That's me, on the left, as one of Her Majesty's Yeomen of the Guard. A weekend hobby. During the week, I work at a job, then come home to my beautiful wife and darling sons (one is full of boundless energy and a desire to see all the things, the other is full of curiosity and a desire to eat all the things). I write stories about magic.
One of the things I notice from reading unpublished authors’ fantasy novels is that we Americans don’t have a lot of grounding in the ranks of nobility. Kings, dukes, barons: they are more than fancy titles. They actually mean something.
A full treatise on the subject would occupy many pages. This is primer.
Emperor or Empress: rules an empire of kingdoms Caesar is the Roman term for their emperor, from which Czar and Kaiser descend.
King or Queen: rules a kingdom Mahajari or Maharani is the Indian high king or queen.
Archduke or archduchess: rules an archduchy, considered a monarch in his or her own right. Also Grand Duke or Grand Duchess, basically the same.
Crown Prince: is the acknowledged heir to the throne The Prince of Wales is England’s Crown Prince; the Dauphin is the Crown Prince of France.
Prince or Princess: the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of the king or queen Prince is also a generic term for any ruler, particularly amongst themselves.
Duke or Duchess: rules a duchy There are eleven dukes in the modern England.
Marchess or Marchioness: is a ruler of a land that borders another country. Also Margrave in Germany. The title originally designated a military commander tasked with defending a border.
Count or Countess: rules a county In England, they are called Earls. There are about thirty earls in England.
Viscount or Viscountess: is either the ruler of a viscounty or the descendent of deputy of a count The French use Vicomte. England has three viscounts. In some kingdoms, viscount is not hereditary.
Baron or Baroness: the lowest rank of nobility, barons rule a barony England has almost sixty barons. This is the bulk of any kingdom’s noble class.
Knights or Dames: this a granted title, not hereditary, that elevates someone into peerage Military prowess is the surest way to become a knight, but it can and is granted for other services. The King or Queen may delegate his or her ability to knight people or not. Lesser nobles got in trouble for knighting people all the time.
I have a few pieces I go to when I feel the weight of writing getting to me. It’s a tough job, to put to paper these dreams and visions, and to show them to a world that’s way too full of dreams and visions. They have so many to choose from that yours need to shine like the sun.
So, you may seen the Twitter post making it’s way around claiming there are rules about language we didn’t know we knew. It’s from the book, The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth.
Here is a BBC article on the viral post, and here is the paragraph in question:
Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.
Fantasy novels need rules. For fantasy, the big one is “How does magic work?”
That question literally supplied the plot of my first two novels. And the one I’m working on now.
Someone at Gizmodo has assembled a list for us: Rules of Magic.
The Coffee House Writers Group is a writers group in the Los Angeles area designed to support writers through critique groups, presentations, and social events. I go to their Wednesday Meetup in Long Beach, CA.