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Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Jemima (IP Logged)
Date: March 29, 2015 10:41AM

I'm a Swedish writer and science teacher, and right now I'm working on a novel in which a Chinese boy is one of the main characters. The story takes place in a place far away, where this boy -- among with lots of others -- are living in a refugee camp.

Since I want my story to be realistic and since Chinese culture and language are different from mine, I’m afraid of making too many mistakes.
Could anyone help me? It would be greatly appreciated if you would!


1. I have read a lot about Chinese naming traditions but being a foreigner I’m afraid my names will seem strange…
I named my main character Huang JinHai and he is 18 years old. Because they are living in a refugee camp with not much to do, the parents have several children (I know they usually don’t in China, but they don’t live there so…)

The story is set in the future, about 35 years from now. The people in the refugee camp were all farmers/peasants etc and the reason they had to flee was a natural disaster due to climate change in the future…

Here are the names of my main character’s family:
My main character, 18 years old: Huang JinHai 黄金海
Father, born year 2002: Huang BoHai 黄薄海
Mother, born year 2005 or so: Feng JiaLi 丰佳李
Young brother: Huang JinXing 黄金星
Young brother: Huang JinHang 黄金航
Young sister: Huang Jinfeng 黄金风
Young sister: Huang JinYun 黄金云
Youngest sister: Huang JinJin 黄金金

The sky/space theme of the name is intentional.
What do you think, will those names work? smiling smiley

2. Regarding relationships…
JinHai meets a girl whom he at first thinks is a couple of years younger than him, but later he learns that she is about 2 years older than him.
Would he treat her differently at first, when he though she was younger? If so, how?

3. I’ve heard it’s a bit more strict in China when it comes to dating… How much experience with girls can an 18-year-old boy have? He is quite good looking. Could he have kissed girls, in school for example? Could he have done more than kissing? Would it be considered bad/wrong if he were alone with a girl? Even if it is considered wrong, is it common that couples are intimate with someone before marriage?

4. In my story Chinese space scientists discover a new, inhabitable planet that they name Taoyuan (which I hope means Utopia…). They explore it with an unmanned spacecraft that is called Hangtian (which I hope mean space ship). Later they travel to the planet with a spaceship called Hangtansuo (which I hope mean space explorer).
Are those names realistic? Do the names mean what I intended?

I’ll probably have more questions later. smiling smiley
Thanks in advance!

Re: Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Cureyourheart (IP Logged)
Date: April 01, 2015 10:14AM
Hello, there. How are you?
First of all, I would like to introduce myself before I start.
I am a Chinese, if you like you could address me "Frank".
I read your post and I totally understand your the problem which you are facing.
In fact, I found it difficult on naming my foreign characters and writing their speech like you sometimes. What I am going to say is please feel free to ask me questions. I would like to give you a hand on your writings.

Okay, let's move on our topic. Question 1
Well, to talk about the names of your characters. Don't worry, They are great. Haha.
Um, talking about the name of their mother Feng JiaLi 丰佳李. To speck frankly,"Feng 丰" is not a popular family name in China(At least, I have never heard it.)but I am not saying that it does not exist, I have already checked it. On the other hand, if there have three words in our names, we usually separate them individually in English form as Feng Jia Li for exmaple. Overall, you did a great job and I really like your story background. A story which was happening in refugee camp, I believe that would be a extremely touchable story. To be honest, I am really looking forward to read more about it. smiling smiley

Move on Question 2,
Well, don't worry. You can writing anything you want. You know, Love is something that exist when human being have created by God or whatever at the beginning, thus there has no difference between any races, I believe. No offensive, it is my opinion. I beg your pardon if my words were offensive, I don't mean to do this.
Alright, if I am the boy( Have I already been falling in love with her at the first meeting?) Okay, I choose yes. I think I would treat her like my younger sister and no matter I finally found out that she was older than me. I wouldn't change my mind because I was younger than her. Of course, I would get shock when I knew it but the gap of age is not a problem for me. Moreover, when we are going to protect someone who we love, there has nothing will change our mind. Age is just a number, it means nothing in relationship. However, the parents of boy might mind about the girl age. You know, some traditional old Chinese people don't like their son having a relationship with a older girl. So, it depends on his parents, are they open-mind or not?

Question 3,
It is hard to say because I don't know when did the story start. Um, don't worry, please feel free develop your character. smiling smiley He could be a bad boy, a nice boy, or a boy who was bad until he has met her even. In my experience, Chinese playas could do everything badly like normal playas over the world. If he is quite good looking, then I believe he has kissed somebody. To talk About more than kiss, if he was a good teenage boy, he wouldn't not do anything more than kiss and hug because he would thought about the feeling of the girls and their future. I don't think a good 18 years old teenage boy would do more than that, it is my opinion. No, he wouldn't consider that it was embarrassing with a girl alone nowadays. Yes, if it happened in old China though.
"is it common that couples are intimate with someone before marriage?" In old China, yes. At present China, no. It's quite huge difference between present China and old China, so setting a right age of the story is very important.

Question 4,
Well done, I like the names of those space ships. Don't worry about the names of the space ships. Tao yuan is a gorgeous name. Hang tian which means flying on space. "Hangtansuo" um, I couldn't say it is wrong. In my opinion, "Hang tian tan suo zhe" would be better than "Hangtansuo" as the meaning of space explorer.

Wow, it sounds interesting that they travel somewhere with a spaceship. I am confusing on the story background. A refugee camp and space ships. I guess it is a story which is happening in future? Are they living in earth? Is it the planet abandoned by human being? Are they like the Adam and Eve who save the earth or something? Sorry, I am starting to make the story. Hahaha. I hope I could read more about your story.

Please feel free to answer me questions, if there's anything I can help.

Have a nice day.
Best wishes,

Re: Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Jemima (IP Logged)
Date: April 04, 2015 02:15AM
I tried to reply but it didn't work...

I try again.
Thanks a lot for your reply, Frank.

I'm not sure about the space ship's name, do you know a more fanciful name perhaps? Like the name of an ancient Chinese hero or something? That would be a great space ship name. smiling smiley

Re: Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Jemima (IP Logged)
Date: April 04, 2015 02:38AM
Today's Chinese space ships are named Shenzhou (meaning "spirit/God-boat"?), the full name is 神舟号飞船.
I thought maybe a future space ship would be named after some ancient Chinese hero or so... and I thought about Sima Qian (司马迁) an astrologer of old times who made the lunar calendar or something. There is already a planet named after him, but maybe they would name a space ship after him too?

Re: Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Cureyourheart (IP Logged)
Date: April 06, 2015 11:21AM
Hello, hi there. How is doing? Jemima. Um, yeah, I have a idea. A name of a Chinese Goddess. []. Here is the story. I believe you would like it. I think it's a romantic story and it might fit on your story I guess. Space is the river for both of them, right? Haha. Sorry, I am a little bit busy this days but I am still looking forward to hear you.
Have a nice day.

Re: Help me with my book... plz. smiling smiley
Posted by: Jemima (IP Logged)
Date: April 11, 2015 01:50PM
Thank you! A beautiful story! And great name for a ship. I'll choose 織女. smiling smiley

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