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Naming a Fantasy World

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

  1. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    He may not have come up with the name but most of the world his his creation, though there are some distinct Norse influences he was actually working to come up with a British mythology.
     
  2. Forsta-Phoenix

    Forsta-Phoenix Dreamer

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    Heh, after struggling with making names that I actually liked the sound of I decided to just sum up the nations character in 3 words and use the first letter of each as an acronym to refer to it in my notes. Now my brain has found ways to pronounce these acronyms as actual words and lo with a bit of tweaking they seem to work pretty well as names for countries!
     
  3. Thaumicist

    Thaumicist Dreamer

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    I only gave my world a name because people kept asking what it was called and then refusing to understand when I said "whatever the Mir word for earth is". Actually, that's probably the main reason I expanded from a single country to a world in the first place.

    Usually I would hold to the theory that the name of a world means 'the ground we're standing on'. But for the world my current project is set in that didn't seem right, as it's a world of three separate planes: the people with the authority to name planets are and have always been those with magical access to the other planes, gods and mages and so forth. But the world's name has to mean something, and so the three worlds have been named for their relative supernatural standing. In some places, the word for 'the ground' is actually a back-formation from this name.

    World names also need to fit with the language of the characters; I'm very particular in making sure different cultures call it different things. One lot call it Angvar, another lot Aea. There is a culture that calls the world Earth, or their equivalent word, but it's the one that banned magic a long time ago.

    So yes, it has a name, the horrible thing. But most of the time I just call it The World, and hope nobody notices.
     
  4. fcbkid15

    fcbkid15 Scribe

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    Hey guys, I want some thoughts on my world's name. I'm stuck between Elimithy (Ele-myth-ie) and Kreod (Kree od). Tell me what you think.
     
  5. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Kreod. It looks like it sounds, and my brain didn't stumble over it the first time I read it.
     
  6. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I like Kreod as well. Has a more neutral sound to it than Elimithy. Elimithy brings to mind magic, faeries, and Elves.
     
  7. fcbkid15

    fcbkid15 Scribe

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    yeah, thats what i was thinking. It probably brings faeries and elves to mind because i came up with it in the 5th grade, a long long time ago. I don't really know why I stuck with the name for stories, i just kinda remembered it.
     
  8. Mreichardt

    Mreichardt Dreamer

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    Been holding off naming my world for awhile. Seiros is what I've decided to use for now, but it might change.
     
  9. Kevlar

    Kevlar Troubadour

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    When I was in grade seven, just starting off, I came up with a new name every time I scrapped my story and started a new draft. As mystical creatures, non-human hominids and even magic dwindled practically to non-existance it simply became Earth. In my current reboot it is Earth, and it shows. (Or maybe its just my cynical view of people that shows) Either way, why call it anything but Earth when it is Earth? And as far as I'm concerned your world has to be connected to Earth in order to have humans, horses, dogs and the like. This coming from an atheist cynic. Religious people probably have a different opinion, but as far as I'm concerned that connection has to be there, whether stated or not. Does this mean your world HAS to be Earth? Far from it, if you have even a little magic, it might not even be the same planet, or it might be the same planet on a different level of existance. (Sphere, dimension, plane or what have you.) But what it all boils down to is that you should name your world what YOU want to name it and what YOU think is appropriate. If you don't write for yourself your writing will never be at its best. Satisfy yourself first, and everyone else second.

    Just realized how know-it-all that could come off. The 'Write for yourself' thing I read somewhere, from some author. All about breaking clichés and making your own trend.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  10. Akatosh

    Akatosh Acolyte

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    Skaleon(Sca-le-in), it just looks and sounds cool to me :)
     
  11. Antaus

    Antaus Minstrel

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    I name worlds the same way I name characters a lot of times, pick a word, then start mangling it until I get something that sounds catchy. My fantasy world is named Elderash, I don't remember where I got it from. Also about mangling names, I'll cite an example. I have a character named Magnox, source: MagnAVox
     
  12. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    I often do that too - start with a word then torture it until it gives me something I like.

    In my world of Araith, if I need a new word, I begin with a word in Swahili. (No reason in particular for Swahili, I just picked that one at random.) I pick a word then torture it a bit and end up with something workable. I have a neighboring kingdom, and the base language I use for them is Croatian. For city names, I've been starting with cities in India because they have such wonderfully complicated names. :) But I try to stick with one language as the base for certain things, just to give them all a similar "flavor."
     
  13. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

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    Well, ask yourself this: What do you name a newborn child? There aren't many defining traits about a baby that you can give a name to. That's kind of with a fantasy world. It starts at the conception of it in your mind and it grows. You don't think the name of your baby when you're... I'll leave it at that before I get too far ahead.

    In reality it doesn't truly matter, but my 2 cents are requested, and my 2 cents you shall recieve.

    I would choose something that sticks out, something that defines your world, something people will remember, and for God's sake something that you can pronounce on the first read.

    Generally, I like to keep my names short and inpressionable... surrounded by a shroud of mysticism, as your world should be. Think of our world. Earth, we call it today. In ancient times, its name was Terra. I think Terra sounds a lot more interesting than plain old Earth, but then again times change and perhaps my point of view is folly.

    My world's name is Aros. Take from it what you will. I'm sticking to it. :)

    My 2 cents have been delievered.

    Hope I helped. :)
     
  14. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Neither of these statements are strictly true. Certainly in the English-speaking world we call the planet Earth but the rest of the planet does not. There are as many names for "Earth" as there are languages, and no one is more the "right" name than any other. For example the French-speaking world calls the planet Terre.

    Also Earth may have been called Terra in areas that spoke Latin or were under the control of the Roman Empire but relatively that doesn't amount to much. The West RE lasted about 1,000 years and the East RE another 1,000. They both were centered around the Mediterranean. There were a number of different civilizations before, after, and during that time that used different names. Egyptian civilization, which is significantly more "ancient" than the RE, began around 5,000 years ago and they certainly didn't call the world Terra.

    Sorry if that sounded like I was attacking you, I didn't try to. Anyways I agree that Terra sounds better than Earth, but that has more to do with the fact that English is a Germanic language and Latin is a (the) Romance Language.
     
  15. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

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    *Gah, that's twice today that when I've finished typing something, it didn't go through. Anyways, what I was going to say was:

    No harm done! I don't mind getting my arse kicked every once in a while, and besides, that was pretty educational. I merely meant it as a comparison from today to the past. Having a world rich with history amplifies its mysticism and opens new opportunities for the world and writer as well!
     
  16. Argentum

    Argentum Troubadour

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    When I named my world, I had noticed so many times that fantasy worlds often started with an A. I've forgotten them now, but I had a small list of them. So I decided to do opposite and go backward. I named it Zyra off the top of my head (found out later, it's possibly a girl's name?). Either way, I'm thinking about renaming it into something a bit more. Maybe I'll keep the first four letters, jumble them a bit and/or add a few more syllables to make it look a bit more impressive, but still simple so it rolls off the tongue.
     
  17. Meka

    Meka Scribe

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    I had my characters name their own world.
    By putting myself into their position and their culture I found it pretty easy to come up with names. For example, in one story I have been working on, a group of elves find a large island and when they claim it for themselves they name it Ilen-Ulmor. The name has no real meaning, unless you count the meaning I gave to the name ... but it sounds elvish (let me know if you disagree, so I can change it :D). The dwarven island is named Kimek, again, just because I think it sounds like a dwarfish word. The land, as well as towns and cities, will have been named by those who live there, so use their imaginations to inspire you.
     
  18. Rowancool

    Rowancool Acolyte

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    It seems like using Earth in the name has been overused a bit. But it still works(i think)
     
  19. Xanados

    Xanados Maester

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    I would just go with what sounds good. I'd try not to make it sound too ridiculous, but at the same time have it sound nice. I think in Orcs by Stan Nicholls, the world was called Maras Dantia...a name I am a fan of. Azeroth, Maras Dantia, Randland...any name works, clearly.
     
  20. AnotherGeek

    AnotherGeek Dreamer

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    My favorite is still calling the planet Terra, makes me feel like the world is a beautiful wonderful place.
     
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