Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creating Names

Whenever I read or watch fantasy, I'm always impressed with the names; whether it's a character, a race of creatures or a place. I always wonder how the writer came up with such great and creative names that fit so perfectly into each story.

As I said in my previous post, Characters, Powers and Too Many Drafts, I'm trying to come up with a name for my race of creatures. I've been calling them Dark Creatures but that's far too easy and obvious. I already have a long list of names but they aren't speaking to me. So, I've been using the dictionary and the thesaurus to find a good word that encompasses everything they are.

I love dictionary.com. When I'm researching a potential name, I look at alternate spellings, the word's origins as well as pronunciations. I sometimes like the way the word is pronounced better than the way it's spelled, i.e. lahyt instead of light. The origin maps the word usage throughout history. It's another great way to get alternate spellings as well as different pronunciations and meanings. I have fun playing with the spelling and finding ways to combine words. I think I'll also look at the novels I started but didn't finish. They may be failed attempts but they're great for spare parts. I don't exactly know what I'm looking for but I'll know it when I see it.

Maybe the reason I'm having problems finding the right name is because I'm not looking up the right words. I know, in my head, what my creatures are and what they represent so, I've started writing out everything about them. I've never done this before. I learn about my characters not by mapping them out but by putting them in a situation and watching how they react. So, I've pulled out that World Building journal again. Now, I'm writing down everything the stories have taught me about my creatures. Doing this also helps me find any plot holes and I'm discovering there are a lot.
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