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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » as pertaining to place names in a story

   
Author Topic: as pertaining to place names in a story
dpatridge
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i'm creating a horror/suspense milieu of a haunted amusement park, and have a question of how to go about place names.

should i actually come up with names for the rides, in-park hotel, and park itself? can i just use the names of some other popular theme park? or can i just get away with having characters say "the park", "the hotel", and "that one ride over there"?

i really don't have a story to fit into this milieu yet, but i'm working on it.


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Kickle
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Name them, and give them created names that work within your story to support the tone. These details are what will make your story unique from others with similar settings.
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mikemunsil
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what Kickle said, but go with a theme and it will be easier, and likely more convincing
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TaShaJaRo
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I would say to name them for now. Doing so will help you understand the setting better and may even give you an idea for a story within that setting. Once you have the story, you can decide whether to keep the names or not. You don't necessarily need to mention every ride name in the story but knowing what they are will probably help you.
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JBSkaggs
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I do so hope I will see this story-

who has been looking for haunted carnival stories.

JB Skaggs


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Robyn_Hood
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Take a look at existing place names, but when you write your story, develop the names yourself. Although you are writing fiction, you don't want to end up getting sued because you used a trademarked or registered name or worse, get sued for libel because how you use the name.

(not sure that makes sense, just sum it up as a "ditto" to the above comments )


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Authors should only use real place names when they know the place well enough to not drive readers who also know the place well crazy.

If you set a story in a real place and get a detail wrong, you hurt your credibility as a writer, and readers who know will have a much harder time sustaining their suspension of disbelief as they read.

It's better to make up names.

Ever heard of Yoknapatawpha County?


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wbriggs
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And while we're at it: about good naming conventions.

Names like Johnson City, Smithville, etc., are bland. Sure, use 'em if you need bland, which I do sometimes.

You can make the world richer with creative and beautiful names. Vance does this very well (Miraldra, Watershade, the Teach tac Teach range, Thripsey Shee ...). It's also realistic. The Embarcadero, Cannery Row, Picadilly Circus, the Ginza, Wounded Knee.


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Pyre Dynasty
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Everything in an amusement park has an amusing name. That is why it isn't called a ride park, or an outrageous food prices park.
If it was set in Disneyland, wouldn't it be more exiting to say that they were chased into Space Mountain rather than that one rollercoaster in a soundstage? Or that they had an encounter on the Teacups rather than in that ride that twirls around?

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Survivor
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Yeah, all that.

Of course, it's okay for your characters to occasionally say (or think) "the park", "the hotel", and "that one ride over there". In fact, they should usually refer to things that way unless there is a special reason to do otherwise.

"The gates to the park are locked!" just makes more sense than "The gates to Ninjaland are locked!"

Unless Pirate Island is right across the street (and the gates are not locked).


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dpatridge
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thanks guys, i kinda figured i should go with trying to come up with original names... it's just so hard to do sometimes!

place names is probably one of my biggest hurdles in writing... that and actually sitting down to do it

*delegates a portion of his mind to coming up with place names for a haunted amusement park.*

there, now in about a week i'll need to set some time apart to do an all-out brainstorming session.


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shadowynd
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What's the theme of your park, if it has one? Maybe we can help you come up with names. And, if you haven't yet assigned a theme, maybe we can help with that, too.

Sounds like a fun little exercise to me.

Susan


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dpatridge
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actually, it's a rather large park and will have multiple sections with seperate themes for each.

there'll be the water ride section, the "old town" section (wooden rides, old western style shops and shows), the kiddie section, and so on.

if you are talking about an overarching theme such as what parks like DisneyWorld and DisneyLand have, it won't have one, it's more along the lines of Cedar Point and other parks owned by Cedar Fairs. just a big park with lots of rides and shows.

JB would probably kill me for suggesting this, but i just thought it might be interesting to make the theme of the kiddie section Scooby Doo (the problem there is that Scooby is trademarked... so i'm not sure if it'd be legal for me to do that without compensation to whoever owns the rights at this time)

also, i intend on having the kiddie section in the dead center of the park with all the other sections arrayed around it in a circle. the park will be cut like a pie for all the other sections and even the kiddie section will follow the ride theme of its pie slice.

i'm not sure if that made sense, but basically, the park is somewhat circular, and the kiddie section is a smaller circle within the park. the park is cut into pie slices for each section, and the kiddie section will have the overarching kiddie theme AND the ride themes of each pie slice depending on which pie slice you are in.

maybe you guys can help me brainstorm what sorts of sections i want to have.


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wbriggs
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Area themes: the exotic east, down home or old town, in the jungle, high seas

History themes from your general area, like Six Flags

Make up cartoon characters

Segments of American history: westward expansion, revolutionary times, etc.

Make up old-time circus-type characters and associate rides or shows: fortune teller, ringmaster, lion tamer

Ancient civilizations, especially those that did creepy things (Egyptians, Maya)

[This message has been edited by wbriggs (edited May 23, 2005).]


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