Help with naming places

#1
I have been trying to name cites and towns(there are total 3) in my book but I can't think of anything. I tried the name generator but they were no good. So I wanted to ask how you guys name the places in your books, what should I research and what all do I need to to know about my cities and towns before naming them or if that is necessary or not. 

Re: Help with naming places

#3

In my current project, I decided I wanted different sounding people and place names but I'm lousy at coming up with stuff like that. I don't know if this would work for you, but I resorted to using gaming resources. Since I'm a Traveller RPG fan, I used one of the online word generators available for that game (there are several). The one I used is http://phillwebb.id.au/fudge/traveller/wordgen/. For my human characters and place names, I used one alien language and for my fantasy beasts I used a different alien language. I usually end up shortening longer words. Since the word generator uses set word construction rules, the words generated for one language are all different but at the same time, form consistent patterns of syllables.

An alternative, which I considered, is to find some really old collection of tales or myths if it's close enough to the culture you're building, and then raid it for names ideas. For example, one professional fantasy author I know sat down one day and made a list of all the names and places from the Icelandic Njal's Saga as reference material for a series of Norse-themed fantasy books she published. One could do the same for the Secret History of the Mongols, American Indian creation myths, the Kavevala, etc.

Names are hard. Good luck. 

Re: Help with naming places

#4
villages have basic temp names. towns are named after the founder or by the founder, so any weird naming works. Cities and kingdoms have basic names that go in a theme with the ruler's name. keep a list, it'll help you keep it together. If you are doing some small or mid sized towns, try having the mayor or leader have their last name be the village name. 

Best advice - Keep It Simple 

Re: Help with naming places

#5

shewhowrites Wrote: I have been trying to name cites and towns(there are total 3) in my book but I can't think of anything. I tried the name generator but they were no good. So I wanted to ask how you guys name the places in your books, what should I research and what all do I need to to know about my cities and towns before naming them or if that is necessary or not.


Historically, places would be named after geographical features or historical events, or after founders. For example, you could name a place "Grove of Many Trees." Let's say you build a village there. Over time, the locals start calling it "The Grove." Eventually, it becomes a town, so you could potentially call it Groves' Town. That gets shortened over time to Groveston. 

You can get more creative this as well by using other languages. I've based my own fantasy setting around classical antiquity, so I've butchered Greek for my place names. For example, "three" is tria and "tree" is dentra. Mush them together and you can easily get "Dentria". Now, if we're talking cities, we can talk about Greek polis: Heliopolis would be "City of the Sun", whereas Astropolis would be "City of the Stars". You can definitely play around with naming conventions this way. 

Tl;dr: Decide on your cultural influence and language. Decide on a main feature of the city, whether it be geographical or historical. Figure out the long-form name then think of how it could naturally shorten and change over time. 

Thanks for coming to my TedTalk! =D

Re: Help with naming places

#6
Simple! I invented a language based on each culture in my book, and take names from that!
...yes, really...
Like previous people have said, name them after nearby geography or the person who founded the place. Altho I'll add in that you should get a couple suffixes and use those. Like, ever noticed how many places in the US of A end with -ville or -ton? The UK has a bunch of -shire's. Go down the coast of South America and you'll find hundreds of places that start with Puerto. So figure out what a good word that means village or town (or port, or whatever a shire is) is, and slap that onto the end (or beginning, if it's a different language) of a word that means, I don't know, "big tree" or "gold mine" or "ravine" or whatever.

Re: Help with naming places

#7
I use donjon tools for a lot of things.

https://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/town/

Great at helping come up with a town name, map, ward names, and the other generators can even create NPC's, random encounters (If you need some filler in your book) and character names of different species. You can even poke through it for cool Mcgiuffin names or randomly stupidly powered magical item names.

And none of it is copyrighted except by you.

Either that or you can pull the same stupid trick Tolkein and I shared, spending 20 years building a world before you write in it.

Re: Help with naming places

#9

Brian Wrote: I use donjon tools for a lot of things.

https://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/town/

Great at helping come up with a town name, map, ward names, and the other generators can even create NPC's, random encounters (If you need some filler in your book) and character names of different species. You can even poke through it for cool Mcgiuffin names or randomly stupidly powered magical item names.

And none of it is copyrighted except by you.

Either that or you can pull the same stupid trick Tolkein and I shared, spending 20 years building a world before you write in it.


I did not know this one existed. It's great! I love the culture options! Bookmarked--thanks for sharing. 


ShadowRat Wrote: https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/city-names.php

This has a random generator for everything you could possibly imagine and more.

For example, need a made-up ice cream name? It's there.


Classic! 

Re: Help with naming places

#12

Mad Wrote: Simple! I invented a language based on each culture in my book, and take names from that!
...yes, really...
I took this approach too since my series has 3 (technically 4) canonical languages; Kaiyumian, Reig, Templarian, and Titanic. The Titan language really only comes up in names and is never really spoken so it doesn't fully count.


Effectively, each relevant culture has their own language and I try to find ways people would have named something in their language and applied it which is pretty true to life. For example, there's the northern island Hokkaido in Japan. If you take the name literally, Hokkaido just means "northern sea route".

If you get stuck on this, use a word generator but don't let it pick for you. A generator is really good for picking up inspiration and running with it. For example, I just ran a planet name generator and one option I had was Chustrouvis. Looks cool but difficult to say, but it made the sounds for me. I can play around with saying it 5 or 10 times fast until I get something a little more natural like Shuvoris or Shutorvis. Get the sound and general idea and play with it enough times until you get something that's easier to say. That's generally what happens to city names anyway; people take shortcuts in language and often change or drop syllables that are not needed.