Names are hard. Whether you are naming a child, your car, or that bastard in the office, it’s always hard to know if you got it quite right. At least with the child, as long as it is not too horrific a creation, and he or she does not harbour a deep-seated hatred as a result, they usually grow into it.
For some reason, I found the naming of cities and places quite difficult. I was eager to have nothing that sounded too stupid or naf, foreign but not too annoying. I looked around at the countries of this world and came to a conclusion: countries have terrible names, we just get used to them.
Take for instance England. It is a land, so not very imaginative, and Eng is now just a very dull syllable that has no meaning to most. France just has one syllable and doesn’t describe the country. Yes, both of these names comes from the deep past, but they are by no means intrinsically beautiful or sublime.
They do come with a feeling though. The word France comes with a sense of the place that is embedded in its culture and that of its neighbours. England is just the same. History weighs heavily upon both names. Yet, history is not the only determining factor, as some countries are very new indeed. Reputation and, some times infamy, is at play as well.
For instance, in my world there is Scrah, the seafarers of the world, ferrying people and goods to all parts of the world. They are a closed to society, harsh and brutal, maintaining slavery long after much of the rest of the world has done away with it. I don’t know their history indepthly yet, but the sense of them I feel strongly. This is what I have tried to convey in the subsequent books in the series.
The people of Carne, the great city of commerce at the mouth of the River Spine is a strict place. It has wealth, but it is also strictly regimented.
It is not the name that is important when naming your cities and the parts of your world, but what you bring those words to mean. In the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, the Seanchan were unknown but became synonymous with brutal conquering and a strict but fair control. Quickly, the name almost became secondary.
So be bold, but do not labour too long on the names. It is what you make them mean which will stand you in good stead.
Here is a link to my book, Power’s Wrath. https://www.amazon.com/Powers-Wrath-Hourglass-Book-1-ebook/dp/B076HXPTHL