Haitian Influences in The Hidden Script

Haitian Influences in The Hidden Script

haitian flag waving

Earlier, when I shared facts about Haitian Flag Day, I mentioned being Haitian American impacted my journey as a writer and how my culture played a part in my writing.  

When you read the actual book, you'll find it's quite different in structure, flow, and appearance compared to traditional fantasy books. The phonetic ebonics dialogue could have you wondering if there's any Haitian influence at all, but rest assured, you'll find plenty of subtle cues embedded in the work. 

As we approach the close of Haitian Heritage Month, we're ending off May with a discussion on three ways Haitian culture impacted The Hidden Script: Enter The Kingdom

3 Ways Haitian Culture Impacted The Hidden Script


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Photo by Monstera

1. Greetings

The book opens with Cinnabar addressing a group of entrants, and he uses "Juh yèna" to welcome the audience. The book's standard way of saying hello and goodbye stems from casual Haitian Kreyol greetings used among friends and family. However, I blended the original Kreyol terminology, changed the spelling to match the phonics used in the novel, and turned it into a formal greeting instead of one relegated to only casual use. 


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Photo by PICHA 

2. Pronunciation

Specific chapters, items found globally, and terminology t on the Haitian francophone pronunciation of vowels and consonants. Much like how Canadian French has a different pronunciation than European French dialect, Haitians have added a unique flair to their French accent giving it a sound of its own while retaining the core tenants of French. For example, the E vowel's relaxed pronunciation is notable since many Haitians don't speak french through pursed lips as familiar to Europeans. 


black girl handwriting in a notebook notes

Photo by nappy 

3. Naming Conventions

Many of the landmarks, gadgets, or animals found in the world of The Hidden Script have names derived from Haitian Kreyol. Sometimes the words themselves are from words in the native language, but others are a mishmash of Kreyol syllables that sounded good together.

For example, I called a particular touch pen a shuplim. Pen is plim in Kreyol. While to touch is touche (too-shay), while speakers pronounce another word form of touch without the final e sound, leaving just touch (too-shh). When I put shh and plim together, I created shuplim

That is just one of many naming mechanisms used in The Hidden Script. If any of this seems overwhelming or hard to keep track of, don't worry. The reader's guide at the end of the book explains standard terms found only in the book for your convenience. 

Speaking of which, we're gearing up for the next stage of publication! With the draft wrapping up major edits, the next step is to send out copies to influencers, librarians, and early readers for initial review.

Check our monthly emails and stay tuned to our social media for announcements on the release of Advanced Reader's Copies of the manuscript! 


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