1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you come up with creature names?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Lea`Brooks, May 13, 2014.

    Hola!

    So I'm writing a fantasy novel. It involves a lot of creatures of myth (werewolves, faeries, vampires, etc.), and my MC is one of them. Originally, I had planned to make him a golem. But upon further review and discussion among forum members, I've realized that's not the way to go. I'm getting rid of the term golem and am going to call it something else. But my issue is, I can't figure out what to call it.

    I have my creature. I have his features and his abilities and whatnot. I have HIS name. But the creature name, his race, is just.. not coming to me. How do you go about finding a good name for a creature? I obviously need one that hasn't been used before.. And I've writing another novel where I made up several creature names. But that technique isn't working this time.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imagination
    combining attributes
    adapting an existing name
     
  3. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    What is wrong with golem? Frankenstein's monster was a golem. Golems tended to be mindless, but Frankentein's monster is technically a flesh golem and could think (ref: the original Frankenstein novel, not the Boris Karloff movie).

    Is your MC not an artificially animated construct?
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    We had a discussion here (http://writingforums.org/threads/use-a-real-creature-or-make-up-my-own.132444/) about whether or not what I'm writing about is considered a golem. And based on their input (and some outside sources), I decided that they were right. So now I'm needing a new name for my creature. :) And I'm struggling. I think writer's block has kicked in. :(
     
  5. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Hmmmm...I have a game, "Emperor: Battle for Dune" and there is a faction that uses the dead for soldiers. As they kill living soldiers, the dead rise up as animated corpses that do the same:

    Tleilaxu is the name of the faction and the unit is called a contaminator.
     
  6. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I like maia's suggestions. Since in the linked thread you said they're made of clay, why not use a synonym, like kaolin or adobe? You could add a prefix or suffix to either that would resemble what they change into, or just the fact that they change. There's the Greek word therianthropy that means changing from human to beast...so you could combine that into "theriadobe" for something like a "clay beast." Look at the etymology of some words and play with their original sources to create something that fits the exact description of what your creature is or can do.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You might reach to other languages for roots to use and build on. That's always fun. :) If the creature is made of clay, then...

    Lodo - (actually means mud in Spanish, but is often used to mean clay)
    Argilla - Italian
    Gleena - Russian (глина)

    Pretty much all the Germanic languages use a word that sounds exactly like clay, though spelled differently, so I didn't bother with those. ;)
     
  8. grimmsistr
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    grimmsistr Member

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    You could use an irish or gaelish Word. Look at a dictionary. To me Irish Words sounds like the names of creatures made from mud or clay :p (I like the irish language by the way, just saying)
    Here a some I think sounds mud-ish: Shúíle - Chodladh - Théigh - Vendalough
    You could also look at maps for place names in different languages and look for a muddy place or a swamp :)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'gaelish'?

    did you mean 'gaelic'?
     
  10. grimmsistr
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    grimmsistr Member

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    Ups ! yes I do :)
     
  11. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    I let my kids come up with creature names. They're pretty inventive.
     
  12. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would it be too weird and... thief-like if I named my creatures bolems? Bole is defined as the trunk of a tree and a soft earthy clay. Since the creatures are made of clay and sticks and sap, I felt the term fit perfectly. But Bole just seems too plain. And because they are similar in some ways to a golem, I thought switching one letter could acknowledge that the are similar but different. But I wonder if people would be angry about it?

    What do you think? Should I just use Bole in a different way?
     
  13. Kekec
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    Kekec Member

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    Maybe a portmanteau could work in this case? You want a name for a creature made of clay, so why not call him Clayture?
     
  14. wolfenburg
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    wolfenburg Member

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  15. Soft Rains
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    Soft Rains Member

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    I think it would be better to use bole in a different way. "Bolem" is just too darn close to golem which--for me--is a bit distracting. It reminds me of the movie "Avatar" and how they called the mineral that the government wanted to harvest from the Avatar planet "unobtainium". Really?? They couldn't think of anything more clever to call it? So it just sounded plain silly instead of something a little more fitting for this amazingly creative fantasy world.

    I like the other suggestions of going to another language. It also plants a fun little easter egg for your readers that may end up looking the word up.

    Good luck! :)
     

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