Today is the 15th day of NaNoWriMo (halfway!), current wordcount is 22,323. Yes, I'm a bit behind.
I'm doing another research post today to let you in on some of the cool ways I've been thinking about my world. My Neif are placed (rather poorly) in a swamp somewhere in the southeastern portion of the US.
While this creates obvious water/temperature problems for them, as people made out of sugar, it also means they come into contact with an amazing array of plant and animal life. (If the sugar thing is throwing you, you can check out my earlier research post about some of the science behind the magic of the Neif here.)
I found a really great site, http://www.wild-lab.com/, which was developed by the Audubon Nature Institute and is used as an educational tool for fifth through seventh graders about Louisiana wetlands. If you click "Go Through Curriculum As Guest" you can still access all the information without having a login. Very educational, and there are mini-games at the end of each level. Nice.
If you just search "wetlands" on your favorite search engine, you will get lots of information about how wetlands are a vital part of flood prevention and filter runoff so that fertilizer and other chemicals don't get shunted directly to rivers and, by extension, oceans, causing algal blooms. While this is fascinating, it doesn't have a lot of impact on my plot.
Meet the American Swallow-tailed Kite.
|Sunnys Wildlife Sounds|
That's the only animal that really has anything specific to do with my story, but there are all kinds of other animals in the swamp lands. It would feel wrong to talk about a swamp without mentioning the American alligator, or any of the number of turtles, fish, snakes, lizards, frogs, or salamanders that are prevalent in that habitat. There are lots of mammals: bears, raccoons, cougars, otters, foxes, rats, skunks, and the invasive nutria. And there are hundreds of different insects. As you might guess, with an entire village made of sugar, they are the biggest problem. Archer has a few words for us on that.
The animal and insect life, while the most interactive, really only play a small part in the story. The plant life in a swamp is what the Neif use as building materials, supplemented with whatever garbage they find washed into the swamp. Swamps are typically waterlogged, and only specialized plants can grow there that need little to no air around their roots. Cypress and Tupelo-gum are the most common trees. Spanish moss grows in the trees, and most of the smaller plants that grow on the ground (in the water) are emergent reeds and lilies.
It wouldn't be near as much fun to say straight out in-world what everything is. That would make it way too obvious! While plants will be referred to by their general names, the animals will be referred to by terms the Neif have given them. If you decide to read this story, be on the lookout for these incognito beasts, and see if you can decipher their true identities.