I’ve been thinking about names in fiction a lot recently, and the naming of characters in fantasy and science fiction, specifically.
When you’re working in a world created from whole cloth, or even in one loosely based on an historical time period or culture, there are certain considerations when it comes to naming characters, places, and things. It’s essential for a writer to avoid false exoticism, using fantastic names to describe objects or creatures with real-world equivalents. As James Blish wrote, don’t call a rabbit a smeerp.
“they look like rabbits, but if you call them smeerps that makes it science fiction.”
Chuck Wendig has a challenge out that will go for the month of February, a four part story challenge. The first part is to post 1000 words that are just the beginning of a story. Next week we all choose someone else’s story and write another 1000 words on to it.
I’ve decided to submit the previously written “Fortune” to see what happens with it. Can’t wait for next week!
Second draft of the prologue of Lady of Silences. In which we meet the main characters and witness a defining moment in their lives. 4,700 words.
Corinus drew his cloak tighter against his chest as he walked out of the manor. It was difficult to balance the large pine frame kite in his left hand and walk through the half-open door, but he made sure to close it tight behind him as he exited. When there were guests, his father was especially strict about keeping the door latched He stopped a moment to adjust the platinum lion broach closed on his cloak, freeing up a hand to help maneuver the canvas kite. The broach had been a tenth birthday gift from Marquis Kiant, and Cor made sure to wear it proudly now that they were visiting the Marquis’ manor. Standing a little taller he drew his shoulders back and climbed down the stone steps to the garden.
“Master Cor, is that you?” The head gardener waved at him and put down his trowel. “Got’cher self a kite, eh?” Cor nodded as the man stooped to pull a small root vegetable from the ground. “Is that a dragon I see on it?”
Cor grinned, holding the canvas higher to show the bright yellow and black design. “It’s a Horned Wyrm, like Arcantis and the Wyrm!”
“That’s a fine representin’ of it too, Master Cor. You paint that cher’self?”
“Yes sir. My father gave me the canvas yesterday.” He shifted his feet, trying to remain polite but aching to let the dragon loose upon the sky.
“Well you must be looking for the girls, then?” The gardener smiled as the boy before him nodded enthusiastically. He pointed past the gardens. “They left that way just a tick or so ago, you’ll prob’ly find them easy.” He tipped his hat and turned back to the soil, giving the boy his leave.
“Thank you sir!” Cor shouted his gratitude as he turned and galloped up the path.
Prompt by Chuck Wendig at TerribleMinds here. I rolled this scenario:
Brannog hefted the leather bag up on his shoulder, carefully steadying the load with one hand while he walked through the mess of parcels and bags and stepped back into the workroom. The soft shirring sound of papers being slid and sorted through many hands filled in the air, occasionally interrupted by the quick tump-tump on the wooden counter as a pile was set right and neat after being stacked. Brannog moved back to his station through the line of workers, two rows down, one column up from the storeroom door, and set his new load down beside him. A glance at the post addresses on top of the pile showed that this batch was for the Riverway Line, southward bound. He took his stick of graphite from the cup next to his bench and began sorting. First one, then another, scribbling the 4-letter town code on each for easy delivery. SHBR goes to South Boertown, RAVL to Ranville, and so on.
Assignment for a LitReactor class, “The Practical Craft of Fantasy.”
Margaret drew the curtain back slowly, taking care not to pull too hard on the thin, slightly musty fabric. The worn beading crinkled beneath her fingers and she took a step inside the tent. She paused a moment for her sight to adjust, blinking back the bright specks of the sundrenched day still lingering in her eyes. Behind her the buzzing of the hurdy-gurdy man she had passed just moments ago mixed with the sharp squeals of a group of children as they ran towards the games of chance on the far midway. She brushed a patch of dust from her skirt as she glanced nervously around the space, taking in the threadbare rugs that lined the floor, their oriental patterns clashing garishly with the many tapestries that hung around the small tent. Margaret took another step towards the lone wicker chair set up in the center of the room and looked around her.
“A fortune for the lass?”