A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday World Building - Names

How often do we, as authors, struggle with naming our characters, or the places we're writing about? I know that I have trouble with names. So what do we do about it?

One of the ways I name people and places is by sound. I put sounds together until I find one that I like. Then I figure out how to spell it. That's how I came up with Sindla. Another thing I'll do is take the names of key players and mash them together to form the name of a place. That's how I came up with Erondahl.

Then there's the names of people. How do you name all your characters? Sometimes I just put random letters together to see what I get (Tuleesi). Other times, like with country names, I put sounds together until I get something I like (Tinandril). Then there's the most common way I'll find names - baby name sites and books. In my current novel Marked (formerly Only A Name), I'm using a lot of Irish names because I settled on that naming convention for the country of Lytharia. Two of the name sites I use are here and here.

A word of advice on names: if you don't know how to pronounce your names, neither will your audience. If you want to use something obscure, learn how to pronounce it. Or find something different.

Titles. Those tricky little things that we have to come up with in order to put our story out there. A lot of mine end up with working titles like "Anne and Edward" or "Psionics". Eventually I come up with a title I like that fits the theme of the book, like Marked, Cracked World, and Burning Dreams. Those titles may change when I head to publication, but for now that's what they are.

If you're having problems with a title, pick one word that describes your story and use that. Or use a character's name and say, "Today I'm working on __________'s story." Pick a sentence you particularly like and turn that into the title. Or figure out what the central theme in your story is and use that as a title. Working titles are just fine. A lot of times the original title doesn't make it past the writing of the story.

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