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Writers Workshop > Location naming feedback

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message 1: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Hello everyone.
I've decided to try asking for some feedback/help with an issue that I let pretty much untended for a while and only started looking at it now when I am getting closer to the beta version.
The problem is... in the royal palace. Of course, different parts of it will be used for different purposes and will be called something. It's easy for some that don't need anything special ("Royal Library" works well enough) but some were a bit more troublesome and for all the time I am drafting this, remained under working names and such. I've come up with some names for those and thought I might as for some feedback or - if someone feels generous enough - their own suggestions.

One of those that I struggled for a while to come up with a decent name was the part where the elite magi reside and work, under the working name "mage quarter" which is obviously bad. My current idea is calling that section "Halls of Divination" but I still think it might be better.

The even worse problem is the section where the officers of the army have their offices and such, called simply (and awfully) "military wing" in the drafts. The ideas I had so far are something like "Halls of Arms" or "Halls of the Blade". I hope I'll have some better ideas but maybe someone around here can nudge me in the right direction?

I also wonder if I should try to make some kind of unity in the names - like everything named "Halls of [something]" or instead go for more diverse names?


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Gut reaction: "Hall of Divination" is about as generic sounding as "Mage Quarter". Same with "Military Wing" and "Halls of Arms". All of them work to give a functioning title to the parts of your castle, none are interesting, creative, etc.

And that might be a good thing.

The bottom line is this: In the world you are writing about, someone named this castle and all the bits and pieces of it. Get into the mind of whoever named these things and it'll be more clear what they should be named. If your king / queen / whatever who named them was a serious, organized thinker who had no room for anything frivolous or jolly, "Mage Quarter" works just fine. If your monarch or whatever is of a silly nature, maybe "Whishboom Factory" would be better.


message 3: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments For your royal palace, some ways to think of room names are: what name did the builders give the castle (most castles have names) where is it, why was it built, and why is it in that location. With those thoughts as a starting point, it might give a prompt for what to call the rooms. If it was a captured castle and renamed, that might be another approach.


message 4: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Thank you both for your insights. I'll surely think more about the background (and other factors as well).


message 5: by Julia (new)

Julia | 5 comments You could try naming one or two rooms from an object or event that thas become a part of the castle's history. For example, a room could be known as "Bridegone" or "Skullsmash," or something similar.


message 6: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments M.L. wrote: "For your royal palace, some ways to think of room names are: what name did the builders give the castle (most castles have names) where is it, why was it built, and why is it in that location..."

And what history has happened there.

You might end up with some very cryptic names, such as The Scarlet Tower for a tower that is not scarlet and has no apparent connection to the color scarlet or anything else. But in its past history the tower might have housed a famous order of knights (or mages or whatever) whose livery was famously scarlet colored.

In short, place names are the result of history more than functionality, and can remain unchanged long after the reason for their naming goes away (tradition has a strong pull on names) ... but they're also subject to periodic change.


message 7: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Thank you both for your input.

Yes, history. So, if the palace was built from scratch by a utilitarian King, utilitarian names would be a good fit, right?


message 8: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 148 comments Tomas wrote: "Thank you both for your input.

Yes, history. So, if the palace was built from scratch by a utilitarian King, utilitarian names would be a good fit, right?"


Yes, I would say that would fit well especially if the history about that King who built it is known in the story. You could also have someone in the story not impressed with the names. For example maybe the mages want a more mysterious name for their quarters... :)


message 9: by Haru (last edited Jul 23, 2018 10:14AM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments My two cents:
If the King is all-powerful, the names he came up with are his own and might very well be plain. If, say, the mages/warriors are all-powerful, influential, have done epic deeds or famous, they could have decided their own pompous name for their own HQ.

But like I said in another thread, don't bother too much with names. Most names out there aren't awe-inspiring, (Windows? McDonalds? Apple Computers? Dell Computers? I am not gawking). Especially if an utilitarian King came up with them. I can imagine a King like that saying "Here goes the soldiers, here the mages. Summon X Mage, he's at the mages' place. And also bring Y warrior here, he must be at the barracks."

Also, do think your mages might call their place "Hall of Divination" while the King might call it "the mages' place". The people who hate the mages might call it "the castle's pits" or "the snobs' hangaround". And the mages themselves might have a code name for the same place.


message 10: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Thank you for your insight.

And about different points of view, there's a warrior family respected by the King, who have their own private room and the nobles who don't like said warrior call it "the barbarian bedroom".


message 11: by Steven (new)

Steven Mager (stevenamager) | 3 comments Personally, I like some level of symmetry. So I would want them all to be "Hall of" such and such if you went with Halls.

I liked Hall of Divination frankly. I'd want to know more about the world too, as that might make it easier to develop an aesthetic and naming scheme.

Enclave is a good word too for a gathering location. So maybe like:

Sorceror's Enclave
Conjuror's Enclave

Just my 2c.


message 12: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Thanks, Steven. It's likely that location naming will go through a pass or two for improvements during the coming drafts. As for sharing more... I hope I'll be able to do that soon, for now, I shared an early blurb in the blurb feedback folder. I hope I'll have a beta version soon and plan to share the prologue (or at least a part of it).


message 13: by Erica (new)

Erica Forrest | 14 comments My advice might be to stick to one-word names, or things that can be shortened to one word. I think it makes it easier for a reader. I like the 'barbarian bedroom', its a nice detail, but it's not the easiest to read or imagine in a conversation. Similarly, I like the symmetry in having everything as 'Halls of...' but it might make it difficult to remember the difference between everything.
That's my reader's opinion. My author's opinion is that I suppose it depends how often you're going to refer to a place. If it's mentioned often maybe keep it simple, if it's a one off setting, I'd be more willing to be extravagant.


message 14: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
That's quite a practical approach, Erica. Thanks for your insight.
The 'barbarian bedroom' is just a side mention once through the book so definitely not something that would inflate the word count.


message 15: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (last edited Aug 10, 2018 05:05AM) (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
I am back once more - this time with a question when it comes to capitalizing location names. Some things seem to be clear to me but on some, I am not really sure.

One is what I talked about above, so let's take that as an example. If I decided to go with the practical naming (as a demonstration), should it be capitalized as I wrote it above - 'Halls of Command' for example, or 'Halls of command'? Or no capitalization at all?

With some different, I saw that the second part, if it's a common word, is usually not capitalized, so 'Crimson pass' would be first capital, second not. Yet, in some cases, I am not so sure. Two cases are 'Fields of Eternal rest' (not sure with the capital E) and 'X-th* Gate' (the capital G). I've been looking at some rules but still, I am not sure with the cases above.

The point is, in the mentioned cases, the 'stricter' capitalization feels like giving a more emphasis to it being a specific location (a specific gate vs. one of many mountain passes, to use the mentioned examples).

* - obviously, a number in written form there


message 16: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "In my opinion, it should be Halls of Command as the full thing is the name."

And it feels like being clearer, personally.


message 17: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Yes. Proper nouns are always capitalized, unless there's a specific reason not to (ie, the king in your story is allergic to capital letters).


message 18: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Dwayne wrote: "Yes. Proper nouns are always capitalized, unless there's a specific reason not to."
Well, I am not a native English speaker so it's sometimes unclear to me whether or not it serves as a proper noun - like in the cases I mentioned. Different languages have a different level of strictness in that and while I might have some idea from the books I've read, there are still cases where I end up being unsure - hence why I am asking for help.
Maybe what I said above could be a guideline? If I feel it makes it clearer capitalized, then there's a good chance for it to work as a proper noun?


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments Tomas, the "proper name" is like the name of a place or organization, e.f. you would write United Nations, not United nations. The continued capitalization is to indicate what words are part of the name and what words have some other function. Little words like "of" are not capitalized. So the guideline is, what is the name of whatever it is - place, organization, whatever. All the noun parts should be capitalized. (Unless you are someone like Cormac Macarthy who can be allergic to convention.)


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