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.
Prompts are an excellent resource for writers. Even if you have a work in progress, you can use prompts for writing exercises, or to give yourself a breather from your main project.
I’m often tweeting that I’m working on something new when I shouldn’t be. Most of these short story starts are sitting unfinished, but I never see them as a waste of time. They help me explore new ideas or try different points of view – I usually write in a close third-person perspective, yet I like to explore first person and omniscient in short stories. How can a writer find their voice if they hold themselves back from exploring all the options?
Stories can be as long or as short as you want, they just need a beginning, a middle, and an end. So, without further rambling, here are 5 fantasy prompts I hope will get your creative juices flowing, leading you to a middle and end.
It’s that time again. The Furious Fiction results are out. I didn’t make the longlist, but I think I failed to satisfy one of the criteria. The setting was to be a court, and with the results, they said over half of the story had to take place there. The other criteria were: under 500 words, have a character who measures something, and contain the words balloon, rock, and umbrella.
Regardless, I’m really happy with my entry this month. I’ll strive to improve further next month. Please read my entry below.
CONTENT WARNING: Contains descriptions of a car crash, blood, and injury.
by Gabrielle Steele
My first shower today was scalding – an attempt to feel something. My second is icy, a barrage of rain soaking me through while my umbrella hangs limp beside me. The nothingness only deepens. I’m not really there as I stare through the drab grey bricks of the courthouse. I’m lost in another rainstorm, on the day that shattered my world like a rock through a window.
At twilight that day, I pressed my chin to the steering wheel, peering through driving rain. Headlights dazzled me between furious sweeps of the wipers. I should have gone slower, but I fussed over irritating everyone behind me. If I’d listened to my gut, would I have seen that one car without lights? It sped out from the junction, but I didn’t see it until the terror in her eyes had me slam on the brakes.
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.
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