Difficulties of making up names...

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Crowmire
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Difficulties of making up names...

Post by Crowmire » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:15 am

Okay, I have this steampunk projekt called(or at least it was supposed to be) Miatra. It's a twist from my hometown name, Imatra.
I had already designed logo for it, and now I just found out that Miatra is a.) a restaurant somewhere b.) person's name.
I don't know if I should change it or not, would that be like "there's this dark city called HERBERT and ancient evil race called Bob"?

Where do you draw the line of NOT using the words, that might mean something in some languages? And what methods do you use for making up fantasy/scifi names?

In this case I'd really like to keep the connection to my hometown, as the world itself is based on it and I'm inspired by the stuff I was into as a child when I lived there etc. But does it look ridiculous to some people?

I could use some tips, and opinions about the name.

o/

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thirdeyeh
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by thirdeyeh » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:29 pm

I think it's a big leap for someone to go from the name you are giving your project to thinking "man he stole that from a restuarant." With names and things as long as you're not ripping off a name for a project that is clearing held elsewhere, like if my next book is call James Bond, you'll probably be fine. I would only be concerned if you think you are violating a copyright. Otherwise name creation is a very fluid thing for me. Names attach themselves to characters like they did on my daughter Story. It just felt right and we stuck with it. I don't overthink it too much.
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Crowmire
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by Crowmire » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:19 am

thanks for sharing your opinion.

I had a discussion about the subject yesterday and we came to conclusion that you just can't avoid it. I heard there's a fantasy series which name means coffee in finnish. Also, I remembered that in popular forgotten realms world there's an area called Vaasa, which is a city in Finland, and a godess called Mielikki, which is a character from finnish saga, Kalevala.

So, I'll just use the name I orginally intended.

cheers.

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JP
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by JP » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:50 am

I think you can totally roll with Miatra.

I battled with the same problems earlier too, when creating scifi and fantasy comics. Nowadays I tend to just twist ordinary names or mock existing ones (that fit the genre). When in doubt, just google them a million times before using them.
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Seth Wolfshorndl
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by Seth Wolfshorndl » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:35 pm

I agree. Just make sure there aren't any other comics or sci-fi/fantasy novels named that, and if not... go for it.
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Mr. Average
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by Mr. Average » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:24 pm

Personally, I have no problem using real-world place names in fiction, even if they're rearranged or replaced. You cite Vaasa, for example, and even though it's a real place, that does make an interesting place name for anywhere. It adds an interesting link to reality, I think. And anagrams, puns and backwards-names are old tricks from Chester Gould of Dick Tracy fame, who did it frequently for his villains in the '30's and '40's. Edward Nuremoh, for example, was a former baseball pitcher-turned-murderer, Police Sergeant Cursive was a foul-mouthed handwriting analyist... others like Kroywen, Natnus, Rennis, etc. come to mind.

In the end, I think a lot matters on the language, and whether it sounds right when spoken and looks right on the page. One wouldn't have someone named Marcus Capitolinus in a Noir detective drama unless there were a good reason - likwise, someone named Nick Danger is not right for the leader of a Hunnic tribe sacking Rome. I've found that in French I can get away with a lot more than in English, and this may also be true for other languages. It depends on the sounds they naturally make, I guess.

--M
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MeHighLow
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by MeHighLow » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:56 am

You came to a pretty reasonable conclusion yourself: can't avoid it and now the world's connected via interwebs and all, you just have a higher chance of noticing that your cool alien-sounding name for the Holy Mountain of Gods is actually a derogatory term for loan-sharks in Utar Pradesh.

But, one important thing which should not be overlooked, at least IMO, is for your names to have a consistent sound, if you are making up a language (and you implicitly are, because all toponyms initally mean something in the language of the people that have named them).

That is why it is much easier to use an existing language or a derivative thereof and start from there when coming up with names. Tolkien did it that way, and his work is considered a prime example of how to come up with good names. You just choose a language you like the sound of, choose some cool sounding words or toponyms and modify them a little - that way you know what your "invented" name is similar to IRL, but you also know for sure that it is not exactly the same. :)
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rohwer
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Re: Difficulties of making up names...

Post by rohwer » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:19 am

I like this site for getting names, and not having to think about it myself:

http://www.behindthename.com/random/
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