Hey, I was wondering how do writers name things? How can I name a creature or a land, like how did J.K. Rowling name quidditch or dementors or Azkaban or spells etc. where did the names come from, they’re so new and suiting, but sometimes the name is simple but catchy like little lighting girl from red queen. Thank you!! I hope it wasn’t much trouble


I have a post where I talk about how I name characters. But there’s more you can use for naming different things. 

Harry Potter is a good example. For one, Voldemort actually means “flight of death” in French which I’m sure you can tell is a good choice for his character, not only because it actually has meaning but it just sounds right for a villain, you know? Or the names of the houses are interesting too. They each hint at what the house is known for. Gryffindor has griffin in it which a creature known for courage and leadership. Ravenclaw has raven which is a bird known for being clever. Slytherin sounds really sinister and of course relates to the snake. Hufflepuff…well I’m actually not sure what meaning the word has but it does sound quite soft and huggable. 

Writers love words. While it might drive us crazy sometimes it’s important to find just the right word which means exploring the little nuances between synonyms and the sometimes looking at how the linguistics might affect the reader. Slytherin: snakes, sly, slithering…it makes you think of craftiness, sneakiness, deviousness. Voldemort: even if you don’t know what it means in French if you speak a language with some latin influences you might at least pick up on the “mort” being associated with mortician, mortality, mortal ect. that brings up death. The letter “V”, as silly as it sounds, sounds more sinister and mysterious than like the sound of the letter A. 

Explore different words associated with what you want the reader to feel or think about with the term. You can use different languages to make it a more subtle effect, like Rowling with Voldemort, keeping in mind that English is one of those Frankenstein languages that is mush of other languages (Latin, Greek, and Germanic languages mostly). Say it out loud, combine it with other words, add prefixes or suffixes (griffin-dor) to make it more your own.

I looked up the meaning behind “quidditch” and found this site that explains it. Though there’s a mythology behind how the word came to be in the world of Harry Potter, apparently Rowling wrote out a bunch of Q words until she found one she liked. The link explores it a little more if you’re interested. 

Basically it’s a bunch of obsessing over little details that most people might not pick up on but those that do will appreciate it 🙂

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