The Perils of Worldbuilding: What Was I Thinking When I Named that Country?

I’ve been looking back over the countries I created for Ariadne, and I’ve come to a conclusion: either I was out of my mind when I named some of those countries or I can see the future.

stupid_namesSometimes, when naming fictional countries, we think, Oh, that sounds good.  Then go back to it fourteen years later, and I’m thinking What the f@$%????  I really have no idea what I was thinking when I made some of those names.  Of course, I’m going to keep the majority of them, as many were named after important people.  But a large number of them are totally made up words with no thought toward etymology. Considering the countries were mostly named within a couple hundred years of colonisation, I would assume that there wasn’t much in the way of language drift.  Maybe a thousand years later, I can have unusual sounding names for countries.

Let me give you a couple examples of country names I rediscovered as I look through the information I wrote out fourteen years ago.  First is a country called Caprica.  Not a bad name, to be honest, if it hadn’t been used by Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.  That’s going to have to change.  The other one just completely baffles me.  It’s Rihana.  Too close to Rihanna, if you ask me.  When I named the country, Rihanna was only 13 years old and not at all famous.  But I’m going to change it.

There are many others that just seem absolutely silly sounding to me now.  They’re going to change.  But I’ll tell you the names of the two original colony countries and their capital cities.  These are not changing, except the spelling of one.  The original colony site is the city of New Athens, in honour of Athens, of course.  It’s the seat of democracy, and that’s why it was chosen.  The country’s name is Colonia, though I will change that to Kolonia to reflect the Greek spelling of “colony.”  It also honours where the colonists come from, which is Hellas City in the Hellas Basin on Mars.  Hellas is the Greek name for Greece.  So, the colony is all Greek, at least in terms of names.

As for the second city and country, this is in honour of the leader of the Ariadne Project, Paolo Fernandes, who is a major character in Journey to Ariadne.  That country is named Amazonia with the capital New Brasilia.  He’s from Brazil.  He was also a dedicated environmentalist before leaving Earth to move to Mars.  He was working hard to save what was left of the Amazon.

So, that’s a little information about my worldbuilding (and character building) process.  I thought you’d be interested in seeing a little bit of what’s going on behind the scenes.

What’s coming in the future is a full list of all the countries on Ariadne, after I’ve gone through and determined the origins of the names, and rename quite a few of them.  I’ll be writing out physical geography for each one, and as the stories advance, I will be adding more information to each country as the world’s history advances.  Look for some of this to come soon.

Comments and questions are always welcome.

6 thoughts on “The Perils of Worldbuilding: What Was I Thinking When I Named that Country?”

  1. I love hearing the behind the scenes and the history of your characters and places. Way to by psychic using Caprica and Rihana. Will you be creating a language, too? Or evolving know languages?

    1. Main language is English. It’s an international group of people of several thousand in the beginning around 150 years in the future. For them, no new language. Evolving the language may come, but it’s really not a big priority.

      1. I’ve been reading the other developments of Ariadne (sp?) I’m seriously impressed with the work/thought you’ve put into this new world. Can’t wait to hear about the renaming of the countries, cities and capitals.

        1. Most of the work I did was in the early part of the last decade. Really, just a few months’ work back in 2001. I did some more development shortly after I moved to Japan in 2005. I didn’t have the internet for about 1 1/2 years, so I had time and a lack of distractions for it. And I can’t wait to get to work on this.

  2. I’m still a bit miffed to learn that I named one of my kingdoms the French word for almond (Amandon), but it’s too late to change now. Alas, the people of Amandon are not as nutty as you would expect.

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