One of the wonderful things about writing fantasy is that you can make up your own worlds – and all the names. 🙂 Sometimes naming things – planets, continents, rivers is fun (Huckleberry Finn River, Great Platte Ocean, Hard Rock Mountains). It can be easy. I knew I wanted a Celtic background for my “Heart” series so naming the planet Celta didn’t require much thought.
But naming the planet in my Summoning series (average American women summoned to an alternate dimension to fight invading evil) was harder. This planet was sentient (and who’s to say they aren’t?), it’s weak because an evil, alien Dark has been feasting on it for years. But it loves the people who are trying to save it and themselves (oh, and creatures – the flying horses and magical shapeshifter animal-companions). The language is French based, and I tried several names that didn’t work. I finally decided that the defining characteristic of the planet was love, so it became Amee.
It’s also very cool to map the planets. I did a hand drawing of Celta, found software to make it more real looking, then have recently gone beyond my drawing of two continents to the whole world. All fun and motivating to write more about wonderful places.
The best thing about writing your own worlds, though, is sharing it. All my coworkers at my day job got to pick a river or a mountain or whatever to name. I got the Ruby Ananda River from that. Or I can offer contests to name things. I have a passion flower called An’Alcha from that, and, of course, the Plano Straight – that’s a huge geographical feature on Celta. I’ve had characters (murder victim and cop in Heart Quest) named by my readers.
That’s the most fun of all, sharing the world with readers who enjoy it as much as I do.