Cinuint: What the Heck is that, Anyway? #blogging #atozchallenge #writing

I swear, I am not cheating by starting my C day post with what you probably think is some sort of strange gibberish or made up word. Cinuint is a word, just not an English one, or well, one of this world–this reality.

I did sort of borrow it from an Irish Gaelic dictionary, though, so it is a real word — just not one I spelled correctly 😛

Cinniúint= Destiny (Irish Gaelic)

This brings me to my little topic for the day.

I have always preferred to play off real languages and socities when sketching out my fantasy worlds and cultures. I enjoy twisting the common and better known into something unique, while still keeping a taste of the original. My whole Machenwood novel series is proof of that– is my twist on the well known fairy tales, legends, and myths we have all grown up with.

But, what exactly IS a Cinuint? We have established the origin, but not it’s new “revised” meaning. A Cinuint, for my purposes is a quest embarked upon by every Etherian (one of the many races of people in Machenwood) who comes of age. Their Cinuint is their “coming of age”. The reward for successful completion of their Cinuint, is a glimpse at their own destiny.

To illustrate a bit, I thought I would give you a few sentences of my WIP where this theme comes into play:

“What time does Myrna expect you at the Hall?” her mother asked as she set a skillet on the cast iron stove.

Just the mention of the High Priestesses’ name sent a fresh batch of jitters through Jyslin’s limbs. She checked the clock on the far wall. “In about thirty minutes.” Releasing a sigh, she set down her half full mug. The legs of her stool scraped across the floorboards as she pushed to her feet. “I should get going, actually. If I’m even a minute late, she’ll have my head, and I still need to collect Angus from the Keeper before heading to the temple.”

Angus, a Frost Owl, and Jyslin’s Spirit Twin would make the Cinuint journey with her. She’d been separated from Angus for her final year of instruction, and she was anxious to see him again.

Mother left the stove and gathered her daughter in her arms, squeezing tight. “No matter what happens on your Cinuint, know that your father and I love you very much. We are so proud of the young woman you’ve become.”

No matter what happens?

Why would her mother say that? Did she know something Jyslin didn’t?

I really think using variations of our own cultures and languages in creating our fantastical worlds really helps the reader connect with the characters we conjure to live in them.

What do you think?

What tricks and processes do you employ when forming your fantasy races and realms? I am always interested in how other writers tackle the same challenges.


About Rebecca Hart

Im a single parent of three and a published author of romance in all sorts of sub-genres. A full time IT geek, Managing Editor of Roane Publishing, cover artist and a reformed gaming addict -- I live to write fantasy peppered with a dash of romantic nonsense :P Addicted to all things pirates, penguins, Johnny Depp and rum. Follow me on Twitter: @Rebelhart69

Posted on April 3, 2012, in A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012, Blogging, General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks, I use Gaelic in my book and use the words “revise” to fit my needs. Nice to read about how you do it.

    A to Z challenge visitor.

  2. Great post! Although I’ve never written my own fantasy (save for some fanfiction which didn’t require much world-building of my own), I do think that you can draw a lot of inspiration from existing legends and practices from existing and ancient cultures. Even Tolkien borrowed from Nordic mythology in naming his places, like Middle Earth (Midgaard).

  3. I am not a fiction or fantasy writer BUT i do love to read as many genres as possible. i would say that the use of an exclusive language makes the fantasy or story that much more immersive and for the reader..

    look forward to reading more 🙂

    And good luck with the rest of the challenge!

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