The One Where I Determine Place Names
I've said this in another post, naming things is either comes to me like a spark of brilliance or I really have to take the time to stop and think.
Naming places, however, is also different from naming characters. While I still follow the same conventions as naming the people, the designation of places has a different feel to them. Names are still important, but for me it boils down to how I can best describe a place versus finding a name that defines the place.
For my first book, many of the names were inspired by two things. One, by my friend's or family's names, or their children. Two, by finding synonyms to the word 'light' and 'dark'. This is because the Broken Realms is comprised of the Sun Realm and the Shade Realm. Pretty basic, right? Yep, it worked for me, too. For example, The Klaroni Cordillera. A word that can be related to 'light' is clarity. Now that I say that, can you see the word in the name? Also, I chose friends and family as inspiration because they all have beautiful names that I thought could be manipulated into 'fantasy' names. Work smarter, not harder.
That's just the names in the Sun Realm. I took a different approach to names in the Shade Realm because the culture of the Isokanii people is heavily influenced by tribal Africa with a bit of Middle Eastern (think Turkey). Unlike the Sun Realm that was influenced by medieval Europe. So, when naming the places, it became a fun hunt of the spelling of words in African languages. I used this website to help me look up the words of the thing I wanted to name, and by combining the words from various African groups, Swahili & Yoruba, for example, I was able to make an Isokanii word for the place I wanted.
Unfortunately, many places on the map I drew do not have the Isokanii name, but the Sunarian name for the location. At the time of my map creation, I was still a new writer, so I didn't have all the details of everything worked out. This is something that I've now learned is very important, so I'll be updating the map later this year with the corrected names of each location in the Sun Realm.
An example, though, is the name of the river that divides the realms. In Sunarian it is called The Whispering River, but in Isokanii it is called Quiet Waters or Hlbiilanii (H-luh-bEE-lah-NEE). I actually can't remember which two languages I combined for this name as I don't keep track of that specifically, but you can see that it does make for some interesting pronunciations.
So, that's how I come up with the names for the different locations. At times it's a little off the cuff, and other times I really have to make an effort in how the word(s) both look and sound.