5 Simple Steps to Create Fantasy Place Names

World building is great fun, but it’s not always simple. Creating fantasy place names that are easy to read and flow off the tongue can be a challenge, and there is a trope, of sorts, that fantasy names are hard to read and impossible to pronounce.

In all my writing, I try my best to make names for settlements, countries, creatures, and everything else, that anyone can pronounce. I don’t use accents for one simple reason: I struggled to understand them in school.

Apostrophes are considered overdone in fantasy names, and they can make words a mouthful. I (currently) only use them in the names of dragons, which is to do with their naming conventions, and there’s only one in each name. No G’nim’iws’odil type names in my work.

But how can we create natural sounding fantasy place names without being experts in language?

I personally take the approach of using what already exists. Earth is a big place with over 7,000 languages spoken at the time of writing. These have been developed over thousands of years and have beautiful sounds, so why not make use of them?

Below are my 5 simple steps to create fantasy place names using existing languages as a base.

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How to Work with Beta Readers

I often see other writers ask how to find beta readers. Though I’ve only been working with beta readers for a half a year, I thought it would be worth writing a mini guide for people who want extra eyes on their manuscript for the first time.

Step 1: Find the courage to ask a stranger to read your work.

Before I first reached out, I was terrified someone would steal my manuscript or, perhaps worse, takes my ideas and rewrite them. I joined some beta reader groups on Facebook, where I saw people point out the harsh reality: your work is not worth bothering with. Why steal something still in the editing stages, when it’s so easy to scrape the contents of eBooks and publish them under a new title? It’s highly unlikely someone will steal your work, but you can always have them email you an NDA-like statement.

Step 2: Find where the beta readers lurk.

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