The Frustrating Process of Naming Fictional Cities

by johannespunkt

I’ve created, and helped create, a whole bunch of fictional cities in my time. There’s been Admah, the satellite (like, literally) double-city shaped like you’d built a city on both sides of a coin; with the biblical name I cannot remember the significance of. One wanted to get away from Admah, as most of the atmosphere had vanished. It was a ghost town when the corpse was still fresh; I sort of loved it.

There’s been Ublaï and Ubladà – named like that as a joke until they stopped being funny. There was Atoll, which flew inexplicably, and sort of grew out of Ubladà, via Krem. There was Elysium, haunted by humans who felt pain for the first time in their lives. And there’s the baanklide, of course, but let’s not go into that. It’s still just an egg.

There are all these tiny towns surrounding it; they don’t really have names either. They had names a few minutes ago, I’m not sure what’s up with that. They were called Silence and Darkness and Blossomwood. The nameless city swallows other’s names in search for a fitting one.

I have been trying to name this city for something like 8 months and I have to come to terms with the fact that my current methods are not working.

So, let us set the scene. Maybe I can crowdsource a name for this city, or something.

At first I called the place Foggy Hollows, wanting to give it a Silent Hill sort of feel. It is a contemporary town: the capital of the fictional U.S. state of Minneqas, in fact. To the east there’s a forest which contains some form of horrible monster that scares the local children and conspiracy theorists.  To the west there’s a thing generously called the fields (rock desert). The roads gk,o north and south mostly.

The weather is pretty sunny, but it gets cold. It is the nexus point for the apocalypse. When I grew sick of the name ‘Foggy Hollows’ (the city houses about 188,000 too many people to be actually called that) I started naming the little districts of the city. We’ve got the ironically named Park, which has all of seven trees; and there’s one neighbourhood called Elizabeth. But these didn’t form a whole city. I tried naming it New Oslo, but it rejected it like a bad punchcard. I websearched for names of cities in Utah and the best one I found was Doniphan*, but that didn’t work either.

I thought about Cairo, Illinois and pondered whether I could name it Athens or not. But turns out there’s already Athens, Ohio. There’s also Delphi, Indiana, but that one might be small enough that it’s okay.

Serpentshead just appeared in my skull. I’m afraid of googling it to find out about actual cities called that, and I’m afraid of thinking more about it but I have to, sort of. Elephantstusk. Wolfstendon. Badgersclaw. Rabbitsear. It should definitely be [animal trochee]s[single-syllable part of that animal]. Definitely maybe.

Anyway, dearest Internet, halp?

tl;dr: I want a name for the biggest city in a pretty tiny fictional US state.  The apocalypse will happen there.

Fully expecting the comments field to be utterly empty and myself to find a good name in about two hours,

Johannes Punkt


* might not actually be in Utah, I cannot remember anymore how far into the Internet I searched.