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Names of towns

Switch Blayde

I'm trying to come up with names of fictitious towns/cities. One is a tiny one-company town. The other is a little bigger and has a small hospital, court house, jail, etc. And then a larger city with a larger hospital.

With the exception of the one-company tiny town, which I named after the family than owns the company (Sturgesstown), every time I "invent" a name and Google it, I find it already exists. It's so frustrating.

richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

Several approaches exist. Pick a name that is used so frequently that residents can't identify your fictional creation with theirs. Something like London or Vienna or Rivertown. Or go functional, the courthouse, jail, etc. municipality is called Capital and the larger city is Hospital, or Medical Center, or maybe Junction. You could add City to any of the above names for example, Capital City or Hospital City or Junction City.

I might name one Hell, so I could tell characters to go to hell. There is a Hell, Michigan I believe. Another SOL worthy city is Intercourse, Pa.

Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

Intercourse, Pa.


When I was in basic training, my future wife took a trip to the Amish area in PA. She sent me cardboard street signs of two towns -- Intercourse and Blue Balls. When we had mail call, the sergeant called me up to the front and showed me the envelop she made to mail it. You could see through it and could read "Intercourse."

Thanks for the advice. It helps.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Another option would be to go with the major industry/product of the town. Steel town, Coal city,

Animals: Bear Junction, Eagleville

Colors: Colorado is literally Spanish for the color red.

For a Post Apocalyptic or Sci-Fi colony world setting you can throw New in front of an existing city. In a historical Americas setting, you can take a European city and throw "New" in front.

A lot of US place names are corruptions of native American words, pick a tribe, find a list of words from their native language and throw them together at random.

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Switch Blayde

every time I "invent" a name and Google it, I find it already exists.


Don't let that stop you. Pick a name you like and-if anyone ever asks, which is unlikely-tell them, "No it's not that one, it's a different town."

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

Don't let that stop you. Pick a name you like and-if anyone ever asks


Dominions, thanks.

bb, I think I will.

You know how hard it is to come up with an unused userid nowadays? Well, that's true for character names, company names, town names, etc.

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

There is a Hell, Michigan I believe

Also in Stjørdal in Norway. Population about 1400

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

Pick a name that is used so frequently that residents can't identify your fictional creation with theirs. Something like London or Vienna or Rivertown

Try Montreal and anger your neighbours! There are 6 listed on my road map and I know there are a further two, all in France. How about Newport?; we must have eight in the UK and of course RI has one

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Try Montreal and anger your neighbours! There are 6 listed on my road map and I know there are a further two, all in France. How about Newport?; we must have eight in the UK and of course RI has one


There are 8 Washington towns and 7 Scott towns just in the state of Wisconsin.

Here is a fun resource.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_most_common_U.S._place_names

Springfield is the most common city/town/village name in the US (41) (5 Just in Wisconsin)

The state of Wisconsin does regulate municipality names, but they are only required to be unique within the county, which is why Wisconsin has so many duplicates.

tppm

There are also functional and geographic and cartographic names from whatever was there before the town was, e.g. where the oxen cross the river (Oxford), or bridge over the river cam (Cambridge), or a grove of oaks (Oak Grove), etc., etc., ad infinitum

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

I used "Settler's Crossing" for one story, since that could fit anywhere but I doubt there are many actual towns with that name. "Christopher's Trail" is nice, even if you never explain who the hell Christopher was. However, my favorite town name is "Frogsboro", in NC, USA. A story based on that town almost writes itself.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I used "Settler's Crossing"


Well, there's a Settler's Crossing Rd and a golf course and country club with that name in Texas.

That was my point. Try to come up with a name not used. For my one-company town, I used the last name of the character that owns the company and is mayor -- Sturgesstown. I thought I'd get away with that name as a tiny town that doesn't even have a hospital or court house or jail.

Replies:   ustourist
Ernest Bywater

Switch, you're probably safe to use any damn name you want except for Batman and Kentucky - those two places have been known to seek legal action against people for using them.

tppm

Your towns' and city's names don't have to be unique, in fact most real world towns and cities don't have unique names.

ustourist

@Switch Blayde

I can't see any problem with Blaydeville or
Switchton (with or without a 'w' in town). Nobody can call you out on those names since it is obvious they are named after their creator.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@ustourist


I can't see any problem with Blaydeville or

Switchton (with or without a 'w' in town).


Are you sure you didn't get "done" in the Switchton scam? What do you think Matt and Jimmy S would say?

As for Blaydeville that is a copyrighted name in Poland and the UK (at least) related to skates so ensure none of your characters use ice or roller/inline skates. There also seem to be Russian connections

Sorry SB - you can't even win on that one.

edit: spelling

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@sejintenej

I had to look up what the Switchton scam was, and if the names Matt and Jimmy S are related to TV then it is way over my head as I haven't had one for 30 odd years. Ignorance can be bliss!
I suppose SB can always take solace from the fact he has spawned so many admirers who take his name in vain.

Switch Blayde

@ustourist

I suppose SB can always take solace from the fact he has spawned so many admirers who take his name in vain.


I used to Google my name to see if any stories appeared on sites I didn't put them. One day I found a band called Switch Blayde. That can't be coincidence. It's even spelled with the "y".

Replies:   madnige
Rondam44

@Switch Blayde

Switch, you could do it like the Simpsons. There is a Springfield in most states, but they never identify which state their Springfield is in! That way, for one episode, it may be a port city. Two episodes later, it's a desert setting; three episodes after that, it's in the mountains. I'd love to live in a city like that with different environments for different days of the week!

Switch Blayde

@Rondam44

I realized, through Google searches and comments like yours, that city names are reused so I don't need to worry about it being unique. As of now, I've decided on my three:

Sturgesstown along with the one-company small town company name: Sturgess Lumber Company. It's a weird name for a town, but I thought it might not have been in the frontier days. And that would help define the Sturgess family's influence on the town.

Woodland is the bigger town, the one with a hospital, court house, and jail. Since it's a lumber company, I thought it should have a forest name. And I like that name. There's a Woodland Rd near my house in the White Mountains.

Junction City is the big city where they have a more equipped hospital. Someone here suggested it and I liked it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Woodland is the bigger town, the one with a hospital, court house, and jail. Since it's a lumber company, I thought it should have a forest name. And I like that name. There's a Woodland Rd near my house in the White Mountains.

Switch, just in order to falling into completely generic terms, might I suggest you modify "Woodland" by using a native-American word for 'wood' or 'tree'. It tells the same story, gives you info. to sprinkle into the story, and gives you a more unique name to offset the others.

By the way, I didn't bother researching them myself, as there isn't any handy-dandy Native-American language search engines. Sigh! (These web-designers really need to consider the needs of us Independent authors more often when creating multi-million dollar web-sites.) 'D

Replies:   sejintenej
tppm
Updated:

@Rondam44


Switch, you could do it like the Simpsons. There is a Springfield in most states, but they never identify which state their Springfield is in! That way, for one episode, it may be a port city. Two episodes later, it's a desert setting; three episodes after that, it's in the mountains. I'd love to live in a city like that with different environments for different days of the week!


I live there, Southern California. Mountains, beach, desert, all within easy driving distance.


By the way, I didn't bother researching them myself, as there isn't any handy-dandy Native-American language search engines. Sigh! (These web-designers really need to consider the needs of us Independent authors more often when creating multi-million dollar web-sites.) 'D


CW, You need to be more specific. There are dozens of Native American languages, in three or four language families. (We Europeans are spoiled, or maybe deprived, in that most of Eurasia has one language family (Indo-European))

Ernest Bywater

@Rondam44

I'd love to live in a city like that with different environments for different days of the week!


we have one like that here in Australia, in fact it can give you all four seasons in the one day - we call it Melbourne.

madnige
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I used to Google my name to see if any stories appeared on sites I didn't put them.


Better than that, pick a chunk of text from the story, without names (one plagiarist I was aware of reposted stories with changed names), enclosed in quotes as your search term.

Edit: of course, that doesn't find postings behind a paywall, which are the most offensive.

KinkyWinks

I always use Google Earth and try to figure out if the towns are based on real places. I guess I have been doing things wrong because you can take information from my stories, use Google Earth and within a few minutes be at the exact spot. I spend many hours making places work. The three I have written as Catman are all that way, and the one I am working on now, has caused me several days in finding the exact spots. I also research equipment to see if it will work as I describe it.
My punctuation still sucks, but everything I write could happen as I describe it.

Crumbly Writer

@KinkyWinks

I always use Google Earth and try to figure out if the towns are based on real places. I guess I have been doing things wrong because you can take information from my stories, use Google Earth and within a few minutes be at the exact spot.

Realizing many readers Google Earth you (new Corporate verb usage), I started adding "Google Maps" listing of chapter events (you can follow the story geographically chapter-by-chapter).

However, it doesn't seem to be a very popular feature (I'm not even sure readers have noticed), so I'll probably discontinue it with my future stories. I suspect readers prefer searching for these details themselves, rather than having it spoon fed to them.

Switch Blayde

@KinkyWinks

I always use Google Earth and try to figure out if the towns are based on real places


The only time I would think this is worth doing is: 1) if you want to give the reader a real flavor of, say, Paris; or 2) when the location is pertinent to the story (like Mount Rushmore in "North by Northwest" -- which, btw, is not a valid compass point).

Otherwise, I'm writing fiction and the characters, places, events, etc. are all fictitious even if they resemble real life ones.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


"North by Northwest" -- which, btw, is not a valid compass point


Yes, it is.

http://www.boatsafe.com/kids/082000.htm

While most people today may only be familiar with 8 point compasses, 16 point compasses have been around since the 1100s.

The 4 principle directions are of course North, East, South, and West. These are at 90 degree intervals.

If you bisect those at 45 degree intervals you get an 8 point compass adding North East, South East, South West, and North West.

If you bisect the angles for the 8 point compass at 22.5 degree intervals, you get a sixteen point compass adding: North North East, East North East, East South East, South South East, South South West, West south West, West North West, and North North West.

The north by north west verbiage is somewhat uncommon, but it is not incorrect.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  madnige
KinkyWinks

@Switch Blayde

Otherwise, I'm writing fiction and the characters, places, events, etc. are all fictitious even if they resemble real life ones


Switch, you have given me a lot of useful information, and are very helpful with things I have asked, but, I can't go along with you this time. I think there is bullshit fiction like CMSIX wrote and there is believable fiction based on things that could happen. AND, I miss ole CMSIX, he wrote some crazy stuff but, it was entertainment that almost everyone enjoyed.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
bondsman

Here are a couple of place names (place because I don't think either has ever been "incorporated" as a city or town) that I suspect are unique. Both have or have had state erected signs with the name whether incorporated or not. The first is Two Egg, Florida. The last time I was there it was little more than a wide spot in the road. I don't know of any prospects for it to grow much.

The other is, or was, Dog Walk, Illinois. Someone, after many years changed the name to Cedar Grove, a net loss in my mind. It may grow a bit but is unlikely to become an incorporated place. Much more likely that a very fast growing town nearby will swallow it.

Before anyone asks, I don't know how either got their names.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Yes, it is.


Ok, didn't know that. Actually, I read something yesterday about mistakes made in movies. There's a scene in "Raiders of the Lost Arc" where Harrison Ford is drinking his sorry because he thought the girl was dead. Well, there's a crew member in the scene in a polo shirt and jeans. In "Dirty Dancing," the clothing was a mistake for the time. Pantyhose and something about the bra.

There was a mistake in "North by Northwest" and the writer of the article said something like, "By the way, there is no such thing as north by northwest. I was repeating what I read. Goes to show you that you can't believe everything you hear. Thanks for clearing that up.

Switch Blayde

@bondsman

Before anyone asks, I don't know how either got their names.


One of my favorite is Show Low, AZ. It had something to do with two guys in the Old West who thought the area wasn't big enough for both of them. They decided who got the multiple-hundred thousand acre land with a deck of cards. Whoever drew the low card won. The first guy drew a deuce of clubs, the lowest in the deck. He won. The main street in Show Low is called Deuce of Clubs.

Switch Blayde

@KinkyWinks

I think there is bullshit fiction ... and there is believable fiction based on things that could happen.


I hope what happens in my story is believable. It's just the characters and places are fictitious.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Thanks for clearing that up.


You're welcome. Like I said, a lot of people, even well educated people these days are unfamiliar with the idea of a 16 point compass.

Ernest Bywater

@bondsman

Before anyone asks, I don't know how either got their names.


I still prefer the two UK villages of Wall and Minion. It helps to know where you can hire your Minions from and the village name sign for Wall is a stone wall about four feet high and six feet long with the name in the middle as if it's a label for the structure.

richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

An author with a pen name of Northwest could write a story titled North. That would be North by Northwest.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

That would be North by Northwest.


Next we'll get into that old library book series of:

The Yellow River by I.P.Daley

Into the Dark by Hugo Furst

and the hundreds of other Horror stories on that shelf.

madnige
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Yes, it is.


No, it isn't. The 'x by y' compass directions are halfway between the sixteen point compass directions you describe, and are made up specifically by choosing x from the closest eight point compass direction, and y from the cardinal direction needed for the adjustment, so y is always North, South, East or West. This makes a compass rose of 32 points. The linked article also tells you how this is extended to 64 and 128 points, but as noted, this has been superceded by degree bearings.

Also, Hitchcock himself stated 'there is no such thing as north-by-northwest on the compass.' (edit: see linked Wikipedia article and references)

2nd edit: DS, I can't find any reference in the link you gave, to the quater winds (the x by y compass directions), only the half winds (16-point compass)

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

"By the way, there is no such thing as north by northwest.


Today we call that direct North-northwest or nor-norwest. In my youth I read a lot of the older naval stories by Conrad, Forester and many period authors. I can't remember which authors from the Napoleonic era and before who used the term, but I often saw the compass bearing given with the word by in them to mean the spot midway between two others mentioned. Thus what we call Northwest was called North by West and they did use terms like North by Northeast and North by Northwest and West by Northwest. I suspect that language drift has dropped the word by from the longer ones and only shows on some of the compass points now due to saving a little space.

Replies:   madnige
madnige
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

The first example I found, from Hornblower and the Crisis:

"Nor'east by east, sir," he said.


which is in exact accord with what I gave above, which system was in place as described by at least the mid 1700's. [edit- DS's link above gives the date for a 16-point compass as 'since the 1100's'] I've not found any references in what I've searched through of Conrad's work (just five maritime titles) to anything other than the principal winds (8-point compass). North by West is a distinct direction (approx 349 degrees) very different from Northwest (315 degrees) and Northwest by North (approx 326 degrees) and any period author who was writing accurately would take care to distinguish them if required; of course, 'pulp' authors (of any era) could well have splashed in the incorrect versions through not knowing better and wanting to sound impressively nautical.

madnige

Getting back to the subject topic, try appending -thorpe or -side to another (possibly nonsense) word
Easterside and Eaglesthorpe are real-life examples

Perv Otaku

If you're not specifying a state, a name that is used in multiple states is fine. If you are specifying a state, a name that exists in other states but not that one is fine.

Or just say fuck it and do whatever. :)

docholladay

@Rondam44

That way, for one episode, it may be a port city. Two episodes later, it's a desert setting; three episodes after that, it's in the mountains.


There are places which could fit the description. Among them are San Diego and Los Angeles. I admit I wouldn't be able to come up with the comparison if I hadn't lived there for a while.

sejintenej

@ustourist

I had to look up what the Switchton scam was, and if the names Matt and Jimmy S are related to TV then it is way over my head

USTourist; that was joking: there are people who use the names Matt Switchton and Jimmy s..... The Blaydeville could be more serious just as you can't safely refer to a certain Mac.....

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

as there isn't any handy-dandy Native-American language search engines. Sigh!


Google: I started the instruction to translate "wood" into "Iroquois" (I spelt it wrong and Google told me how to correct) That showed there are about six languages in that group so I switched the instruction to Seneca. That eventualy gave me a list of 15 true Seneca words - itwould be easy to leave out all the symbols and you have a perhaps 60

possibilities by combing with other letters before before and after and in the middle as well as alone. On top of that with about 5 Iroquois languages and all the others ... Oh Hökwe, have fun!

Apparently quite a few US town names have Native American language origins.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@sejintenej

Seattle is named for Chief Seattle of the Duwamish tribe. There is some authority to the thought his name was really Sealth.

I prefer to spell it C attle. Our Mayor is working to remove the space and treat motorists who want to drive in the city as Cattle. I will not be cowed.

Replies:   madnige  Switch Blayde
madnige
Updated:

@richardshagrin

Less of this bull! ;)

Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

I just came home from having a tooth extracted. They also did a bone graft, using cow bone. So I'm part cattle now.

Replies:   madnige
madnige

@Switch Blayde

Mooove along now...

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@madnige

I'm gonna take it a hoof at a time.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

Milk it for all its worth. (It not worth much.) Maybe its worth less.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Cow can you get away with doing this?

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Its a holy cow! Something about the manger it gets hay from. The lone manger? Ohio Silver. And an Indian called stupid in Spanish.

Free association, costs you nothing and worth the price.

Lance

Try variations of you town name, i.e. instead of Sturgesstown, try StrugessVille, Strugessberg, Sturgessburg, Sturgess Center, Sturgesston, Sturgess Ponds, Sturgess Crossing, Sturgess Heights, Sturgessland, Sturgess Acres, Sturgess Rapids, Sturgess Place, Sturgess Port, etc...etc...etc.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Lance

Try variations of you town name, i.e. instead of Sturgesstown, try StrugessVille


I almost used Sturgessville at one time.

It actually ended up as Waynetown (for now anyway) since I changed the family name. I like "town" because I made reference to the frontier days when it was known as "Wayne's town" which over time became Waynetown like Charles Town became Charleston.

I thought of making it Wayneton, like what happened to Charleston, but I wanted to emphasis the word "town" because it was the Wayne's town. They controll everything and everyone in it. Mr. Wayne is even the mayor and controls the purse strings to the church.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Switch Blayde

One minor grammatical nit. Since the Wayne refers to a family rather than a person, before the conjunction of the words it should be Waynes' Town. Plural possessives the apostrophe goes after the "s", not before.

Ernest Bywater

@tppm

Since the Wayne refers to a family rather than a person, before the conjunction of the words it should be Waynes' Town


The town name may be old enough to refer to the first man and not his whole family, thus a town named after John Wayne could be either John's Town or Wayne's Town and later merge the two words and drop the apostrophe to become Johnstown or Waynestown.

Switch Blayde

@tppm

One minor grammatical nit. Since the Wayne refers to a family rather than a person, before the conjunction of the words it should be Waynes' Town. Plural possessives the apostrophe goes after the "s", not before.


It's actually Waynetown. There was a man with a last name of Wayne who ran the town so the town took his name. It was his town, thus Wayne's town. That's why I change the last name from Sturgess. I didn't want to deal with the "ess".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It's actually Waynetown. There was a man with a last name of Wayne who ran the town so the town took his name. It was his town, thus Wayne's town. That's why I change the last name from Sturgess. I didn't want to deal with the "ess".

How about "Peter's Pay Your Taxes or Get the Hell Out town"? Or Peter'sPYToGHOton. 'D

Sorry, couldn't resist based on the idea of someone's private town.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

"Peter's Pay Your Taxes or Get the Hell Out town"


That's be soon shortened to Peterpaytown

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Los Angeles has a very long and flowery Spanish name, something about Mary, queen of angels, All that stuck was The Angeles part, Los Angeles. And now its mostly L.A. and in some danger of losing the periods after L and A.

Seattle is undergoing a shift to C attle, and if the Mayor has his way, the space between the C and the attle will disappear and residents will be Cattle, and treated that way. Moooo.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

residents will be Cattle


What make you think that they aren't already?

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

What make you think that they aren't [Cattle] already?

The folks in my town is. Have you ever seen a cow surfing? It's not a pretty sight!

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

At least milk is cheaper. I got a quart at QFC Friday for 49 cents. It is usually $1.89. The expiration date was in less than a week, but for longer expiration dates it was only 99 cents. I think for Martin Luther King day (MLK day) they should sell regular and chocolate milk for the same price. In honor of racial equality. Or is that like e mail and other electronic innovations?

Zom

@richardshagrin

danger of losing the periods after L and A.

LA LA how the life goes on.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

some danger of losing the periods after L and A.


I thought living in Los Angeles was a period.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

So it's like PMS? Or is that having a period. Perhaps we should consult a proofreader. They know a lot about where periods go.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

So it's like PMS? Or is that having a period.


In the US a period is the finish of the sentence. Thus, living in Los Angeles is the final sentence; isn't that what you meant?

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

residents will be Cattle

What make you think that they aren't already?


'cause their planes a'int big enough (boing boing

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