Place names can make or break a map. Here I will discuss the nuancesof naming your map and it's locations, and why you should not use too many's in your names. I hate 's!
Why I hate 's
They are annoying. They stop the flow of reading. They chop up nameslike so much raw meat. They are apostrophes, and I cannot abide them ina fantasy language. Try reading the next sentence fluently. Cor ara noalmenveri thonrah machbuem. If you read much, you should be able to discernit. Now try to read this one. C'or ar'a no'al'men veri thon'rah mach'buem.Less fluently, right? Now just for fun, try to read this sentence all theway through, cleanly and without stopping. "How are you, Jane?" asked Peteqrnek'tregp'lay. You just can't do it. Foreign, unfamiliar words stop someoneup like a literary stumbling block. Try to avoid this sort of naming withinyour map.
There it is again! Style. It applies to naming your map as well as drawingit. Here we will discuss the different parts of names, and how they affectyour map. Here is a list of the most common styles:
Cliché- Do you want your audience to take you seriously?If so, do not use names like "The Black Pit of Despair." They will getyou some serious scorn. Any time a barbarian muscle-man with an anorexichalf-elf mistress defeats the skull demon with the Sword of Death, I haveto laugh out loud. This kind of writing is cheap and terrible, and in lieuof that, you should keep your names realistic, too.
Gutteral- Gutteral names are that like "Orglub" or "Gloningor."They should be used sparingly, for they do get tedious. Cluster them inone or two places, if you want, to represent the location of a culture.Gutteral names use the uncommon letters b, g, d, z, and ng more commonly,to create a sound made deep in the throat.
Noble - Noble names make use of soft, voiceless sounds to produceeasily read, pronounceable words. Usually the names mean something fairin a given "noble" language: leaf-dew or grass-swan. Use th, ch, s, a n,l, and r as your main letters to create noble names.
Archaic - Medieval names. Arthur and Vanion, Gawain and Pendragonare all well known examples of medieval names. Use sounds increasing ordecreasing in tone to form original medieval sounding names. Ai, oi, (v)rand (v)l are good examples of rising and falling tones.
Original- Make up your own language. There are many web pages out thereon this subject.
Alien- These languages are irrelevant to my fantasy maps,but I will discuss them a little. These languages, like Klingon, are hardto pronounce, due to the author's stereotypes of alien nature. But mostlikely aliens would have no oral similarity to us at all, and would thereforenot speak to our understanding. You decide what you should do.
Cultural- These names can "link" your fantasy world withEarth. Have you ever wondered why the fantasy movie heroines always havea British accent? Puzzle around with this one - it's a lot of fun.