Apr 27, 2012

A to Z - Xenophile

I spent entirely too much time trying to come up with this topic, scrolling through the x's on dictionary.com, hoping to find just the right word.

Xenophile is a person who is attracted to foreign peoples, cultures or customs. That's one of the best things a writer can be because it allows us to better understand the universal nature of people.  

And it makes incredible opportunities for world building.  Because, I'm not sure if you are like me, but the setting of my book isn't where I live.  And some of my favorite places in books are completely made up, but they have enough of a similarity to places that exist, even in the ultra fantasy or sci/fi lands, that we can identify.  

Think about some of the best world builders - George Lucas.  Take just a moment to think about the different cultures he presents in his saga.  Even when they look really bizarre, feel strange and unfamiliar, people are still drawn to them because of the feeling of familiarity amid the strange.  

That is what we need to create in our works, whether it's contemporary or speculative or non-fiction.  And it is a skill best honed by paying attention to other cultures.

Do you like to study cultures?  Addicted to documentaries that depict life in different places?


16 comments :

loverofwords said...

Yes, yes, and yes. Wish I could travel more. My sister has been to Morocco three times. I am thinking about it. . . .

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just came from someone who posted on xenophobia, so nice to see the opposite view. I don't study other cultures, but after living in several foreign countries, I appreciate them a lot more.

Joshua said...

I suppose I do have some xenophile tendencies. Well, one culture more than others. I supposed that makes me a Francophile.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm a xenophile too! Especially for Asian cultures.

Angela Cothran said...

Very cool. I had no idea what xenophile was. I'm into moderate world building. I hate when it overshadows the plot of a story. I do love when the essence of a setting infuses its self into a story.

Carrie-Anne said...

Quite a few of my books and storylines have been set outside the United States—Russia, Estonia, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Hungary, France, Israel, Australia, England, Sweden, and a few other places. I actually used the word xenophilic at the first-night Seder I went to this year, during an impromptu song when we went through the alphabet on each verse to describe an attribute of God.

Danielle B. said...

Xenophile is why I wrote about Sweden, a place I've never been to. Gosh I'm learning a lot of new words and ideas today!

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, Tasha! I'm fascinated by other cultures. There's so many different wonderful people to meet and new things to learn and delicious things to eat! We live in a dazzling world, and I wish more people would understand that.

Have a lovely weekend and happy A to Z!!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I really like learning about ancient cultures.

Nicole said...

Great X post! I love learning about all different kinds of cultures. It's so fascinating.

Cassie Mae said...

is nerdiness a culture?

Clarissa Draper said...

I love different cultures! When people use different cultures in novels, it adds so much. George Lucas was a master.

Cassie Mae said...

I was using that navigation button and it brought me here! So I thought I'd comment again, lol. :D

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Tasha! Interesting post for the letter X.

michelle said...

Wonderful post...
In my country there's been a spate of xenophobic attacks within the last few months... thank goodness they seem to have died down...

Simon Kewin said...

I do. XenophilIa is a good trait to have - and a great word.