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Using Existing World Ideas/Labels?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by AngryMidget, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. AngryMidget

    AngryMidget Acolyte

    Originality is an issue with writing. For me, the key problem comes with naming (Places, People, Languages, etc...). I have the issue of finding new names that fit the genre and don't sound outrageously dumb. I always seem to stray to real world naming, which causes some irritation. I want to keep originality but it gets more and more difficult as I progress. I haven't strayed into languages yet, although I plan to in the future. Any suggestions on how to solve these problems or any better ways to tackle them. All opinions are valid, feel free to disapprove of my choices.

  2. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in regards to writing. You shouldn't be resentful of these weaknesses. Instead it is an opportunity to find options or tools to help you solve the problem. Use translators, look up river and dale, or wood and bridge etc in different languages and the mash the words together. That is one strategy that might help overcome this obstacle you are experiencing.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. Ruru

    Ruru Minstrel

    Name creation is a pain, I definitely agree! Word mashing is a common method I use. I also have name sessions, where I write down syllable combinations rapidly and at random, letting them evolve as I go. At the end, I pick the ones I like and sort them into similar sounding or themed groups, that I can apply to my different cultures. Some of them do end up outrageous, and 99% of what I write down is unusable, but it does generate some new stuff.

    I'd also say, don't be afraid to use real world naming, or 'normal' sounding names. If the names aren't so important to the story, it can help to not overload a story with a lot of odd names that a reader has to remember. I often fall back to descriptive names for landscapes if they aren't plot central, as this is often how people name places in real life. I'm talking about things like rock spires called the Pinnacles, Blue or Green Lake (or named using native languages). There is a lake where I am from who's name translation literally means Lake Two (as apposed to is slightly more coastal cousin, Lake One).

    One thing to add to the real world is okay statement, is that real world names can also be very weird. I mean, real weird. Take Woolloomooloo for example (read city suburb in Australia). One from my own country, this is our longest place name:


    Not kidding. Its a small hill.

    Fun fact for the day, it means:
    The place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.

    So long as it sounds good, and isn't to hard for a reader to remember it if they need to, i think you're good to go :).
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  4. AngryMidget

    AngryMidget Acolyte

    I've been using the word mashing technique and it works well. The idea with translating common words is helping, I've got a longer list and more ideas now. As for syllable combinations, it seems to be working very strong with naming. I previously used it in 'new' languages and it worked wonders, seems to be doing the same in place naming. Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated!
  5. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

    Another approach, especially if language creation is not your cup of tea, is to farm out that task. Kind of the way cover art or maps / graphics get done by someone else.

    Just ask around! There are plenty of folks (like myself) who'd be willing to take on a small project like a naming language (names of people, places and words for things), or even something more complex. If you'd prefer a more formal arrangement, get in contact with the Language Creation Society (conlang.org) and ask how they can help you find someone to do that job.

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