PDA

View Full Version : Problems with World Naming


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2

wwfward
March 1st, 2007, 04:34 PM
Im stumped on naming my world. Everytime I try to think up of something, I either dont like it a few hours later or the name of the world somehow "feels" wrong.

How do you guys go about naming your world? Is it just made up on the spot or is there a process?

Are there websites that help with generating ideas on this issue?

World Builder
March 1st, 2007, 06:10 PM
I had a lengthy and detailed post written, until I accidently closed the window. So here's the abridged version.

Naming anything is hard, and how I go about naming worlds differs depenging on what sort of world I'm naming.

For my scifi worlds, if its populated by humans, its most likely named after some earth reference: thus producing the planets Al-Quds, Deucalion, and Qeb. If its populated by aliens, it'll have an alien name appropriately transcribed for the human voice. Thus the planet "mandible clack + hum" becomes the planet Kimn for benefit of my human readers.

For my fantasy settings, I rarely find my characters to be in a position in which they could think in the global terms of capital-E Earth, or its local equivalent. I typically, use terms such as "the world" or lowercase-e "earth," or think more on a regional or national level. In those stories, I try to get in the heads of the characters and their native language. This seems to work out alright, but at times I find myself refering to the same location in two different stories by two different names. In one, the place is called Corbeny, in another story its called Qor Ibn, depending on if you live there or just send missionaries to it.

WB

AgentRustyBones
March 1st, 2007, 06:32 PM
You can have multiple names for a world, depending on who is referring to it.

I agree with WB above...in a fantasy setting, I wouldn't think that the world name would be all that common or even known--most people in medieval societies and prior wouldn't even think in terms of continents, let alone planets. The 50-100 miles in any given direction is all that they can often conceive of as ever existing--except for some scholars, wizards, and merchant types who are travelling far and wide.

Variations on Earth like Oerth, the Land, Mother Earth, the World; can work just fine.

Tell the story you need to tell. If the naming of the world doesn't come to you as you write, then perhaps its not that important to your tale.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

KatG
March 1st, 2007, 10:48 PM
I've gotten around it by simply not naming my secondary world anything at all. It's remarkably easy. People don't go running around using the word "Earth" all that often. Well, at least until we got heavily into the global warming issues. (I've had a much harder time not using the word earth as an alternative for dirt.) Maybe I'll change my mind later, but the word "world" works fine on the chance that a character has to reference the entire planet.

Of course, I still have to figure out the names for countries, cultures, religions, cities and villages, rivers, mountains, etc. For me, this is largely about sound and getting it to fit whatever type of place is being named. If you are not sure what to name everything, though, you could just list them by numbers for now and decide later.

Dawnstorm
March 2nd, 2007, 01:41 AM
(I've had a much harder time not using the word earth as an alternative for dirt.)

Then use it. I don't see why you shouldn't. That our planet's named after dirt shouldn't impact the word "earth".

James Carmack
March 2nd, 2007, 03:24 AM
Puns are fun. Just look at what the Japanese do. ^o^ Seriously, though. Lieutenant Burning, Captain Synapse... And that's just Stardust Memory.

As my fantasy stories are steeped in the mythology of our world, I opted to choose one of the less common Latin names for Earth: Tellus. This is more for my use than anything else. When writing in an "in universe" style, even in my supplemental materials, I usually stick to calling it simply "the Planet." So, in other words, generic terms work just fine. Think about the inhabitants of your world and how they view their environment. If they don't think on a global scale, you won't have much need of a name in the text itself.

If you want to avoid random character generation as a method to come up with names, just crack open a foreign language dictionary and find a word that looks good. If nothing else, it'll make for a funny trivia bullet.

Maybe the right name will come to you in a dream. I happen to get a lot of inspiration that way. It may not be a good idea to rely on that too heavily, though.

James Barclay
March 2nd, 2007, 02:26 PM
Go with your instinct when you're looking for a name. If it starts to sound wrong to you, bin it immediately. You'll know when you hit on the right name.

I will twiddle with names for ages when I'm trying to think up names for countries, cities, characters etc.

Must say I've never named anything as big as a whole world though... only continents within one.

NOM

Michael B
March 3rd, 2007, 03:19 AM
Of course, I still have to figure out the names for countries, cultures, religions, cities and villages, rivers, mountains, etc. For me, this is largely about sound and getting it to fit whatever type of place is being named. If you are not sure what to name everything, though, you could just list them by numbers for now and decide later.
In the novel I am working on at the moment, they are all intentionally in English. Some of them are loaded, eg the Pale Desert which one character goes beyond, some of them I have no idea where they came from, eg the town of Stone Dog and some of them come from previously unrelated work like some mountains called The Spur.

All names however are not in English.

Mock
March 3rd, 2007, 11:57 AM
"The world" for the win!

KatG
March 3rd, 2007, 10:13 PM
Then use it. I don't see why you shouldn't. That our planet's named after dirt shouldn't impact the word "earth".

Because I don't want to use it. It's distracting. Of course, earthen is a really good word, so who knows.