1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Places names

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by jazzabel, Mar 24, 2014.

    I have several places names to invent, and even though I have some ideas, and I'm using provisional names in the WIP, I'd appreciate if anyone is feeling creative and cared to share.

    I need to name an island and a larger country it belongs to. The trick is, it has to be somewhere in Europe, and it has to be coastal and warm in the summer. It's a completely made up place and location, but it's the closest to those old Greek island states like Crete.

    The other name I need is of an English coastal town. It needs to be located in an imaginary location, no more than 3 hours drive from London. It's one of those ancient places with Norman history and stuck up devil worshipper council members. Not humorous like "Hot Fuzz' but that sort of town in spirit.

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Are you saying you need to invent a fictional island and a fictional country to which it belongs?
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I have the places down, it's just the names that I'm struggling with (as per usual) :)
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hmmm...I think anything you come up with, if it's based on any existing names, will have to have an association that is Balkan, Greek or Turkish. That could be a problem unless you're already leaning in one of those directions.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I definitely want to avoid that can of worms :D I used some Maltese names, you know how they are, they can sound like anything along the Mediterranean, but I'm having trouble picking a name for the places. So far, I have a northernmost city called Prodan, a politician called Vincent 'Censu' Drago, and the country is about 350 km away from Germany. The coast is hot, dry, sparse vegetation with cypress trees, wild thyme, hardy grasses, cracked earth in summer. There's good amount of coastal access for a navy invasion. If the island was in the middle of Adriatic, it would be one of those like Corsica or Sardinia that were always independent, and are now unwillingly a part of one of the countries on either side. But the country needs to be neutral, imaginary, almost a bit Greek in flair, which is why I also had Crete in mind. Europe is so densely populated so it's difficult to squeeze it in, but there's gotta be a space for a little country nobody really thinks about, like Luxembourg or Lichtenstein or something.

    This is not a main feature in the book, it's a location of a subplot, but I'd like to nail a few details to make it a bit more 'solid' on paper. Thanks for helping Ed! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  6. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    How about Isle Loukas for the island? I knew a Greek guy called Loukas. I can't think of a good name for a country though...

    I wonder if Sagebright Cove has been used before. I was thinking of druids and herblore but it might not sound sinister enough.
     
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  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like Loukas, it sounds Greek but not too Greek. Thanks for your suggestion @vera2014 :)
     
  8. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    I was thinking last night...what about Poison Berry Cove for the English coastal town? Or, it could be the name of a poisonous berry that grows in England...
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @vera2014 : Just looked them up, the ones that might work are Yew, Holly and Ivy. But in the UK, they tend to be more of a name for a cottage than a town. I found this list of prefixes and suffixes that are often found in British town names, though, it's looking promising, like Hollywick, Yewstead etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  10. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    "Hot rocks" , " Shed waves". Hotrock - Shedwaves
     
  11. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    This had me thinking about the Sack of Troy and the Trojan war for some reason, maybe you can play around a bit with names referring to such events.

    Maybe something about the Golden Apple?
    "The word ΤΗΙ ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΗΙ (Ancient Greek: τῇ καλλίστῃ tē(i) kallistē(i), Modern Greek: τη καλλίστη ti kallisti; "for/to the most beautiful")[2] was inscribed on the Golden Apple of Discord by Eris. Καλλίστῃ is the dative singular of the feminine superlative of καλός, beautiful. In Latin sources, the word is pulcherrimae."

    (from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_of_Discord)
     
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  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's awesome, thank you @Michael Collins. In my language we have declinations, and I do know Latin a bit (knew it fluently years ago) so just seeing 'dative' made me really excited. A word I haven't heard in a really long time :)
    I love Kallisti and it can serve as the ancient name for the island. This island was a source of a certain kind of creature that has, since ancient times, dispersed all over the world, so it'll need an ancient name that sounds beautiful and dark.

    Thanks @Mans they sound great as names for beaches around the English town :)
     
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  13. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    About English coastal town with Norman heritage you could look up some ancient Norman words and turn them into town names.

    An example would be Mauvenez or Mauveness (Mauve meaning Seagull, Nez (modernized as "ness") meaning Cliff or Headland)
     
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  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mauveness sounds like a town in Scotland. But it could work, "mauve" alluding to the insipid mediocrity or some such. Thanks for the suggestion! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
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  15. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    Aye, it does sound Scottish, probably because of Stromness.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Michael Collins : Inverness and Loch Ness :D
     
  17. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Greek-esque place name suggestion example: Alistamede (you could also play around with the letters or look up actual greek place names and go off of those)

    English place name suggestions (this depends on the kind of location (a seaside town, a city by a river, a historical region etc.; you could use places like Wikipedia to look up which affixes are used in which types of place names and how they're pronounced etc., and this also depends on how serious a name you want (as it's quite easy, both in the accidental and the prorposefully sense, to create a ridiculous name that can't be taken seriously): Stringworth-upon-Frent, Trabbetshire, Singeshire (these are just examples, and simpler, shorter place names are also common; like London, Tring, Bath, Bristol, Derby, Rugby, Exeter, Leeds and York are also common)

    Know that the more specific you are about where it is and what kind of place it is the more like you are to get readers confused or annoyed at you for deciding on a name that doesn't make any sense. Also don't think that the readers need to know all that specifically where it is. In fact now knowing can make it more new and exciting and gives you more space to create your own place and the readers more time to focus on the actual story. Sometimes, though, it's also true that the simpler the name the better. Readers will have to learn all your names, place names or not, during the time it takes to read while you may have years to do the same as you're writing it, so fewer and simpler names tends to be better, but not if the place isn't important enough, or whatever, to have a short name and the readers will be confused as to which place is which because they're so interchangeable. It's the same reason why you don't see or two people named John or anyone named Trangefeyuareabhsfeaeressete in a work of fiction unless it's meaningful to the plot.
     
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  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for your suggestions @Bjørnar Munkerud :) I live in the UK so one of the things I noticed is that real place names have a feel to it, and it can definitely be difficult to invent a real-sounding place name. I have researched internet extensively for names, but I'm terrible with names, I don't know why but I either know the name straight away or I draw a complete blank.
     
  19. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    OK, I assumed you weren't all to familiar with it just in case, but as it turns out you probably know England better than I do. My points still staind, though. :) :p Good luck on finding some good names, it probably takes a little bit of time of trial and error to figure it out. :D
     
  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure how to approach your greeky island/country, but some of the suggestions sound good.

    As to the English coastal town, reasonably close to London? Well you're in Anglo-Saxon country there, and the coastal town names were also influenced by Norse raiders, and of course the Normans brought over THEIR words and names, too. I'd maybe look at these kinds of words, or get inspiration looking at the map of Denmark, Norway, Normandy, or even Germany (Saxons) then connect them with location spotters (ness, mouth) for a suffix. Lots of coastal areas with -ness at the end of them, in England (Sheerness, Dungeness, Foulness) as well as Scotland. It's of Old English derivation, apparently, and means 'headland or promentory.' Lots of south coastal towns end in -mouth. Of course there's always the twee-sounding '-on-Sea' suffix, but that's risking a Miss Marple-y tone.

    Looking at an atlas index can give you lots of ideas for place names, by the way. Not only will it keep you from inadvertently choosing a name that already exists, but it gives you ideas on how to combine names as well.

    And there's always the phone book. Look up surnames and stick a suffix onto them, and Bob's Your Uncle, as they say in these parts.

    I noticed someone suggested names ending in Cove. I think this is more a New England/Nova Scotian thing. I've had to make up a Nova Scotian coastal town name for my own story, so I did research on this very topic. It's a very common ending in Nova Scotian place names, but I don't think English towns tend to end in 'cove' although I'm prepared to be proved wrong.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
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  21. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks so much @jannert for such a helpful comment. You gave me loads of ideas to work with :)
     

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