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Creative Differences with a partner

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Stormbringer, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. Stormbringer

    Stormbringer Acolyte

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    Hey all, I'm new here and not really a fantasy writer at all. But in my free time I am working as a 3d artist on a fantasy RTS game. To describe it simply, We are going for a mix of LOTR and GOT setting. Dark and brutal.
    We are still at a very early stage of development. Quite recently my co-founder has started to work on some lore. Naming certain locations in the world and lets just say we have some creative differences...


    The Orcs homeland is located on an island by a volcano called Mount Purgatory. Or alternatively Maw of Purgatory.
    My partner is a person that has a lot of historical knowledge and keeps referring to how things where named back in the middle ages. But I find it a bit on the nose and would prefer something more original that also helps with the world building. Overall I find that the names lack variety and doesn't have unique names tied to the geography.
    Anyway I would like to hear what you people have to say about it. Since you people no doubt got more experience with world building then anyone of us.
     
  2. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I agree: it’s really on the nose.
    Also, I’m pretty sure purgatory comes from a word meaning “purification” so I fail to see much of a connection between the concept of purification and a volcano (or a maw for that matter). I also don’t see why you would use a term/image associative with Christian cosmology in reference to Orcs.

    If you really wanted a less obvious name that still would shoehorn Christian lore while also being appropriate for a volcano, I’d recommend Mount Gehenna.
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    With names it depends. We could name the volcano for you (i.e., Wounded Mother or Watchfire Mountain or Mt. Grildok), but ultimately every author, every work, is going to have their own style to end up going with. It's also crazy how often a simple name like "Mount Doom" will be the one that has the right impact, simple and hard hitting and catchy instead of subtle and thematic. And you know, sometimes there are just too many names not to reach for a shortcut of some kind.

    I tend to follow some patterns when I use for figuring out location names. For landscapes I'll have a mix of fakename and doubleword name, but always with a landscape word. So that's Mt. Grildok (fakename) or Watchfire Mountain (doubleword, watch and fire). I might use maybe one thematic name like Wounded Mother if the place itself was a big keystone location that warranted someone in the story explaining it (i.e., if it's so important I'm willing to have someone say, "The island is our mother and the volcano gushes its blood...."), but that adds extra complexity on a part of the story that isn't usually worth it.

    The most important thing isn't depth, style, history or theme, but rather that readers be able to recognize the name without confusion and without having to do mental work for it. That's why with landscapes I almost always use the landscape words, like Mountain, River or Forest. It lets the reader off the hook for having to remember and recognize still more names.
     
  4. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Minstrel

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    For me this depends on the level of "realism" you're aiming for in your fantasy world. Fantasy requires a suspension of belief, but you can't push that too far without it becoming ridiculous. People often look at the names of places in things like the Lord of the Rings, but forget that Tolkein was a philologist who named places in the "local" languages and those names, when translated, are really very mundane. Erebor, The Lonely Mountain, is an example; its a mountain which stands on its own, hence the name.

    Personally I'm in favour of things having a name for a reason. You might call a range of mountains the Blue Mountains because they look blue in colour, like the ones in New South Wales, Australia. A bay might be named after the first person to find it or establish a settlement there. And its these reasons which give your setting its depth, in terms of its history, its geography, and an insight into its societies and culture.

    So my question to you would be, why is the mountain called Purgatory? Is that the name given by the orcs or is it the name given by someone else? And if its the name given by someone else, what do the orcs call it and why?
     
  5. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    Meh, names are overrated. Already in a novel unless it is either plot relevant or part of the point of the take (like with Tolkien). But even more so in video games.

    With RPG games it might matter. But then only to the point where players can remember the names. In Skyrim, about as immersive a game as you can get, the games are fairly generic. In a RTS, many players won't even know the names of places they get to. It's simply the next place they get to.

    Also, with any decent sized works you will be naming dozens of places. Having a few with goofy names doesn't matter unless it is absolutely crucial to the plot.

    If you do want to put more thinking into it, then for each region pick an earth alternative and come up with names based on that. Our just to of real world names. Nothing wrong with blue mountains or on Google maps zooming in on Siberia and using funny sounding place names.
     
  6. Stormbringer

    Stormbringer Acolyte

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    Thanks for all the replies, I think all of you had some good points.
    I will link this to my friend/co-worker. Think its really good with your outside imput.
     
  7. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    Foto's
    Fototoestellen een poo
     
  8. Stormbringer

    Stormbringer Acolyte

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    What do you mean?
     
  9. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    Sorry, I suspect my phone decided to post on its own while in my pocket. Either that or my kid got close to my keyboard. Ignore that post...
     
    CupofJoe likes this.
  10. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

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    I think it's a difference of style. Either approach could work. Some authors are very on the nose, and it can work well. But more subtle naming works, too.
     
  11. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    One thing I forgot to mention is that at this stage it probably matters less. A name only becomes set once something is published. Until then you can change it with a simple find and replace. When I was editing my previous novel, I realised that the name of a city and the name of a race of creatures were too similar. They had nothing to do with each other, but it read like there would be a connection, based on their names. So, I changed one of them. It's all of 30 seconds work...

    So, slap a name on it and move on.
     
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