5 Tips To Name Your World [World Building]

Just like naming your characters, naming your world and the places inside it can be difficult. You should give it some thought, but you might be able to just write down whatever comes into your head first.

Naming Your World | World Building | Fantasy | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

1. Have names your readers will remember

Everyone knows Hogwarts. We all know Mt. Doom. They’re not fancy names. Hogwarts is out of this world while the word “Doom” is simple and common. Names don’t have to be simple but they should be memorable.

2. Avoid names that can’t be pronounced easily

Short names are good, long names are fun, a mixture of the two is great. However, when it comes to any name, you should be able to pronounce it easily. Even if your readers have to stop to sound it out, they should be able to make some sort of sense of it.

3. Take names from the things around you

Pay attention to the current world we live in. Graffiti is on the walls, names are in the credits of movies, you can easily take common names and turn it into something else. Some names you can probably use in your world as is. Not everything needs to be made up.

4. Play around with places that already exist

Scramble the letters in your hometown’s name. Spell it backward. Spell it backward and then scramble the letters around. The possibilities are endless.

5. Let names come to you

You don’t always have to sit and brainstorm name ideas. If your characters are going to a new town, you don’t have to know that town’s name right away. Refer to it as “Town A” and bold it so you can easily see it stick out when you’re editing later on. You can always think of a name later. A name may come to you when you least expect it.

How do you typically come up with names for your worlds and places? Let me know in the comments below!

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33 thoughts on “5 Tips To Name Your World [World Building]

  1. I try and find a name that is somewhat unique but at the same time doesn’t stand out. If it is a name I like I use it as well. One thing to always keep track of is to make sure that you don’t forget it. Having Aspergers Syndrome I have a terrible habit of forgetting names when I have started a book and having to write them down. Sometimes if I am writing something from a life experience I will choose a name that was used by someone I knew, say a double barrelled name and change it.

    • Regardless, I write down all my characters anyway. There’s the chance of forgetting the name but also I work on so many projects I can’t remember who is in what story, lol.

    • That’s happened to me before. Sometimes I’ve changed the name and other times I’ve kept it. It’s not really copying the other person and even sometimes if you keep it you may end up changing it anyway if something better pops into your head. With so many ideas out there in the world it’s hard to come up with something that’s 100% unique. You have to decide what’s worth sharing with others and what’s not. Just the other day I went into the bookstore and picked up a book that had a very similar plot to a story I just wrote. It’s frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up your ideas.

      • Rachel, What splendid piece of advice… yes, there are far too many ideas out there and originality is a concept created out of the sum of our experiences. I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks once again for the words of encouragement.

  2. Most times places just create their own name because of the type of place I see in my head. These are great tips, especially the simplicity of a name, and it being pronounceable. Memorable. Great tips as usual!

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