|The Great Name Building Advice Tutorial
Author: CalliScribbles PM
Do your fantasy names sound like you're spitting out scrabble tiles? Naming 'themes' fall flat when they're on paper? Find yourself reusing the same handful of names because they're the only ones you like the sound of? Use this, and never rely on random 'fantasy name' generators again! *All advice has been field tested by incredible amounts of shouting.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Chapters: 7 - Words: 11,184 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 09-22-12 - Published: 06-05-12 - id: 3029623
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This chapter contains brand names, gratuitous chemicals, bad spelling, and little humor. It should not be disposed of in fire, water or acid, and should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, far away from weasels.
3. Take advantage of your natural dyslexia
You know what happens when somebody's talking and you're zoned out, and you hear something that they shouldn't reasonably have said? There's two reasons that this happens: one, they've noticed that you're paying no attention and have just punk'd you, or two, your inner auto-correct has gone mad with power, and you're experiencing a thought-you-said.
More relevantly to our purpose here, it often sounds nothing like its root word. Especially if it's being spelled, not heard. The same principle applies to things that are being read – your brain switches letters around to make more sense, to form words that you might already know. Or just things that sound more like words than the original. This method is the first cousin of the keyboard smash, but it's far more reliable. Why? Well, we're having your brain see something that makes sense, or not much sense, and we're irritating it into making a different kind of sense.
I'm going to get a list of random words here, bear with me a minute.
Aniline, Benzoate, Toluene, Ketone, Halogen, Aldehyde, Alkali, Methylpropan, Pentylene, Hydroxolene, Acanthite, Celsian, Galena, Nitrol.
Don't worry, they're not supposed to make sense or go together. Just get random words: lists of names of things in science can be good: in this case, assorted organic chemicals and some minerals – but I've done it with the names of shells, various plants, paints, and random brandnames on the sides of trucks. Some of these (Galena, Celsian,) strike me as good names on their own, but some of the other ones are too long or need to be rearranged. You could, certainly, use method one on them, but I'm going to show you what happens when I take out the punctuation and start typing them really fast without pausing to check for spelling or actually reading the words:
Ainilien benzoate toluene katone halogenladehyde alkali meythylpropan pentylene htdroolene acanthite celsian galena nitrol.
Do not look at the screen or your keyboard when typing, you will autocorrect. The trick is to pick words that you don't really know how to spell and to type without stopping, as fast as you can. And then you get spelling errors such as the following.
Ainilien – I love stuff that ends in en, it's one of those non specific markers of "this is a name, but not necessarily specific to a gender or classificiation of object." I have personally taken this word and modified it into girls' names in the past, using both the word as a given name (Aniline) and derivatives such as Anlynn, Aneline, etc, but misspelling it on accident instead of looking for patterns has turned up a word that I never would have thought of. This is what makes this method such a good companion to methods one and two, giving you a greater range and variety.
Katone – Yeah, you probably could have gotten this by using method one. Some of your spellings will be like this, but pay attention to enough tongue slips and spelling flubs and you'll accumulate a handy list of made-up words so that you won't have to chug through methods one and two in order to find something.
Halogenaldehyde – Honestly, this probably needs to have method one applied to it. We'll make some names out of it nonetheless, though: Halogald, Genalde, Logenald, Ogen, Alde, Aloge… sometimes it's not the whole word that's interesting, but parts of it that look new and exciting.
Htdroolene – One in every three to five misspellings is a dud. I mean, you could find an appropriate way to use it, but the first part of this that sticks out is a real word, drool, and the rest looks like gratuitous consonants and somebody smacking on an ending that had some vowels. When you're misspelling, rearranging, or keyboard mashing, it is important to remember what you want the words, read aloud, to sound like.
It was a beautiful day in the gardens of Anilien, with the iridescent butterflies singing, and the birds a warm rumble in the bushes, flitting about in search of flowers. Princess Katone, however, was not appeased by the beauty of the sight before her: life in the palaces of Alde, where only the royal family and their retainers were allowed, was beginning to chafe. Once, she remembered, there had been stories of distant places, of the mountains of Halogald, the crisp, sharp snows of Solwaren, and the rainbow seas of Ogen.
Sighing softly, she turned towards one of her maidens, who was playing a haunting melody on the Htdroolene, and said…
I can't type properly right now. It might be the spelling (believe me, this will make you very conscious of your own typing ability or lack thereof) or the fact that I'm about to bust a gut about how anyone could play something called an Htdroolene. See, there's no way that could ever become a word, because – if you refer to the phonemes of chapter one – it's obvious that H, T, and D shouldn't go together. Their sounds are too similar, and your tongue gets confused. They need a vowel or a soft consonant, or at least some variation, in order to form sounds that make any sense.
I'm sure you get the idea of not making things sound like your scrabble game barfed in your word processor by now, so I'm going to leave you with a list of good places to get words which you can misspell, mispronounce, and mangle to your heart's content, often times to make truly original words, that you can then tweak a little more consciously.
Textbooks – If you really need the vocabulary list, then misspelling it to death is a good idea. If the vocabulary list is useless to you, either look for more interesting tidbits (names of geography bits, names of old-fashioned artifacts, famous people, chemical names, parts of cells)
Wikipedia and Encyclopedias – Click the random article button, or simply let it fall open to a random page. I guarantee, there are plenty of words in the English language that you haven't heard of yet, and they aren't all words like aglet. You can use a dictionary too, but reading large chunks of text in an encyclopedia is also a good way to make your brain start misfiring letters on its own.
Company Names – People make good money coming up with marketable names like Band Aid, Kleenex, and Cheerios. But not everything sticks this well. Mangle up the names of lesser-known companies or products. And then realize that if writing falls through, you can use your wordsmith skills in at least one unrelated field.
Other books and fandoms – Don't plagiarize. Do note that people seem unable to spell certain things – at least one fandom has a list of these and calls them mini-balrogs. However, don't ever use something that you can immediately say "That's just X misspelled" because it's cheating. But if you really screw up something, say you type Hermiohn (Hermione, just for an example,) and then use it in a completely different setting, (The spaceship finally touched down on the dusty surface of the Hermiohn, the moon of Analke…) then you'll be good.
On that note, stay away from really common words, especially ones that you personally have an inability to properly spell. I, for example, always spell the following: tounge, thoroughtly (Never thourought, just thouroughtly,) sandwitch, vaccum. But all of them are far too recognizable for my purposes, so I just have my word-processor kill them off for me. If I named an object a tounge, then I'd be pronouncing it just like tongue (which would be confusing) as well as occasionally throwing the reader and myself off by actually typing the proper word.
Remember, every time you misspell something, it's a potential name. Just exercise some selection in what you match your names up with and which sounds you use.