Learning From Fiction

Have you ever done that thing, where you read a whole book series and by the end of it, you can go around quoting different characters and stuff?  I just mean–like being able to tell your grandpa the rules of Quiddetch, because you’ve read the rules from Harry Potter so many times by then?  (This is just an example.)  For Harry Potter, you might start remembering the different spells’ names and what they do–or potions/potion ingredients–or what the newest model of broom is, etc.  But that’s just Harry Potter.

There’s also The Lord Of The Rings (They took the Hobbits to Isengard) and Star Wars (Alderaan–is no more) and so on.  So basically what I’m saying is, is that by the end of a book series, you can pretty well remember even very little things from whatever fictional world that the book is set in.

But what about a world that is based off of a real one?  Or at the least, has real facts in it?  For an example, I’m going to use the popular ‘Warriors’ series, by Erin Hunter.

I’ve been reading Warriors for a good year or two by now.  I love it–I was hooked by it almost instantly.  It has battle scenes, forbidden love, mysterious dreams, and an awesome main character to boot. 🙂  But, after reading it for so long, I started being able to remember different things.  Simple things first–like which character is mouse-colored and which character is bracken-colored.  Or which character has which other character for his/her sibling (or mother, or father, or grandmother…  there are a lot of characters).  But then there were the Medicine Cats–the one cat (sometimes two, depending if that cat has an apprentice or not) who is a doctor to their Clan.

These cats use different herbs that they find for different sicknesses.  And it actually encouraged me to use herbs as cures in some of my own stories.  To do this, however, I had to look up herbs.  One of my characters in a story that I was writing caught a fever, and to cure him, I wanted to use an herb.  But I didn’t know which kind of herb, or what they all did.  So I researched herbs (from India, where the story was based) that would help take care of a fever.  And I ended up using Yarrow.


(If I remember correctly) if you soak in water that has Yarrow in it, than it should help.  But it can also be used as an herbal tea and probably other things to.

So, I made my character soak in a pool that had Yarrow in it–first there was the matter of making the main character go and find the Yarrow for him–but in my story it worked.

In Warriors, however, the cats eat Yarrow to make themselves throw up, if they’ve eaten something that they shouldn’t have.

I also have learned new words from Warriors, that I can use in my own writing.  The more I write, the more I notice new words, and the more I look them up to understand them better.  That way, I’m less likely to use the wrong word later on.  A word that comes to mind right now is ‘convulsed’, which I learned from Warriors.

And it’s not just words from the one book series of course.  There are also shows.

Often times, when I’m watching Transformers, I’ll hear a new word and end up pausing my show to look it up.  Here are some…

1.  Comlink (which I think is short for Commercial Link).

2. Cliques (I seriously thought that they were saying ‘clicks’ at first, and that it was some kind of weird robot measurement).

3.  Rendezvous.

And that’s all that comes to mind right now.



10 responses to “Learning From Fiction

  1. Yea, I have that thing as well! I know so much about My Little Pony, Monster High and Transformers now that i can quote, name and all sorts from them now. So people think it is odd for me to like Monster High or MLP but they have kind of helped out in my life, so has Transformers!

    • I know a lot about Transformers, and to some extent My Little Pony (the new show). But I only ever watched the first episode (well, I think that it was the first) of Monster High–on YouTube.

  2. I think I have some of the spells and potions/drinkables memorized – Polyjuice Potion (to change your looks and voice), Stupefy (the stunning spell), and Veritaserum (the truth serum) to name a few. I also came up with a few more spells (that I created) for a book idea:
    Objecto Wandato – the spell to turn anything into a wand, perfect for Quidditch and when you are captured!
    Enchante Objecto – turning an object into an enchanted object!
    And some others (as in “I must think up some more”)… 😉

    • That sounds cool! I think that a lot of the Harry Potter spells are in Latin–but I’m not sure.
      I wonder if the author has a notebook where she lists all of her potions and ingredients and magical creatures, etc.

      • I wonder that to. It seems likely that some of the spells are in Latin. When I write the book (hopefully with permission to use things from Harry), it’s going to be about Albus Potter, Harry’s middle child and youngest son, starting in the second year. I have lots of ideas for it! 😀

      • Oh my gosh! A couple years ago, I started writing a book about Albus Severus Potter, too! I got about eight pages in before quitting. It was picking up from when he first leaves the train station. XD

  3. I love learning new words from books/tv! Right now my kids (Raven and her siblings) are watching Cartoon Network in Korean and they have been learning a lot of new words that way! It’s fun to watch our favorite shows in another language and figure out what they are saying.

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