Posted by: Raws | January 28, 2011

Fantasy World Building: Naming

Since middle school, I’ve begun spinning a fantasy universe in my head and just recently I’ve decided to write it down. The most immediate problem I ran into was names.  Half my characters don’t have names; plus I have no clue what to call the universe or the places within. This fantasy universe I’ve thought of spans different worlds as well.  Those definitely aren’t named either.

I’ve gotten around naming by focusing on the life of one of my more established characters; one that I’ve been thinking about for the last two years.  All the places he’s been, have filler names like “The City” or “The Orphanage”.  Thankfully the place he spends the most time in is already named.

Originally his name was just Dex; not short for anything. I just like the sound of it. Dex. I didn’t want him called Dexter because of the stereotype the name entails. It felt too ironic considering where he spends most of his time.  This got me looking at more names that started with dex. The one website I found most helpful in doing this is Kabalarians. With their help I found a name I liked, Dexten. Then I thought, what’s his last name? Argh!!

Well, he doesn’t have one and neither did his dad. But I’m sure he must have had one when he was in school… I’d like to think it was generic like Smith or Brown. His father was trying to fit into the local society; trying to be inconspicuous. The closest thing he had to one was his clan’s name, but using that would’ve given him away. I thought it wouldn’t even come up in the story but it’s good to figure things out ahead of time. I just find naming a pain in the butt.

I want this world to have an interesting name, but that’ll require research. It can sometimes be easier to set events within our world; name wise at least.  I’m glad my other story is set in our world.

Well, I’m done griping about naming.  If I ever begin writing any of my fantasy universe’s stories I’ll tackle the name issue but until then I’ll stick to taking vague notes about them. Don’t want to lose track of what’s happening.





  1. For me naming my characters can ruin my story. Quite simply, if I dont automatically have a name for the character, if i have to sit and think about it, then that character never actually works for me. On days like that, I have learnt to get up and walk away, even if it is just for a coffee break.

    Place names though are very different. I, like you, give temporary names and hope something inspires me later on. The last piece I completed I ended up leaving the temp names… worked really well. Never feel the need to over complicate. If it is distracting for you to get the place name, maybe that will translate to the reader.

    All the same, let us know what you settle on.

    • Thanks for the advice and comments!
      I’ll definitely write a blog about my choices.

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