Anyways, my struggle is I have never spoken Irish/Gaelic. Nor have I ever been to Ireland and thus have no clue what I’m doing. Ahh! Where did you go for you information? Good luck with NaNo project. Sorry for the long comment.

    • The easiest route to take is anything you can find on the internet. Wikipedia is a popular choice, but be sure to double check the resources they have listed. Also, try the Library of Congress online. They have a lot of out of print books that you can download without worrying about copyright law. From there, go to your local library and see what they have in their resources section. I’m sure a librarian would be able to help you find what you’re looking for 🙂 From there, you use what you want where you want and even change a few things around if you want. =) Using Druids sounds like a fun idea! Goodluck!

  2. Very cool. I love mixing in old myths with my writing. Do you often get inspiration through your dreams? I get a lot. I’m a vivid dreamer, and I dream a lot about monsters and haunted houses. Battling the inner demons, so they say!

    • I must say, this was the first one! I knew it would be a cool story even IN my dream, lol=)
      Although, I did have this dream that scared the bujeezus out of me and I’ve been thinking of turning into a story. Haven’t decided yet though :-/

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