Poll

Which name should I use?

Arcoill
1 (9.1%)
Carnrellig
6 (54.5%)
Coillcairn
0 (0%)
Dumloth
4 (36.4%)
Tuamarellig
0 (0%)
Other (Suggest in comments)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Author Topic: Help Name a Town for my Book!  (Read 1409 times)

Seraph

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Help Name a Town for my Book!
« on: August 13, 2013, 06:10:23 AM »
So, I am writing a novel set in my Cad Goleor setting, and I am fiddling with the name for one of the towns.  It is a smallish, fortified settlement owned by one of 3 major clans in the area.  The surrounding lands are owned by lesser members of the clan, but this town is the property of the clan chieftain.  It is built on top of an ancient burial mound that has not been used for centuries.  It rests on the edge of a fae-haunted forest.

Some names I am playing with:
Arcoill (meaning "By the Woods")
Carnrellig (derived from gaelic words for "cemetery" and "mound" or rather "pile")
Coillcairn ("Wood Mound" referring both to the mound itself and its proximity to the forest)
Dumloth (combining "Dumha" (another word for mound) with "Inloth" the name of the clan & its founder)
Tuamarellig (especially deathly, basically meaning "graveyard tomb")

Not sure which ones are the most awesome and/or least likely to drive readers away, so I am taking opinions to help me decide!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 09:40:11 AM by Seraphine_Harmonium »
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Ghostman

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 10:47:48 AM »
It might be best to focus on how the town originally came to be founded there and how/why it ended up being named as it is. Did the first settlers want to consciously remind themselves that they are living atop a burial mound? Was the founder person so prideful that he insisted on naming the place after himself, or so popular that the people insisted on honoring him so? How important was the nearby forest to the settlers?
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Elemental_Elf

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 11:12:51 AM »
I love the sound of Dumloth.

Steerpike

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 11:41:10 AM »
I like the grave-mound thing.  I picked "Carnrellig."  "Carn" reminds me of "Carnifax" (executioner) and also "carnage" (carno-, carn-, carne-, carni- being Latin for "flesh").  "Rellig" reminds me of "brillig" from Jabberwocky, which strikes me as a good thing as well.  So together the two conjure a sort of "grimdark fairytale" feeling, even if you're using Celtic rather than Latin/nonesense language.

Quote from: Ghostman
Did the first settlers want to consciously remind themselves that they are living atop a burial mound?

I'd say it would be weird for people to remind themselves of this, but people in the real world have named towns things like Tombstone, Deadwood, Slaughter, and Gnaw Bone.

sparkletwist

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 01:38:55 PM »
To me, "Carnrelig"  makes me think of "carnage relic," which is actually nothing to do with what the word actually means but conveys the meaning well enough. So, I think it's the most evocative to the non-Gaelic-speaking reader.

Seraph

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 02:41:23 PM »
Quote from: Ghostman
It might be best to focus on how the town originally came to be founded there and how/why it ended up being named as it is. Did the first settlers want to consciously remind themselves that they are living atop a burial mound? Was the founder person so prideful that he insisted on naming the place after himself, or so popular that the people insisted on honoring him so? How important was the nearby forest to the settlers?
Well, if named after him specifically, it would have been after he died that people started calling it that.  At least officially.

Ok, I could play with the history a bit and the original settlers, but Tech Inloth, the house-fort at the top of the hill is a clan house that makes a point of remembering that it was built on its founder's grave.  It is intentionally chosen to have the ancestors being "the foundation" of the current inhabitants, so a bond with the dead was important to the clan leaders when the house was built. 

The forest is important to some people's lives, but most just find it the scary forest that watches them as the work in the fields and reminds them of their mortality.  In a way it is spiritual, and the stories about what is in that forest (whether they are or not) are useful to make children behave.  People identify it with the gods, though the gods are pretty scary.  Among the noble class, hunting has always been important as a means of honing battle skills, but here, for young nobility of clan Inloth, going on their first hunt into Coilliath would be a rite of passage: you go in and face death, and you come out a man. 
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Seraph

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 06:25:16 PM »
I see Carnrellig is winning in the polls.  Dumloth is gaining some ground on it, though.

Carnrellig is good and evocative, but may sound a little harsher than I planned.  (Though there certainly is some opportunity for "dark")

Dumloth is good too, though I am concerned it is a bit to close to "Dunloch" which is another castle not very far away.  I don't want to confuse readers with names that are too similar.  I have considered renaming Dunloch, as it would be cool if it was something more exciting.  Though the name Dunloch means "Fort of the Lake" which suits it perfectly, being located on a small island in a lake.  Thoughts?
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Seraph

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 12:32:57 AM »
...Bueller?...Beuller?
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Elemental_Elf

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Re: Help Name a Town for my Book!
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 12:42:15 AM »
Quote from: Seraphine_Harmonium
I see Carnrellig is winning in the polls.  Dumloth is gaining some ground on it, though.

Carnrellig is good and evocative, but may sound a little harsher than I planned.  (Though there certainly is some opportunity for "dark")

Dumloth is good too, though I am concerned it is a bit to close to "Dunloch" which is another castle not very far away.  I don't want to confuse readers with names that are too similar.  I have considered renaming Dunloch, as it would be cool if it was something more exciting.  Though the name Dunloch means "Fort of the Lake" which suits it perfectly, being located on a small island in a lake.  Thoughts?

IMO, every settlement should have a fairly distinct sound to it. If there is any overlap, then a rename is in order (I would go so far as to say, if you can manage it, make all of the principle locations in your novel begin with a different letter/sound).
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 12:44:03 AM by Elemental_Elf »