Since I wrote the first draft of Artifact of the Dawn back in 2015, the biggest struggle I’ve had is with names and a consistent naming convention for my characters and place names. The place names have been the hardest and I’ve changed them a dozen times already. Part of my problem is that I keep overthinking them and have tried to give the place names translatable meanings.
I am finally letting go of the need to have all the names have meanings. I’ve found it leads to awkward names that are often too similar to each other, and I was constantly second guessing the names and their meanings.
Also, in an effort to cement all the names in (digital) stone, I am going to reveal them in this post. I’m hoping this will keep me from overthinking and changing them again (wish me luck).
The place names are the ones I’ve struggled with the most, so those are the ones I’ll be listing here first.
Athla’naa Place Names
The naming convention for the Athla’naa locations must have an apostrophe, and they do not follow the same convention as character names. These are also the only names that have a translation into English, based on the rules of the conlang I created for their species. This is not an exhaustive list because some names might contain spoilers.
- Baaru’nor (literally our new something, where the meaning changes in context). It’s both the name they use for the planet and the continent we find them on at the beginning of the story.
- Maala’naa (first home). The Athla’naa capital and primary settlement. Also the home of our main Athla’naa character Ardyn.
- Aria’una (forbidden place). An area that the Athla’naa have deemed off-limits, for reasons.
- Rahn’naa (literally first light, or dawn). This may or may not be a location where the title of the book comes from.
Medellan Place Names
The only naming convention for Medellan place names is they cannot contain apostrophes.
- Medellus: the Medellan name for the planet and where their people get their name.
- Vestos: the smaller of the two continents of Medellus. It is shared with the Athla’naa, who call it Baaru’nor.
- Ateria: the larger of the two continents on Medellus. The Medellans originally sailed from there to Vestos.
- Tafaran: the capital city of Vestos. It is also the oldest Medellan settlement on the continent.
- Carwick: the capital city of Ateria.
- Yanen: a small village near Maala’naa and the border of the aria’una. Also, the home village of our main Medellan character, Jevan.
- Ahren: another Medellan village that plays a small role in the story.
Most of these names have not changed much since the first draft of the novel, although a few have gone through several iterations, especially as the story evolved during editing.
Athla’naa Character Names
The naming convention I adopted for the Athla’naa character names was to always include either an ae or y in their names (or both). This differentiates them from the Medellan characters, who do not have either of those in their names.
- Ardyn: the main Athla’naa character. He’s a ranger and somewhat of a pariah in his community.
- Aelrynd, Taeglyn, and Druyndar: the Elder Triumvirate who rule over the Athla’naa people from the capital of Maala’naa.
- Taela: a pretty Athla’naa female that spends the night with Jevan.
- Syvan: the elder of a small village to the west of Maala’naa, near the border of the Aria’una.
Medellan Character Names
- Jevan: the main Medellan character. He’s a trader who travels on foot between Medellan villages and Athla’naa settlements.
- Mathias: the Ard of Yanen (an ard is the village leader or mayor).
- Jenira: Jevan’s sister.
- Tomas, Aron, Andreesen, and Marta: Medellans who arrive from Ateria.
I hope everyone likes these names and they don’t feel too difficult to pronounce, and wish me luck that I stick to these names as I finish my final rewrite and edits. My goal is to start releasing this story on Kindle Vella and Ko-Fi later this year.