1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Charing Cross

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Mar 1, 2011.

    Writing an alternate history where Christianity was never the dominant religion... Trafalgar Square I can keep because history is not much altered as a form of pantheonistic paganism played an identical role across Europe. But once my character's done walking across that, he has to go to Charing Cross. The Cross itself is a memorial to Queen Eleanor, but I don't know how many people will just see "Cross" and think, "Hey! Christianity!" -- I don't know for sure, but judging by the photos of the memorials and the cross in my own city's town centre, they're not crucifixes, but big stone things - the cross in Chichester is just a big stone gazebo, basically. :p The Eleanor crosses are just elaborate pointy monuments and I'm guessing "cross" is more about the fact these things appear in the middle of the road - the Chichester one is in the cross-roads in the middle of town. But even so, the name still makes me uncomfortable in a non-Christian society, so I should probably change it, because just how many people are going to take the time to look up crosses? I'd rather have one history nut write in and tell me that the cross wasn't necessarily Christian, than a dozen people writing in and telling me I'm an idiot for removing all Christianity except that part. :p

    Charing's an old English name for the river bend, and I almost considered just using Embankment for the station name (since Embankment is right under Charing Cross), but I like the old English - there are a lot more old English names around in this world. In any case, I'm wondering what I can do with "Charing"?

    Any Londoners or, well, anyone who knows London better than this tourist can offer me some more local insight into what I might use?

    Maybe it's just conditioning but "Charing Station" feels sad and empty. :p
     
  2. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Interesting bit of history there. I was born and raised in the London, but haven't been there in 20 years. To be honest I always thought of Charing Cross, being a cross roads to something. Not sure if others would see it that way or you could portray it that way.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I COULD weave in a history, but at the moment I'm just writing the synopsis of the scene for my dissertation, so I'm quite paranoid about that. :p It'll just be mentioned in passing for now to prove I did some world building - I can't go into history or anything as it's just a "he goes to Charing X and..."

    I'm only going to write the novel later if I can be bothered (I usually end up finishing projects eventually, though after all this work I'm going to be bummed out on it for a while after :p)

    I guess I'm looking for a quick fix name that sounds good to a marker, while later when I write the full scene for myself I'll have the space and time to write what I like... Maybe even keep it as Charing Cross. At the moment doing that awful thing of alternate history and just changing surface things for shock value. It's sad I can't convey how I think at LEAST this deeply over every single point...
     
  4. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    How about Charing Point.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds good. :D Thanks!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm curious... are you writing this novel as the required 'thesis' for a ph.d.?
     
  7. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could call it Charing Rood.

    Rood is an old english word that refers to the cross, but very few people in present day would recognize or see it as refering to the Christian cross.

    Just a fun fact. :)
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my brain, I've ONLY seen "rood" in reference to Christianity... it might well be valid but I can't see it any other way, so I'd be wary to use it. :p

    Plus, like I said, the crosses that Charing Cross was named after were memorials and not Christian Crosses... *brain wanders off in thought*

    Hey, maybe I could call it Charing Monument station, or Charing Memorial? I dunno. They sound a bit more creepy and ominous, while I'm just trying to recreate a London similar to the one we use these days. :p

    Do you think they're ominous?

    Nope - 3rd year university project. It's insanely watered down - I'm only doing a dissertation a 2/3rds of the size of many students since I'm on a joint degree and if I did the full size one it would get in the way of my History modules and I wouldn't be equally half and half Literature and History any more. Added to that, since it's creative writing I do 3750 words of essay, and only 3750 words of fiction... :p When they say I'm taking a doss subject they mean it. I managed to make a doss subject's lame-o end project even more pathetic. I've been writing 3000 word essays the last two years for all my classes...

    Point is: Americans recoil in horror when I say "dissertation" because it's apparently quite a weighty thing there, but here they throw the word around like candy.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I pass Charing Cross on my way to work, but I don't think my local knowledge helps. The current Eleanor Crosses are mainly (all?) Victorian replacements for the original wooden crosses, so yes, they were crosses. If the rest of your history hasn't changed then presumably Edward I still felt the same grief at Eleanor's death and still raised monuments at the resting places of her funeral party. The question is, what sort of monuments would they have been had Edward I not been Christian? How does Charing Henge sound?
     
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  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not combine two stations from nearby

    I can't remember where Charing Cross is on the map - but for example Charing Arch, Charing Embankment, Charing Gate, Charing Park, Charing Street, Charingsbridge.

    I can't remember where it is exactly but there are usually a few stations with a mile or so walk.
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I stick a standing stone there, I can call it Charing Point and everything will make sense. Awesome. :)
     
  12. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not just refer to it as Charing?

    "From there I went down to Charing and got on the first train ..."

    I imagine in daily speech it's only natural to boil names down to essentials.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't seem to have happened in this reality. Maybe because Charing exists as a different place altogether.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Besides, 99% of all place names in London are extremely awesome, historically weighted, and just sound RIGHT when you say them all together. It feels sort of blasphemous changing Charing Cross at all.
     
  15. Rawne
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    Lived in London most of my life. Was raised a Christian. Have never associated Charing Cross with anything Jesus-related. Just like alter-ego, I thought the 'Cross' was do do with a crossing of roads, or paths, or something else - but never in the biblical sense. I would say, however, as a not-particularly-patriotic English Londoner, seeing Charing Cross changed to Charing Point etc., makes my eyebrow twitch. My tuppence worth: If you feel you really need to drop all association then drop the Cross, but don't change it. And even then, I'd leave it be.
     
  16. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ditto and ditto, but changing things can be a useful literary effect.
     

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