1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    naming a city

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Marcelo, Nov 18, 2008.

    As the title says, I'm having a rough time naming a city for my fictional world. So you are able help me, I'll describe it, but first my world: It is divided into four regions (the farmlands, the highlands, etc.) and each region is governed by a Lord. This city is located in the center of the four regions, and is outside the boundary of them. Many roads lead to this city, as it could be described as the biggest and busiest city in my world. I want to have a simple, but archaic name for it, but everything seems wrong. I was going to call it Bastion, but I wasn't really sure...
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That depends on how you are writing. The tone of the city name, as well as other names throughout the story, should be consistent with the story tone and any cultural characteristics of the land. For a more whimsical tale, you could get away with a fairy-tale name, but for a dark and moody tale, you want a name that is of a similar flavor.

    Thjis is really an author's decision to make. It's also one you can change your mind on at any time during the writing process.
     
  3. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    When it comes to naming things, especially with an archaic feel to them, I like researching lost civilizations and using some variation of their language.

    Suggestions:
    Havalin
    Chromos
    Quatrome (a variation of 'middle of four' in Spanish)
     
  4. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's quite the geometric symmetry you have there... Bastion has already been used in Dragonlance, and probably several other stories. Should that stop you from using it? No.

    The real question is what you want out of the city name. Do you want it to be symbolic? Then maybe dcoin has the right idea. Do you want it to be descriptive? Well, that's on you. Do you just want to have a feeling from it? Then decide waht feeling and find some combination of ltters that evokes it.
     
  5. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    I like 'Quatrome'. Nice ring to it, and it's logical.

    In the real world, most cities/places are named for a very mundane reason.

    Dublin. 'Dubh Linn' -> Black River. Guess what? It's built on a river (which is cast in shadow by the cityscape and thus looks black). Truly inspired.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Excellent point. Some of them are traditional names chosen by settlers to remind them of where they came from(all examples US names):
    Cambridge
    Brighton
    New York
    Cairo
    Lebanon
    Berlin
    Rome
    Albany
    Syracuse
    Aome are named after monarchs, explorers or other leaders:
    Newton
    Washington
    Georgetown
    Hudson
    Columbus (or Columbia)
    Louisville
    St. Louis
    St. Paul
    San Francisco
    Then some are named forconcepts important to the founders:
    Providence
    Defiance
    Liberty
    And some are taken from the languages of native peoples:
    Milwaukee
    Algonquin
    Tallahassee
    Sioux Falls
    Finally (well, in this list anyway), some are just renderings of words like town, village, or city, or landmark features with qualifiers:
    Southborough (Middleborough, Westborough, etc.)
    Eastham.
    Centerville
    Hillborough
    Northbridge
    Plainsville
    Middleton
    Eastbrook
    Rockport
    Palm Beach, Palm Springs
    Pittsburgh, Pittsfield (combining with the fam,ous person category)

    Keep these naming methods in mind when creating city names. You may be able to add depth to your story in some cases by hinting at past events through such names.
     
  7. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Yeah, that's what I'm doing. I investigated the names of counties and cities in Britain and Ireland, and got suffixes like:

    -ton
    -by
    -ley
    -ling
    -borough
    -shire
    -well
    -bridge

    And so on. The place-naming process is going pretty well, I just have don't know how to name certain things. It certainly is difficult, as right now I want to name a smoking weed (like tobacco), you know, like Mr. Tolkien's pipe-weed.
     
  8. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's no need to re-invent the wheel... what's wrong with just using "tobacco"? Are you going for a "weed" with significantly different properties?
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Toronto is called what it's called because it means "Meeting place" is a first nations languages (don't remember which). And Canada comes from the Mohawk word for village. That's somewhat what I like to do in naming people and places. I take a real word or name in another language that fits the tone and tweak it.
     
  10. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    I was planning to use tobacco... But I need the word 'weed' in it, and when I think of tobacco the image of a cigarrette sprouts in my mind. I want something older.
     
  11. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why specifically "weed"? Just to have all the background, you understand.
     

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