Last month, I discussed how to come up with character names for good fantasy books. Building upon that foundation, I wanted to take a step further and discuss naming locations. Though I don’t claim to be the go-to expert on this category, I believe that my approach will help you in forming a fantasy world of your own. So, let’s review the basics.
Fantasy Novel Locations
When naming locations in your fantasy fiction story, it is important to realize one thing: this should be your last step. If you don’t already know exactly where the location is, its approximate elevation, humidity, normal weather patterns, seasonable changes, etc., then you cannot hope to come up with a name that adequately gets the message across.
Remember, good fantasy books are separated from your average, run-of-the-mill story by a strong attention to detail. If you cannot give your readers the impression of your locations that you want them to have, it will greatly diminish the message you are sending. As a writer, my job is to ensure that I can convey the information I need to convey in as few words as possible. Yours should be the same.
A name allows your readers to get a much stronger image of exactly what a location looks and feels like. Though this is no substitute for engaging the five senses, it can greatly compliment your initial efforts and help ensure a successful picture is established. Some writers want to leave things up to imagination, and others want to paint a definite picture. Whichever you choose, a name can go a long way to ensuring you accomplish your goal.
So, how do you really come up with names?
Good Fantasy Books Naming
Examples are often the best way to illustrate a point, so I will use one of the names from Evorath as an example. Let’s start with the most notable location: Erathal Forest.
There were two major points that I wanted to get across about the forest. One, it is very old, and two, it is all-encompassing. Now, this might seem basic, but sometimes the best names are the most basic. The start of the word “Era,” is drawn from the measurement of time with the same name. The end of the word “thal” is meant to be a variation of tall. It’s tall and old, giving residents a beautiful place to live. Furthermore, compounding the word brought forth images in my head of a verdant jungle. Of course, there was some research involved as well, and I spoke to some people about the name to see what images it created in their mind with similar results. Regardless, it sounds simple and it really is.
Next month, I’ll go into general rules for naming anything from characters to basic objects. Until then, keep enjoying good fantasy books. Do you have techniques you use in your own stories? Comment below!