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The Name Thread

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Mindfire, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Almost never. If it's a real plant, use the English name. Even if I was going to nickname it, I would still say, They referred to the avocado as leatherfruit, or He picked up the avocado and said, "I hate leatherfruit." Save the comprehension work you thrust on readers for important stuff.

    The exceptions might be if the real plant was exotic enough that most readers wouldn't recognize it, or if the name was too sciency that it broke immersion. Even then I would hesitate - sharptooth works for a kids' show, but if it's a T-Rex, I think most readers would be okay with T-Rex. And if I didn't like T-Rex, I'd probably want to create a new monster rather than try and rename T-Rex.
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Okay, I need something cool for this one: Give me a new name for gunpowder.

    The problem: Gunpowder in my setting works differently from real world gunpowder. It's rare, and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who carries more than one or two shots worth. And it's toxic, so they use it for chemical warfare. It's also seen as magical even though they dig it up and refine it into gunpowder.

    I want a new name so I don't accidentally set up readers into thinking they know how gunpowder works when they don't.
     
  3. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    If it's still like real gunpowder insofar as it's explosive, maybe firedust or similar?
     
  4. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Firedust is alright, but I'd use the real world alternate name: Black Powder.
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Those are great names, but the "gunpowder" of this world would start as like a magical rock you dig up and then refine into explosive powder. Whereas, gunpowder is a mix of substances. What would you name the rock?
     
  6. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    I have trouble with names too.

    What works for me is to think about what I'm naming, what I already know about the person, place or culture. Every time I do, I get a hint of at least one sound in its name. An "R" or an "ee" sound. After I get that sound I hold onto it, think again about what I'm trying to name and most of the time I'll get a hit on a sound coming before or after the first sound and build from there. But if I only get the first sound then I'll let it sit as I keep working on the story, only putting that vowel or consonant in its place, and the name will pop up.
     
  7. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Firestone?
    Pyroclast?
    Vulcan Ore/Stone?
    Explodium?
     
    Devor likes this.
  8. Isivaa Sanaru

    Isivaa Sanaru Acolyte

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    Hey,

    This is one of the most amazing threads I've seen so far! I could SO use some help with a few names in my story.

    I wanna start easily though, I'm not a native speaker which makes it harder for me to find certain words sometimes that I wanna use, I hope this still goes along with what this thread is about.

    I'm looking for a sort of Fire that is hard to put out, like Wildfire but black - I believe I've seen it in some movies but I can't recall it. It's like this magic fire that burns forever and burns through most things.

    Would be very grateful for any help :)
     
  9. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I've never heard of such a thing. Could you describe it more or tell us what movie you saw it in?
     
  10. Isivaa Sanaru

    Isivaa Sanaru Acolyte

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    I found that it has been used in the Anime Naruto and is called "Amaterasu" in the anime, I was hoping there was something similar in English but maybe there isn't. It's like a fire that burns hotter and longer than all normal fires. Not sure if there is such a thing?
     
  11. Dr.Dorkness

    Dr.Dorkness Minstrel

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    Yes, I have seen it in Naruto. It is what Itachi uses, right? I believe that in the anime it does not generate heat as normal fire does. But rather just consumes everything it touched. I'm not trying to get a discusion going about the anime and what is and what isn't. Just saying what I thought. Well, getting off topic here...

    As for the name, Raging Fire? Chaotic Flame?

    Anyway, it is difficult since it is such a strange thing. I gues I had it easy when I named my fire that actually cools instead of heating. It's called Frost Fire. Cliche huh?
     
  12. Isivaa Sanaru

    Isivaa Sanaru Acolyte

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    It's exactly as you're describing.

    And thanks for the tips, they're actually quite good! I'll consider them for a while!

    I have another one, it's not a name I need this time - it's a name I have that I can't decide whether to use it for the whole World or just an Island in my story.
    The name is Vanthüria and I somehow feel that it fits the whole World better than an Island.

    What do you think?

    It's either the name of the whole fantasy world, like a planet or the name of the biggest Island in the world.
     
  13. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Well, first of all, I'd like to ask whether the umlaut in Vanthüria is really necessary. Sure it looks nice, but being careless with diacritic marks can make your work look amateurish. (See: Eragon) Nothing major, though.

    As for the name itself, "Vanthüria" evokes something grand and majestic to me. It certainly could be the name of an entire world, but I think world names are best kept short and simple. After all, we don't call our planet Telluria. We call it Earth. On the flipside, Vanthüria seems a bit too grand to be the name of an island. But it depends on what this island's significance is and what's on it. If the island is the center or ruling province of a grand empire, or a small but obscenely rich kingdom (eg. Tyre and Sidon), then the name would fit quite well. It also depends on the size of the island. If it's rather small, Vanthüria may not be the best fit, but if its a rather large island with mountains, jungles, and epic scenery, then Vanthüria may be appropriate.

    So bottom line is, it depends. What sort of island are you talking about?
     
  14. Isivaa Sanaru

    Isivaa Sanaru Acolyte

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    Mindfire:

    Thanks you for your input, I agree with you to every point - I think Vanthüria is something bigger as well, but since the island is the Biggest and most populated in the World, that might just work. So I guess you just settled it for me :)

    As for the umlaut, I know, I don't like it either... But Vanthuria doesn't look as grand to me, or have I just got used to it? Don't you think it loses a bit of it's majestic feeling without it? Haha
     
  15. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I don't think it loses much without the umlaut. It looks a bit less foreign.
     
  16. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    So I'm trying to name this sea. What I'm thinking right now is that the people who first discovered it named it after the overabundance of sharks they saw in it. So the choices I've got right now are:

    -The Hungry Sea
    -The Sea of Jaws
    -The Bloody Sea
    -The Biting Sea

    Right now the Hungry Sea is my favorite. Sea of Jaws would be my number one choice if it weren't for a certain movie that left an indelible impression on the collective consciousness. And I don't want to break immersion by having my reader suddenly start thinking about said movie. The Bloody Sea is okay, except it sounds more like someone swearing than an actual name. Which might get confusing if someone actually does decide to use "bloody" in a swearing fashion. And the Biting Sea just sounds childish.

    Suggestions?
     
  17. Dr.Dorkness

    Dr.Dorkness Minstrel

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    From the options you have given I think The Hungry Sea is the best, with The sea of Jaws as a close second. For The Sea of Jaws I like the way it sounds the best. So perhaps make a combination of the two? like The Sea of Hunger?
     
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  18. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Hungry Sea is good, or a variation might be The Devouring Sea.

    "Sea of Jaws" suggests a certain movie more than you want. (Or else, we're going to need a bigger thread.)
     
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  19. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Another option i've just come up with is the Sea of Teeth, rather than Jaws. It has a good feel to it and I'm caught between it and Hungry Sea. The only problem is that also I have a mountain range that some people call the Teeth, "because they're full of things that want to eat you". I could rename the mountains the Jaws or the Fangs, but that might still seem redundant if there's a Sea of Teeth nearby. Or the names might feel complimentary. What do guys think?
     
  20. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Sea of Teeth is good, but I think for a sea the "unsolid" feel of Hungry is better, the idea that it might be the sea monsters or just the waters themselves that might pull you down. Teeth is better for mountains, or maybe for a sea that (like your mountain range) is mostly feared for its critters.

    But unless the world is so big that these two names are just two widely-separated things among dozens, I think using a similar name theme is always going to clash. (If they're unrelated. Now, a Hungry Sea with a reef called the Teeth...)

    --Then again, this might be a good thing: it could point out that the two were named by different peoples at different times, and evolving history isn't afraid to mix metaphors. But this only works if a character points out the irony before the readers start thinking you missed it.
     
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