Creating New Worlds: Part Ten: Names and Language

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Are you excited? It's the last part of this series! Well sort of. I will sum it all up tomorrow and give you a worksheet sort of thing, the one that I use, when creating a new world. You'll see that it's a bit easier than you think.


I mean naming the locations and places in your story, not your characters - although this could apply depending on how you want to work your story.

We did talk about ranks in the military and noble titles and this plays along into it a bit but more specifically. If you have military ranks and noble titles - but you made them up, why did you choose the ones you did? I read a novel once where soldiers added a prefix to their last name to show their rank. It changed their last name entirely. If I remember correctly, the prefix was a letter or two with an apostrophe so it would look like this : Last name: Palmer, with rank Ni'Palmer.

When it comes to naming or making up your ranks and titles, what reason did you use them? Were they chosen by some historical event or after a deity? (Like "Knights of the Goddess Harley" have a special way to show their status or something, that differentiates themselves from regular Knights.)

Now naming your towns and other locations (and even your characters) where do the people in your world draw inspiration from? The Gods? History (famous people or events)? A little of both? Knowing this bit of information can add a bit to your story and how the characters interact with their world. In my novel "The Story of William Archer", the towns are named after famous military heroes that fought for the country of Ollur when it was first established. Now, this does not have any real bearing on the story plot it self, but it does have importance to William. He loves Ollur and it's people and having him think of the wonderful history that made the country really cements to the reader how much William cares for his country. Your story may have the deities come into play which could tell the reader how your character has a strong faith or perhaps how the country itself feels about faith - as in the entire country holds faith and religion to a high importance.

This gives a huge clue into what type of people are in your story - what drives them. Like with William, he is driven to protect Ollur - and it's rich history - from a tyrant King. So, I had to make up little stories about the history of the country.

No, you don't have to do this! So don't freak out. It is just one more layer that you could add. Your story may not need this layer at all. In "The Adventures of Ryn and Ciyme" I just made up the names with no particular reason why. They were just a way to label the places the characters went to.


No, you don't need to make up an entire language like Tolkien did for his elves in "Lord of the Rings". You could yes, and I give you huge kudos for doing so! It's hard to do - I've tried and epically failed.

That being said, I'm sure you're wondering what I mean. I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi novels that perhaps only make up a few words that cannot be "translated" into English. This can include things like drinks, food, other objects, or ideals (like honor or faith or love).

You could also use another language that is not your own! In "The Kinir Elite" I have Latin sprinkled throughout the story. Derac, is the captain but Kie calls him "Centurio" which does mean captain in Latin but is for a captain of a huge battalion not a small group. I also use the world "salve" for "hello or greetings" and a few other common things. I also have a phrase that the Elite say to one another at the start of the mission that basically says "Live Slow, Die Fast" (loose translation - supposed to really convey the meaning to enjoy life but do not suffer in death) - but I write it in Latin each time.

Also, in the "Faery's Tale" I don't ever say any words in the faery or elvin languages but I do make mention of the difference. When the faery's are with the elves, obviously they are speaking two different languages so to tell the difference I simply say "she said in faery". So the reader still knows what is said, but the other characters in the scene don't. (This is the novel where I tried to make up a new language and failed miserably.)

There are a few different options as you can see to show language without making up a new one. Again, you don't have to do this in your novel, but I do want to ask you this "Would an alien race from another planet or dragons in another world speak the same language as us?"

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