PDA

View Full Version : Naming Locations



AllyWoof
02-20-2008, 09:07 PM
I'm not sure where this thread really needs to go. If it needs to be moved, feel free.


Um my question is how do you guys come up for names places like beaches, camps, ect? If anyone could offer a suggestion I would appreciate it.

DeleyanLee
02-20-2008, 09:39 PM
I go straight from the "feel" I'm trying to establish for the world. Names are very good for establishing that feel of consistency in a nicely subtle way.

That goes not only for names of locations, but characters as well, FWIW.

I'd suggest thinking about what sense you want the reader to take away from the gist of names in the area.

zenwriter
02-20-2008, 10:04 PM
This may not be very exciting, but I browse atlases and phone books.

sassandgroove
02-20-2008, 10:20 PM
Good question. Right now I am wondering how many real locales I can keep and how many I should change the name of or just refer to in the abstract, like "a small town in North Carolina."

aka eraser
02-20-2008, 10:26 PM
Many site names stem from a nearby distinguishing geographical feature: Sandy Bay, Hawknose Point, Misty Mountain Camp etc.

Envision the surroundings into which you're going to plunk your characters. The more realistic it becomes in your mind's eye, the more believable it will be in your writing. (And easier to name too. ;))

maestrowork
02-20-2008, 10:49 PM
Or Hot Tub Lake. I like that one.

chevbrock
02-21-2008, 05:19 AM
I'm writing a fantasy romance at the moment, and the place names are genus names for some native plants.

A lot of places are named after people, too. Try looking at your bookshelf. Pick a name off one of the spines. Then add a bay, a beach, a knob, whatever.

If you need somewhere exotic-sounding, I suggest going to Babel Fish. Pick a word and translate it. Then add bay, beach, knob, whatever.

AllyWoof
02-21-2008, 07:44 PM
This may not be very exciting, but I browse atlases and phone books. I like that idea.


Many site names stem from a nearby distinguishing geographical feature: Sandy Bay, Hawknose Point, Misty Mountain Camp etc.

Envision the surroundings into which you're going to plunk your characters. The more realistic it becomes in your mind's eye, the more believable it will be in your writing. (And easier to name too. ;)) I've decided to make my local a beach club. So........Fill-in-the-Blank Cove, mabye?

dreamsofnever
02-24-2008, 09:24 AM
Where's it located? I love coming up with names! Is it supposed to be relaxing, sexy, exotic, what?

It's a bit different, but when coming up with names for superheroes, I'll usually think of a word that describes them and what they can do, and then I'll look it up on thesaurus.com and come up with a related word.

So, say you want your cove to be relaxing. There's Tranquility Cove, Harmony Cove, Peaceful Cove, and this one I just liked, but it's quite a few degrees away: Rapture Cove.

Otherwise, there's going with a last name. You can look up last names online and get something from that.

Good luck with the naming!

Claudia Gray
02-24-2008, 09:40 AM
Like Deleyan, I try to think of something with the right mood. So far, if I'm not writing about a large city, I always make a place up; I am sure to check Wikipedia and Google to make sure my invented place doesn't actually exist.

AllyWoof
02-24-2008, 08:51 PM
Iam looking for a name for a beach. Um I want it located in florida.

dreamsofnever
02-26-2008, 10:20 AM
Ally, did you see my suggestions above? Let me know if those don't work. I would be happy to come up with a few more if you have a 'feel' you want for the beach.

Good luck with the names!

HourglassMemory
02-27-2008, 03:21 AM
Grab a name from ANYWHERE, and move around the letters. Or grab two names, cut them in half and join two different parts. You can have a lot of fun doing this.
then add to that things like : ville ; Lake ; Town ; Forest ; Woods ; Mountains, "any natural formation" ; Bridge ; Pass ; Garden(s) ; Park, Square, Tunnel, Beach.

What makes the road, or the bridge, or the beach, or the town, "famous"? Why does it have that name? What makes it have that name? There has to be, inevitably a story behind it.
Usually you see people giving names to places because of what can be found there.
You could call it white beach, or garbage Beach.
At first it might not sound even like a good name, but if you repeat it after a while, throughout the story, readers, and you hopefully, get used to it, and it becomes a name.

Expanding Ink
02-27-2008, 06:03 AM
There are all sorts of strange name generators online, too. It's not quite as creative as coming up with something on your own, but they can be helpful if you're in a hurry or looking for something really different. I use them sometimes when I find that all my handmade names are beginning to sound alike.

Richard White
02-27-2008, 09:38 AM
One of my favorite resources is the Perry-Castaņeda Library Map Collection (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/) at the University of Texas. Lots of maps, but more importantly lots of "historical" maps.

As a fantasy writer, coming up with place names that sound exotic, but not ridiculous, is always a challenge, but hey, go grab a map about Medieval France or Ancient Roman Britian or scenic Nepal at the turn of the century and there are all kinds of names just waiting to be added to the world map I'm building.

But, if I'm doing modern stuff, it's great also, because if you need to know how long it would take to drive from Kabul to New Delhi (or if it's even possible), there are probably maps there that'll help. And they have lots of links to other map libraries.

A useful resource for the cartographer in all of us. *grin*

bubbagringo
02-27-2008, 10:36 PM
Iam looking for a name for a beach. Um I want it located in florida.

Pelican Bay

CH1
04-05-2008, 05:30 PM
Would you ever use, real street names from an area, it's just I'm at the start of a long journey and I wanted to try and give the reader a real feel for the place by writing a horror in an area I felt I knew well.

Phaeal
04-05-2008, 06:04 PM
Palmetto Bug Cove. Oh, all right, you can leave out the "bug." But they WILL be there, nonetheless. Ya gotta love the local color. ;)

Phaeal
04-05-2008, 06:05 PM
Would you ever use, real street names from an area, it's just I'm at the start of a long journey and I wanted to try and give the reader a real feel for the place by writing a horror in an area I felt I knew well.

In my New England stories, I use real street and place names all the time, alongside invented names in invented towns.

I love using settings I know.

AllyWoof
04-05-2008, 07:43 PM
I finally came up with a name. Thanks for the tips, though. Keep them coming for future ference.

RickN
04-09-2008, 06:50 PM
My last novel was set in the ficticious town of Greeley's Ford, GA. Until, that is, a reviewer said she thought it was a car dealership. :Shrug:

RJK
04-09-2008, 08:02 PM
I'm using Niagara Falls as the setting for my first and second novels (working on the second now), and probably a few more if these are successful.
I use real locations if nothing controversial happens there (stop at Burger King for coffee, etc.). I make up a business name and put it in a convenient location if anything significant happens at that location.
I use real street names but change the address, if I use one, to a non-existing one. IMO it adds realism to the story while insuring that no one will think I'm writing about their home or business.
Since I've lived and worked in that city most of my life, I'm very familiar with all of the streets, businesses and neighborhoods. It helps me keep the geography straight in my head. I can see the neighborhood as I write and describe it.

Jenan Mac
04-09-2008, 08:37 PM
Iam looking for a name for a beach. Um I want it located in florida.


In Florida? Anything with the name Palm is probably already taken, so my suggestion would be translate whatever descriptor you want into Spanish, then double check an atlas to make sure it doesn't already exist. And nothing is too weird. We already have a town called Rat Mouth, for pete's sake.

Jenan Mac
04-09-2008, 08:41 PM
Good question. Right now I am wondering how many real locales I can keep and how many I should change the name of or just refer to in the abstract, like "a small town in North Carolina."


I sort of went for the Garrison Keillor approach-- you take a general geographical location, and use the name of bigger cities (Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Cloud), but the main setting is made up.
In my case, the area I've chosen has a fair number of smallish towns that end in -boro or -borough. So my fictional one (Alderboro) is just one of the pack, and fits in pretty easily.

Jenan Mac
04-09-2008, 08:42 PM
Palmetto Bug Cove. Oh, all right, you can leave out the "bug." But they WILL be there, nonetheless. Ya gotta love the local color. ;)


There's a Cockroach Bay not far from me, actually!