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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Multi-Dimensional Vocabulary

Multi-Dimensional Vocabulary

I first encountered the terms ana and kata when reading William Sleator’s book The Boy Who Reversed Himself. (By the way, if you’re a YA science fiction/horror fan and you’ve never read anything by William Sleator, you should remedy that immediately.)

Ana and kata are the two additional directions available in the fourth dimension. See the chart below:

Dimensional space Movement that can be made in that space
1-Dimension Forward, backward
2-Dimensions Forward, backward, right, left
3-Dimensions Forward, backward, right, left, up, down
4-Dimensions Forward, backward, right, left, up, down, ana, kata


Fans of Madeleine L’Engle will no doubt associate the term tesseract with “a wrinkle in time.” More accurately, a tesseract is the 4-space extension of a 3-space cube (which is itself an extension of the 2-space square). The words tesseract, ana, and kata were all coined by mathematician Charles Howard Hinton in 1888.


A depiction of a tesseract

When researching dimensional vocabulary for my WIP, I also came upon this little chart, giving me trength, tarrow, and trong to work with.

Dimension Measure Small Measure Great Measure
1st length short long
2nd width narrow wide
3rd height short tall
4th trength tarrow trong

Now, the trick is to pull all this geometry into an adventure kids will want to read. I’m going for a Doctor Who meets The Boy Who Reversed Himself meets Interstellar Pig meets 14. (I know that a “meets” statement isn’t very effective if the elements aren’t well known books or movies, but let me give you an idea of what I have in mind …)

Creating the Breach

I’ll leave you with one last picture: This is a diagram I created for my WIP. My story takes place at The Breach.

The Universes

19 Responses to Multi-Dimensional Vocabulary

  1. mshatch says:

    Where did you find that first pic? It looks like Tomek discovering the crack…

  2. Tiana Smith says:

    I’m impressed with your skillz 😉 I think my brain would explode just from thinking about all that, let alone trying to create a diagram.

  3. Bish Denham says:

    Working with the 4th dimension would certainly be tricky, but I love the words “they’ve” invented!

  4. What a different reality this creates. I love it and I do recognize Madeleine L’Engle tesseract. Loved your diagram of the multi-dimensional universe. I’ll have to think about the implications of a universe like this.

  5. J E Oneil says:

    Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to remedy that. But I’ve heard of a tesseract! But, um, not from Madeleine L’Engle. I just play too much video games.

    Oh man, I really can’t wait to read your story. I don’t know its name but it’s on my TBR list already.

  6. Sounds really cool and complicated, Dianne! How is it coming along?

  7. RO says:

    Uh…I can tell you are super smart, and I definitely need to be hanging out with you! (lol) Learning new things like this at my age is truly fascinating and interesting. Keep it coming, girl! Hugs…RO

  8. Cool new terms for me, and I like trength, tarrow, and trong!

  9. I love your diagram! Sounds like you’ve been doing some super fun research. Can’t wait to see all the places this takes your story.

  10. MY GOODNESS…. ISN’T the 8th day enough? LOL…

    HI, Dianne,

    It’s been ages. I returned to Chicago only a few weeks ago and I FORGOT your book… seven weeks stranded in Florida without it. UGH…. I hope to read it this week and leave a review soon. I do apologize…. Still going insane with the pup… He is such a handful. Almost 9 months old now… will his insane energy every die down? UGH!

  11. Alyssa Jordan says:

    What series is this for

    • DianneSalerni says:

      This is for a new book I’m writing. I’m still on the first draft right now.

  12. I always figured the 4th dimension was time. *shrugs* I mean, if you can reverse or speed past a moment, your possibilities are infinite compared to a time-restricted dimension.

  13. ChemistKen says:

    I look forward to seeing how you describe all these concepts in your story. You’ve got your work cut out for you. Good luck. Can’t wait to see it.

  14. I don’t know HOW you’ll bring it all together to create a book kids will love, but I know you WILL. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and kids will eat it up.

  15. Lexa Cain says:

    Holy cow, those are a lot of very specific theories and terms. Go you with all the researching! I want to make my next MC a bone specialist, like Bones, but the amount of research I’d have to do scares me off, not to mention all the ways I could screw up if I get info wrong. 😛

  16. Wow. This seems very scientific! I think I mentioned I’m in awe of those of you who can create entire fictional worlds. It’s challenging enough just to come up with plots, conflict, and character growth!

  17. Aaaaand I already want to read this. ^_^ Seriously. I love stories that mess with how we’re used to seeing things or present the kinds of experiences that we just can’t get here on Earth. It sounds awesome and I hope it goes well.

    As for new words, I had to use some unusual/uncommon pronouns in my current book when dealing with a member of a hermaphroditic species. It was odd for me, but the characters acted like they dealt with that sort of thing all the time, which they kind of do.

  18. I have a headache just trying to comprehend such complex things 🙂