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September 30, 2014

Naming Fictional Towns and Cities


When you’re writing a book, you get to name your characters, so why can’t you name the town your story is set in? You can!

There are many books, as well as movies and TV shows set in towns, cities, or islands that don’t actually exist. Would you like me to name some? Okay. Here you go:

·  Metropolis (Superman)
·  Gotham City (Batman)
·  Sunnydale, California (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
·  Hill Valley, California (Back to the Future)
·  South Park, Colorado (South Park)
·  Castle Rock, Maine (The Dead Zone)

If you’re writing a book, you can create your very own town or city. And it doesn’t even matter what genre you’re writing! You can be writing a romance book and have it set in Misty, Maine. Or a horror book set in Bleeding Heart, Louisiana. You can be writing a fantasy story set in a different galaxy, on a planet named Euphoria.

Here is a list of real towns and cities with spooky names:

·  Devil Town, Ohio
·  Half Hell, North Carolina
·  Ghost Town, Texas
·  Red Devil, Alaska
·  Slaughter, Tennessee
·  Witch Lake, Michigan

Other odd names:

· Hot Coffee, Mississippi
· Cheesequake, New Jersey
· Boring, Oregon
· Shoofly, North Carolina
· Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky
· Sweetlips, Tennessee

Whatever you name your fictional town or city, be creative. In my (unpublished) series, I created a whole new world and was able to name islands as well as cities. It was a lot of fun! I used people’s names I thought were pretty and a strange word that means “appetizer” for one of the islands.

Think: Mordor (The Lord of the Rings), Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), Emerald City (Wizard of Oz), and Zion (The Matrix).


SHARE: The odd names for cities and towns that you know.


QUESTIONS: What is your favorite fictional town/city name?
Have you ever named a town (city, island or world) in one of your stories?


34 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shoofly - bet I know how that name came about.
Since I write science fiction, I get to make up everything, including planet names!

Gisele LeBlanc said...

Oh my goodness, I love those odd names! Fun! Makes you wonder what the story behind each one is, too. Most of the cities or towns in my stories are fictional, that way I don't have to worry about getting specifics wrong. ;)

Unknown said...

What a fun list of towns. I wonder how the people feel living in them? I hope not to scared.

Chrys Fey said...

Naming planets would be so much fun! Even though the world in my series is different, I didn't name planets. Maybe I should...Hmm... ;)

Chrys Fey said...

That's a good idea! I know when I had to write about San Francisco I did a ton of research to get it right.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope they're not scared, either!

Kyra Lennon said...

I created a town in my Game On series called Zellor, by chopping up two real town names and sticking them together lol.

Lisa Thomson said...

I look at street signs to think of last names for characters as I learned here at Write With Fey. As for towns I think fictional is best then you can make it all up and no one is comparing it to a real city. Those real city names are amazing! I bought an old geography book at a thrift store for $1 and it has road maps galore. If I want to use a real town I can refer to the book.
great post, Chrys. Thanks for the ideas!

Chrys Fey said...

That's an interesting way of creating new names, and I love Zellor! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I was just going to say that I use street names for characters, too! HAHA!!! That geography book sounds like a real treasure. :)

You're welcome!

brenda said...

Great post... one I hadn't thought of writing about, possibly because I haven't made up any towns yet. Although my current WIP needs a town name. For now I am using the real name of the beach town where I see my characters. I was trying to decide what to do about this.. Thanks for the help, Chrys. Most helpful

Carrie-Anne said...

I've always used real cities and towns as far as I can remember, though my Atlantic City books are set in a fictitious neighborhood. Some of its street names are based on or outright taken from the names of Albany, NY streets, like how Lenox Avenue became Lennon Avenue, the town's millionaire row. When I resurrect my 18th century character Jinx (named after the obscure goddess Iynx), I think I'll put them in a made-up town in South Carolina. I don't recall if I ever named their hometown before, and only remember their family later moved to Mystic Seaport, CT before Jinx and her siblings moved back to SC after their mother died in childbirth some years later.

Sarah Foster said...

Those real city names are really funny! I'm just starting to craft a fantasy novel so I need to come up with a lot of made up names for places and people.

Pat Hatt said...

Fun to make up names and such, as you said can do it with anything. One that is real though takes the cake, Chaubunagungamaug

Robin said...

If you make up the towns, then you get to make up the streets and businesses. I really like that. You basically are designing a very large space!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love those real names! I love making up new places too. The town in my current series is Bloo Moose :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I almost always use fictional names for towns. I did use a real location in The Monster Within though. It's tricky because you know you need to get every fact straight or someone will notice.

Stephanie Faris said...

I live in Tennessee--we have some strange cities here. Bell Buckle, Bucksnort...there's a Frozen Head State Park! I think this calls for all of us to plan vacations so we can write down interesting city names we see along the way!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad this was a timely post for you, Brenda! I hope you can come up with a great name for your fictional beach town. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Using real cities and towns or making up new ones is up the writer. I've used real ones and fictional ones. It depends on the story, too. :) When you start working on Jinx's story again, I hope you come up with a good name to go with the goddess Lynx. :)

Chrys Fey said...

A great place to look is street signs. Seriously. I've named characters and places in books after street names. :D

Chrys Fey said...

Chaubunagungamaug....what? I don't even know how to pronounce that. LOL!

Chrys Fey said...

You are! It's a lot of fun, too. :D

Chrys Fey said...

Bloo Moose. I like that, and I like how you spelled Bloo, too. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I figured you would use fictional names for your books. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Frozen Head sounds like a place for a horror story. Going on a road trip across the US to create a list of odd city and town names would be a blast! :D

Botanist said...

The map of Britain is strewn with wonderful (real) town names, many of them double-barrelled. A couple of my favorites are Chipping Sodbury, and Nempnett Thrubwell.

One of the perks of writing far-future sci-fi is getting to name towns, cities, continents, and whole planets.

Chrys Fey said...

I like the name "Nempnett." :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Chrys,

I love making up different names for places. In my first novel I created two places... The Willows... an enchanted willow forest. And the town neighboring it Helmsdale, NY. A suburban oasis just outside of NYC.

Yanting Gueh said...

I always end up with something more suitable for a western: Blue Rose Swallow or Travellers' Tail. Some of the names you have on your list are so strange and interesting (Soofly? Cheesequake? Slaughter sounds like a town from a Stephen King story.)

Chrys Fey said...

I love that, Michael! Thanks for sharing! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Slaughter does sound like it should be in a Stephen King book. lol And I love Blue Rose Swallow!

Anonymous said...

There is a unique little town in British Columbia called Horsefly. My cousin lived there for a while and his address was Box 4, so it can't be that big. I did name a town in my upcoming novel, 'Suspended Animation'. It's called Bonnie,
Sylvie Grayson
at www.sylviegrayson.com

Sean Hicks said...

I am a new writer. I love the story I am writing, but this to me is where I get writers block the hardest.