Similarly, our characters need names as well. I know some authors search for days to find the perfect name for a given character. The right tone, strength, and rhythm can make all the difference in a good character.
There are many ways to go about finding the perfect name for your country, kingdom, mountain, ocean, or character. I took the liberty of questioning my fellow writers on the organization called Twitter, and compiling their strategies for your information.
*Thank you to all those who volunteered their thoughts.*
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"Generally the made-up names just pop into my head. Failing that, I use a random generator, then mix & match until it's mine." - @RachelxRussell (See below for links to Name Generators)
"Usually I find a name or word I like and tweak it." - @stephandrea_
"Sometimes, I'll put keywords into Google Translate and see if any languages spark an idea. @vbartles taught me that." - @NHNovelist
"Sometimes finding meanings in other languages, sometimes just randomness. My baby names book is the best resource!" - @NikkiDiehm
"For places, one of my fave ways is to take the word in English and in French and have a smashword party and see what happens. :) " - @LindsFlanagan
"I keep a notebook with all the cool names I come across. As far as setting, I use real places I've been and change the name." - @atrueblood5
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All of these are wonderful ways to go about naming both characters and places. As you can see, some writers prefer to have a meaning behind each name, while others lean toward the random mash-up of a pleasant-sounding word. Personally, I tend to base most of my setting names on Latin-based words, and I find character names on a website called babynames.com, which gives the definition and allows for various search modes.
One of the most important things to remember when naming people and places -- particularly in YA literature -- is to make them pronounceable. They don't have to be easy to say, though that helps. When you think you've found the right name, say it out loud. Multiple times. Try to imagine how people might mispronounce it, and possibly alter spelling to avert that.
A quick search for "Name Generators" brought up the following sites. May they aid you in your writing journey.
http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/ - specifically for Fantasy
I believe that covers everything. Any questions? If you have a method of finding or creating names for your stories, please share it. I'm sure other readers would love to hear.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must check to make sure Loki is writing his novel, and not wasting time on the Twitter.