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Naming a Fantasy World

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Black Dragon, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    Have you given your world a name (i.e. Middle Earth, Narnia)? How did you go about choosing it?

    What elements make a world's name sound credible, as opposed to laughable?
  2. Chase Simba

    Chase Simba Dreamer

    Think of what the people would call the world. "Earth" is just the word for ground, but it's been used in so many different texts that it has become the name of our planet. Similarly, any name must have a basis in the world. Middle Earth is fine because it sounds like a point taken from the Earth's fantastic past (fantastic in this case meaning fictitious). Narnia works because it sounds like an actual country.
    But this is the thing:
    In the end, it doesn't matter.
    If people complain about the name, then they weren't paying enough attention to the book. Whether or not the name is good shouldn't matter if you wrote your book well enough. People shouldn't focus on the name, but the story.
  3. Raziel

    Raziel Minstrel

    I agree, with you there, it is truly the story that matters not the names given to help it flow.

    Although, names; I believe; should have somewhat of a 'flow' of their own. As in they shouldn't be so complex that you can't even pronounce them. (unless that is the point you are trying to make with the name). When I read The Dark Tower series Mr. King refers to his world(s) as Mid-Earth and End-Earth. I honestly thought it was a bit of a rip off at first from the Lord of the Rings Books but then I read his wordslinger notes and realized that Mr. Tolkien was the one who inspired him to write an epic tale of his own. So I think he used the terms for his world in a flattering tone not a plagiarist one.
    I myself am begining to form a world of my own and have been truly inspired by Kings 'fantasy' epic The Dark Tower. I may use a few of his ideas to help start my world building. I might need some pointers on what may or may not be 'stealing'. For instance in the 'Dark Tower' series he speaks of the Spheres and I was thinking of using something like that as a plot device in my own story but have them do different things and have a completely different back story. I don't want to be blamed for copying though either.
    Then there's the whole 'naming the world' thing. Well, if you'd like to go on with this conversation maybe we could find another thread to brainstorm some things. Any comments are appreciated.
  4. BeigePalladin

    BeigePalladin Sage

    Depends, is this a world where they have a belief in the classical four elements? If so, earth...

    other than that, well, it's generally a variation of earth
  5. CraftyTaurus likes this.
  6. razzazzika

    razzazzika Scribe

    I named my world Xexia(pronounced ZEHCK-SEE-AH). I have no idea how I came about the name. Honest to God I don't. It's the name of the planet, and just like when we say "The earth beneath her feet rumbled." I say "The xexia beneath her feet rumbled." to stay consistent. Instead of having earth magic, they have xexia magic. But honestly... No clue where I came up with it.
  7. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    I have multiple worlds and I have taken them from Greek mythology, parents and their children. I am thinking of renaming them.

    I have to look at the recent Kepler data and find a main star from there then name my planets appropriately.
  8. SlimShady

    SlimShady Troubadour

    My world doesn't officially have a name now. Although it has went through many. First Alroth, Anaria, and then Aragoth. But, eventually I decided those were far to fantastical. The humans have named it the Fatherland. (As they believe there God: The All-Father has created it.)
  9. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    JOe-the gnarled
    Love some of those names.

    Great link thanks.
  10. Draconian

    Draconian Dreamer

    I have had trouble with a name so just said earth but then I thought to call it Terra or elvarg (don't ask me how i got the name elvarg you don't wanna know) but finally after a lot of thinking and word playing I thought i'd call my world Sileni but I still might change it.
  11. My all time favorite name for a world is Earthsea. If you have read A Wizard of Earthsea you will understand why it is such a perfect name. The known world is made up of many islands. I would totaly steal that world if it was not such a well known book (j/k :D )
  12. invisibleturtle

    invisibleturtle New Member

    There are two 'worlds' in my story, the dream world and the real world. I called the dream world Somnium, Latin for dream, and then wanted to name my real world in Latin to keep a parallel to the dream world. I was originally going to go for the Latin word for Earth, but then I realized there is 'earth' in both of the worlds. So my real world is now called Verum, for truth.
  13. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    My world isn't named at all, the continent where my stories are happening is, though. It's Silaris, a name I made up when I tried to create a fantasy language as a young child. Silar meant "river" in that language and Silaris was a genitive form supposed to mean something like (land) of the rivers. I've been working with this name for over ten years now even though the world has changed profoundly since then it still fits and I intend to keep it if there are no copyright issues keeping me from doing so.

    When reading, I don't really care much about the names of the worlds. I don't really like it when the worlds are called things like "the middle lands", "the southern lands" and "the northern lands" but if the rest of the story is good I don't really care.
  14. My world is called Rudea - which means land of elements. It's basically one giant landmass with a few islands way off the coast. I came up with that name because my gods each have a major element associated with them. Like Nirvelli is the Water Goddess and Braedan is the Dark God. I'm still figuring out the names of the "sections" of land - the North, South, East, and West. I did come up with the Midnight Isles, the Undying Lands, and Frostfire Mountain.
  15. I've never read A Wizard of Earthsea. Is it YA fantasy or epic/high, or something else altogether. I read everything though, so I'll be sure to find a copy somewhere.

    As to my own world, I refrained from naming the world or even the continent. And I published my novel for gods sake. I don't know why, I just didn't feel like naming it at the time. In the inside of my dust jacket (and many times in the novel) I mention that magic is missing from The Eastern Empires. I have a map at home that I didn't include in my first edition that is called the Eastern Empires. Part of my 2nd novel takes place in what I then deem the Northern Empire. There will be five books (2 are so far contracted with the publisher with an agreement to take all 5). I will have some action in the Western Empires in Book 3, and thus South in Book 4. In my fifth and final installment, we're going to put a map in the front that might just name the continent finally (if I don't do so in the literature before that).

    Within my novel, there are many Empires with names - the Treynen Empire, The Thanten Empire, and so on.
  16. Raziel

    Raziel Minstrel

    The name for 'my' world is "US". The literal and true form of us, my story is to be about the fantastical ways we live life and literaly have if taken away..then have to deal. That is the forefront that brings the title into focus. Us..no one but us, our kind to watch out for when everything else fails. Even the fail-safes. It plays upon the irony and poetic reality of 'us' as a species and an unified reality(earth) when nothing's left.

    Thank you, really, you helped me find the name for my world with your words.

    Can't thank you enough so I bid you ado. An say
    "We all have our variations.."

    All the best,
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  17. Garolsh

    Garolsh Acolyte

    I haven't named my world yet; the main story line takes place on a certain continent, and in my notes I have many other nations and continents that will later on play a role via invasions and such. This is based on a rough story I wrote in high school, and I just called it "earth." Yet earth really played no role in the centralized story. In my new version it will play more of a role, as in more locations as opposed to say, Azeroth for fellow WoW nerds, where the story line and lore revolves around the whole world.
  18. Ice Queen

    Ice Queen Acolyte

    There are some very interesting names here. At the moment, I am not sure what to call my world. I'm flip-flopping. I like the name 'Illium' - in the old tongue, it means 'moon-land' but I wasn't sure whether to name the world this or just the continent the story takes place on... :s
  19. Raziel

    Raziel Minstrel

    When you speak of naming your world after the moon I completely feel that. I have had a fascination with the moon since I was young. It saddened me to hear some scientific reports that it is getting farther away every year (about 3ft r so, it might take a while but sooner or later it will be noticeable; our sister is floating away.)

    I say my world is 'us' in the simple fact that this is how my main character will come to see the world he is living in. (Yes, it might seem kinda cheesy..we already have the U.S. as an acronym for the United States.)

    Well, this world I'm creating, my character wakes up and there is a complete destruction of everything he has ever known. Hence the planet has come to depend on each other for survival. The term 'us' comes about in honor of what was destroyed and that make sense to me. We are helping each other all the while becoming a tribe of 'us'. Just us. (A tribe of just us/justice? mm good play on words maybe the forefathers were on to something.) I think I found another good idea while ranting.
    Thanks for listening.
    All the Best,

    I've always liked the term 'Quicksilver', it reminds me of the moon. Sometimes hidden sometimes not. I know it is supposed to be mercury, but the moon has been associated with shape shifting. Sometimes hidden sometimes not.

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