A Tuyo World Companion

Okay, so, when I said I was thinking of adding notes about the world of Tuyo on the series page, Sandstone (@quartzen on Twitter) pointed out that some authors put out a World Companion type of book, with notes about the world and characters, maybe a couple interviews with the author, plus a story or two that aren’t available anywhere else.

Whoa, I said. That is a fantastic idea, I said.

So, I still think it’s a good idea to put general world notes and a clickable list of characters — maybe one by novel, one by country, and one strictly alphabetical, or something — on the series page. But there is a pretty good chance I will put more extensive notes and other material, plus a story or two, into an actual World Companion, and publish that.

Naturally I have been working on that off and on because what else have I got going on, right? Actually, making alphabetical lists of characters has been about my speed now and again, when I’m distracted or tired or just don’t want to work on other things. Some characters get a brief but clear description, such as:

Rakasa inGeiro: son of Naroya, the inGeiro warleader, and Lutra, an inGeiro singer. We first meet Rakasa and his partner Bara in TUYO; they appear again in TARASHANA.

Other characters get spoiler-free comments, such as:

Harapta: A Lakasha man with a complicated backstory.

That’s so that people can in theory flip through the World Companion after reading TUYO, without being seriously spoiled for any of the other books.

But I’m also writing up notes about time and measurement, and just general notes about each of the peoples that we’ve met so far. The inGara vs the taiGara, for example; and the completely different meaning of Lakasha-erra vs Lakasha-asei. Stuff like that. The different kinds of wives and widows in Lau society. All that kind of thing.

I’m also writing a section on “interview questions” that I think might let me address the sorts of questions that readers might have. But I’m not telepathic, so hey! If there are any questions any of you would like to see answered, toss ’em my way. I will be quite interested to see what people ask, so please don’t hesitate.

And yes, I have started what should be a shortish story, hopefully around 15,000 words (fifty pages), which can be included in a book like this. It’s the story in which Garoyo returns Hokino’s knife to him, so it takes place during the warm season after TARASHANA. I had trouble starting it at first until I realized it should be from Arayo’s point of view. THEN I had trouble because I started it in first person, realized that probably it ought to be in third, and had to rework the narrative.

That story isn’t moving especially fast, not like TANO, but I think it will most likely get written. Arayo is fairly clear to me and I believe I have a reasonably clear idea of the plot, plus a crucial late scene. Tano and Raga are secondary characters in this story, along with Garoyo and Hokino, of course.

Hopefully this story will move ahead but cooperatively finish at about 50 pages. I most certainly do not intend to let it turn into a 400-page novel.

Ideally I would like to actually finish this project and bring it out before TASMAKAT, but no promises. Pretty sure I can get the world notes linked from the series page by that time, though.

Anyway, I would welcome suggestions for material that you might like to see in a book like this.

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16 thoughts on “A Tuyo World Companion”

  1. Kathryn McConaughy


    I’m teaching a course on Death and the Afterlife for my college kids at the moment and actually used the Ugaro practice as a conversation starter. What kinds of death/afterlife beliefs do the Lau have?

  2. Do these strips of land continue far past the kingdoms in these series, or is it an ocean to ocean kind of deal, with just one empire for the sun lands?

    Are there more lands above or below these, beyond the 4 we’ve seen?

  3. Kathryn, we get some mention of the Lau beliefs here and there. There’s a conversation in TARASHANA about Lau being expected to make their way to a place of judgment, with those who are too afraid to go to that place being stuck as spirits at the ossuary. That’s why ossuaries are very bad luck for Lau, so different from Ugaro tombs.

    Maps, ideally yes, but realistically maybe no. I don’t know how to do maps and don’t know that I want to take time to learn.

    Sarah, there’s more description in the World Companion, but we know of six strips: the sunless sea, the starlit lands, the winter country, the summer county, the country of sand, and a mysterious land south of the sand. The … ribbon … stretches out far beyond any one empire or Elaro couldn’t have traveled for thirteen years from east to west, plus his father and grandfather before him. Other barriers may make sideways travel difficult, but we have heard of only two such barriers so far.

  4. I think this is a great idea, as long as it does not take time away from other stuff.

  5. Definitely flat, Sarah.

    Everything takes time away from everything else, that’s kinda intrinsic to doing anything at all, but it’s more like writing blog posts than fiction and occupies different space in my mind and day. Except for the story about Hokino’s knife, of course.

  6. I am 100% serious about this: I would gladly join a crowdfund to get a map professionally done. Maybe by someone like Charis Loke, who’s done very stylized work that could work well for Tuyo? https://www.charisloke.com/

    (Also I’m hoping for a glossary of important terms in each language, especially Lakasha suffixes. And I would love explanations of differences in material culture, like food, dress, etc. Ethnologists essays! Advice from a Ugaro mother to her daughter who’s going on a trading trip to the border country! Recipes for Lau lentil stew!!)

  7. Good Lord, Mary Beth, keep that up. Those are all great ideas. I was already doing the glossary of terms, and thinking about material culture, but I would NEVER have thought of advice to a daughter or recipes!

    Thank you for the map suggestion. I’ll have to check that out.

  8. I agree it would be nice to see lits ethnographic info. Yes also to maps, it would really help me get more into the world. Even if they are just homedrawn sketches.

    Maybe also some deep history. Have the Lao and Ugaro societies always had the same structure they do now? Do they have memories of being organized differently in the past, and how (and why) they evolved? Any creation myths?

    In Suelen, we get a mention of treatises written by Ketharathi Lady Pasolaun. I am curious how these scholarly writtings are organized and disseminated among the other Lao scholars. Perhaps we could get some of this extra worldbuilding information in the format of the bibliography of an important Lao scholar, with abstracts of some of her most influential works. Or a recent edition of a circulating journal.

  9. My interview question: I noticed that all the POV characters in this series so far are male. Is there a reason for this? Do you intend to write future books in this series from a female POV, or will you continue with this theme?

    Related question: How are Ugaro stories different when a woman tells them? Can you share an example of a story we’ve seen already, but told again from the female perspective?

  10. Melanie, got your first one already. I’ll just say briefly that the answers are Not Really, and Probably.

    That’s a fun idea, to tell a story both as Ryo told it in one or another book, AND the same story as a woman might tell it.

    I doubt I’ll do a deep dive into history, on the grounds that I would have to figure out too much stuff. Creation myths is an interesting notion, particularly as the word “myth” may not apply. Remember that when Ryo tells the story of why Ugaro considers wolves cousins, he says firmly that something like that did happen. He is probably right!

    I like the idea of presenting something that Lady Pasolaun might have written, in the academic style of the summer country’s natural history.

  11. Everything that’s been suggested here sounds like fun to me.

    Maybe reading your puppy update sent my thoughts this direction, but I’d like to know more about the Ugaro sled dogs. They’ve been mentioned in passing, but I don’t remember any attention at the individual dog level, the way we’ve gotten comments about some of the ponies. Is breeding/training them its own craft?

  12. Oh, I would love to discuss the dogs in more detail! They are similar to Samoyeds — in fact, I bet they do some herding as well as hunting and pulling, much like Samoyeds, which are the most all-purpose spitz breed. Most Ugaro dogs are white or cream with biscuit markings, like Samoyeds, but a few have the bright red-gold color of Finnish Spitz because I love that color, so why not.

    Now I really want to write a story in which a dog is featured! I’m going to have that in the back of my mind now, probably, so it may well happen.

  13. Oooh, I love this idea.

    – How sharp is the transition in weather at the river? I can’t figure out if it’s a continuous (but fast) transition or if there’s an invisible line you cross and there’s a discontinuity. Would it ever happen that the northern half of the river freezes and the southern half doesn’t?

    – Ugaro are shorter and stockier than Lau, but I’d like actual numbers (or images) on average sizes.

    – What exactly are people doing with their hair and clothes? Are Lau clothes mostly draped or do they have seams?

    – What color dyes do they have access to? What fibers are they using? Does anybody know how to knit or are they just weaving (or do they have sprang)? Presumably the Lau have stationary looms while the Ugaro would need portable backstrap looms, which means the Lau can make larger bolts of cloth – is there are a lot of trade back and forth (the Ugaro have muskox so they have qiviut…)?

    – What kind of metal working technology is going on?

    – I would love to have a complete example of a story told by an Ugaro poet.

    – Like other commenters, I would also like more detail on the lives of women. Also Lau children! With Tano, I feel like I’ve now got a decent idea of what an Ugaro childhood is like but I’m still vague on the Lau kids.

    – More architecture! I think I am picturing the Ugaro tents fairly correctly, but I don’t really know what Lau buildings look like.

    – More information on decorative arts in general – it doesn’t sound like the Ugaro have any full time visual artists (or do they?) but do the Lau? What sort of motifs and styles show up in their art? Which objects get decorated and how much?

    Also, I would absolutely love if this book came with some illustrations (actually, what I’d really love is to do the illustrations for it, but you would probably want someone with more professional experience than me if you went that route).

  14. Elise, you get more about architecture in TASMAKAT, including at least a few details about design and decoration. More about clothing as well, though maybe not as many details as you might want! The Ugaro use wool from their shaggy Highland-type cattle, and furs and leather. They can trade for cloth and dyes as well. The Lau use a lot of linen and also some wool, but they trade for silk, which is produced largely by the Lakasha-erra.

    I’m pretty sure magic is used to help work steel, but I may never show that so I may not need to decide.

    There’s a sharp discontinuity as you cross from one land to another, but just as people and animals can move through the boundary, so does wind, water, and sunlight. You therefore don’t get the river freezing just on one side. For a while the ice will be thicker on the northern side, but water conducts temperature twenty times better than air and so the river will freeze all the way across despite the much warmer air temperature on the southern side of the discontinuity. Because of the movement of wind and sunlight, the borderlands are much cooler and moister on the southern side than the summer country in general; and ditto for the northern side, which is warmer than the winter country in general.

    But when Ryo thinks that the air suddenly cools or warms when he crosses the river, that is the moment at which he passes through the discontinuity.

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