Thursday, November 6, 2008

Help with Story Names and Terms

Yay bus! I figured out how to write on my laptop without getting motion-sick. I write with the laptop lid mostly shut, so I just have enough room to type but not see the screen. Works wonders for shutting up the Internal Editor, too. :P

Because I took the bus, I wrote 1690 words yesterday! And this morning, I woke up early, wrote 300 words before I left the house, and wrote another 842 while on the bus. Of course, the NaNo goal for today is the 10k mark, so at 6854 I'm still pretty behind. But I do feel more like I can catch up, so that's good.

In other NaNo news... Perhaps my dear devoted readers could help out with some naming problems I'm running into. Here's what I need named:

  • Drei LastName, something that sounds good together for yelling at a teenage girl; Drei is an addict, runaway, and thief, so she's going to regularly get yelled at :)
  • the Something Tavern, where Our Hero goes to drown the sorrows of his young daughter dying
  • Grandfather Rordechin, Our Heroine's grandfather and the leader of their guild. He's a mean, demanding old coot but he's done Good Things for the guild
  • GuildLeader Master, a title for the, well, guild leader :)
  • better, more fantasy-esque terms for cremation, the cremator (the man who runs the shop), and the crematorium (the shop itself)
  • psychic energy, the source of magic. All people have energy; only magic spirits (who were once people) can use said energy to do magic.
  • a follower, someone who gives their energy to a spirit (usually voluntarily)
  • a mind controller Memorist, a type of spirit with the magical ability to read, create, or extract memories from both the living and the recently dead
  • the sacrifice ritual Sacrifice, when a normal person does some ritual, gives up their body, and their energy becomes a spirit with magic instead
  • a priest or priestess, someone who oversees the sacrifice ritual and is a caretaker of knowledge about the spirits that isn't "common knowledge"
  • a binding token spirit gem, some physical object with both a person's and a spirit's psychic energy imprinted on it, to establish a bond for giving energy and performing stronger magic on the person

Any suggestions?


Arthaey Angosii said...

Lunchtime == no-naming-creativity time. I just wrote a paragraph about "SpiritX." :)

John Cowan said...

Quick thoughts:

Try a one-syllable surname ending in a vowel.

Taverns are often named after nobles or famous people, or things that are easy to draw.

I think just calling him simply Grandfather would be reasonable.

Nothing wrong with Guild Leader either.

I think cremation and friends are fine.

Mana is a good word for magical energy, if it doesn't make you think too much of Larry Niven.

How about donor?

Memorist means someone or something who prompts your memory.

I think just the Sacrifice is pretty reasonable.

Priest and priestess are fine.

What shape are binding tokens? Amulet might be good, or periapt, though the latter smells of Donaldson.

Arthaey Angosii said...

Grandfather needs a first name, because the story's in third-person POV, not first. Also, Our Heroine isn't particularly close to her grandfather, so it might even make sense for her to think of his my first name rather than familial title. (Of course, my boyfriend refers to his parents by first name and he has no problems with them, so that doesn't necessarily imply anything about the relationship...)

I was resistant to using cremation because I thought the practice was more recent. Wow was I wrong -- Stone Age people did cremation! So it can stay, though crematorium still sounds a little funny in a low-tech fantasy context. Crematory works a bit better for me, so maybe I'll go with that.

For the binding tokens, one of my friends suggested that they be made similarly to the "soul gems," which are synthetic diamonds made (probably via magic, since this is low-tech fantasy) from cremains of regular people who die but don't do the Sacrifice thing. This would even make sense, since after a Sacrifice you've got the now-spirit's old body lying around, effectively "dead." So... maybe binding gem as opposed to soul gem? Or spirit gem? Oo, that second one doesn't sound half bad.

Thanks for your other comments! I'll mull over what to do about the names still needing coining.

John Cowan said...

I was thinking that referring to a relative as "Grandfather" is rather distancing already, being a formal form and all. My wife calls her parents "Mother" and "Daddy", reflecting who she's close to (or used to be close to, more accurately).

There are lots of cultures (Japan for one) in which you never call anyone by name unless you have known them intimately as children. For everyone else, you always use a title.

Arthaey Angosii said...

Very true. But with the point of view being third-person distant, he still needs a name for when we're more "omnisciently" observing what he does, or when some other character addresses him by title + name.

I'm going with "Rordechin" for now, although I'm only marginally happy with it.

Arthaey Angosii said...

Heh, yesterday I went through and named all the guilds that still had placeholder names. I came up with Memorist for the mind-controller spirits. When I came back here to update the post, I realized that this was exactly what John had already suggested! D'oh.

Must be the right name, in that case. :)