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creating name for world/series.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by hannibal41, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. hannibal41

    hannibal41 Acolyte

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    I have created my own fantasy world History, creation, maps, fairytales, nations, creatures, plantlife, magic system, gods, religions, constellations etc). Within this world i have created plans for different stories set at different times in its history (including a main series and it's prequel, sort of like the hobbit is to LOTR).

    The one difficulty i have is making a name for these stories (split into multiple books) and the whole creation. So i can refer it by name instead of just 'my world'. How do you go about creating that one name that everyone will refer to your creation by?
     
  2. Vendzzz

    Vendzzz Acolyte

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    I as reader honestly do not like when I can't pronounce names or do not know what they are. My advice is just use regular real world names. It's so rare in the fantasy genre that it is actually quite unique.
     
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I'm not very original and I'm a fan of Norse Mythology so when I found out at the collective worlds of Norse Mythology were called something like Niu Heimar (nine homelands) that's pretty much become my default stand-in world name.
     
  4. arbiter117

    arbiter117 Minstrel

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    Niu-Helmar is still pretty "pronounceable". Middle-Earth is a great name because as Vendzzz said, it's just 2 normal words smooshed together.

    Contrast that with a Catalan name: Aixirivall (eye-chi-di-bye) or Aixovall, idk, sanskrit... I think what makes Niu-Helmar a decent choice is that it uses very regular, easily pronounced letter combinations. No x's, y's, or q's or lack of vowels or too many consonants in one syllable (not an attack on Vendzzz's name, I swear...)
     
  5. Surad

    Surad Minstrel

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    Finding a name for my world was tough, and I'm still not completely settled on it, but for the time being, I refer to it as the World of Ordea. Why Ordea? I don't even remember how I came up with it.

    But my biggest question is finding the name for my series of novels/novellas/short stories. I once thought about using the name Dark Chapter, because the majority, if not all, of the stories will be set during the biggest and deadliest war in the planet's history, making WW2 pale in comparison, and so it is the 'darkest chapter' of the world's history. I dropped that idea after people told me it sounds too much like a horror series and not a military/diesel punk/scifi thing.
     
  6. Brightfyre

    Brightfyre Acolyte

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    Take a look at some languages you like the sounds of and look at a dictionary of said language. You might find interesting letter combinations you would not normally come across. You could then switch around some of the letters or add other words, and you can have something quite unique.
     
  7. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    For most location names in my world, I use Google maps. I think of a culture that is similar (at least linguistically) and zoom around the map looking for names. I steal some outright, combine parts, or modify slightly and apply where it makes sense. If nothing else, it's good inspiration.

    As far as books, I usually have small series that I name mundanely descriptive things like 'A Tragedy of Brothers' or 'Two Blades of the Dagger.'

    On the whole, I don't have anything witty or slick. I guess they're just 'my books.'
     
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think you're putting the cart before the horse a bit here. How can you name something with a appropriate name if you haven't written it yet? I'm not saying you can't find a great name before you start, but it's pretty rare IMHO. More often than not, titles grow out of what the story is about, it's themes, it's characters, etc.

    If a name doesn't come to you right away, then just write the story and figure it out later. A lot of times for me, the names/titles come after the story is finished.
     
  9. LordFalco

    LordFalco Minstrel

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    I call my parallel world of magic and monsters "the outworld". If something fancier is needed, you can play off common words. One of my cities is called Eolca, which was twisted out of "eosinophil", a type of body cell. The same goes for character names, preferably ones that suggest what they're all about.
     
  10. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

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    Generally speaking, Most planets will be named after the stuff under your feet (dirt, earth) or stuff you see around you.

    The planet was named a long time ago before anything was built, so it was probably named by a bunch of cave men.
     
  11. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I called my made-up planet "The World of Daylight" after the Matt & Kim song "Daylight". The main continents are Middarth and Havenspire. Middarth is suppose to be a pastiche of Middle-Earth so I Norse-ified the name. Havenspire comes from the video game Myst 4 - there are areas called Haven and Spire.
    Then I came-up with in-universe explanations for the names.

    What I'm getting at is to keep your eyes out for inspiration. Even something silly or simple can work as a name. Also, don't be afraid to just stick with English.

    My problem is that when I have to make-up a name, I make it decidedly not English. My current story deals with Mori-Unahks, Burgedi and Bar-Aslan. None of those names are unpronounceable or complicated and they share a linguistic root. But the audience is just going to see them as jargon. The names themselves don't convey any information to the reader. However, if instead of the quasi-Mongolian "Mori-Unahk", I used the English translation "Horse-Herders", then it immediately tells the reader what it is.
    I plan to go back and give a lot of things more common names.

    So, to summarize: my advice is to keep names simple and clear. For the reader's sake.
     
  12. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    I would approach it like naming anything else in your world. In the primary story that I am working on, I took two words, translated them into another language, and put them together to form a name. You could try this on google translate. Even though it isn't 100% accurate all of the time, it can provide you with lots of ideas. Try playing around with different words, change the spelling, and put them together. You could potentially find lots of cool possibilities. Also, think about stories that you've read or films that you've seen. What kind of country/continent/world names have stuck with you? You could also look into mythical and historical locations for inspiration.

    As far as a title goes, if you are looking for a title for each story, I would think about the themes and vibes given by each story. Also, you can name it as a hint of events in the story (example: The Return Of The King, The Great Hunt, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, etc.). As far as a name for the series goes, you could follow the same steps that you followed for the titles of the stories, but on a grander scale. Another option would be to just name it after the kingdom/world (the Shannara Chronicles, Ringworld, etc.). Sorry for the long reply, hopefully some of this helps!
     
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