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Tim Pratt
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2004 - 11:32 am:   

I'm diving into the first round of major revisions on my new novel this weekend, with good feedback from lots of wonderful people to help guide my efforts. There's one point on which I'd like further help, though, and I entreat anyone reading this to weigh in with suggestions.

While the novel takes place in San Francisco, the protagonist comes from a city on the eastern coast of the US. That city is never named, for the very simple reason that it doesn't have a name yet -- it's a made-up place. I expect to write further novels about this protagonist, many of which will be set in the city where she lives, and I don't want to be shackled by the particularities of an actual city, so I plan to invent my own (like de Lint's Newford, or the innumerable towns Stephen King has invented). I've written a few stories about this protagonist, set in this city, so there are certain things I already know -- it's a coastal city, with a bay; it's Northeastern or midcoastal, not Southern; it used to be an important port city, but the port isn't as thriving these days; there's a fair bit of heavy industry, sort of a rust-belt feel; there's a heavily urbanized city core. My mental view of this place incorporates chunks of Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Savannah, and even New Orleans.

But the city does need a name, because there are moments in the novel where my protagonist would quite naturally mention the place that she's from, without any of the coy circumolocutions I employed in the first draft.

So -- suggest some city names. Preferably not the names of actual metropolitan areas on the East Coast! Preferably cool names that are wonderfully evocative! If I take a suggestion one of you offers, I'll give you some kind of a prize, to be named later. A chapbook, or a 'zine, or a free copy of this novel if it's ever published, or some such.

Suggestions?
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2004 - 11:56 am:   

Hi. I can understand your quandary. See what you think of these:

1. Sienna
2. Queen's Bay

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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

The names of all the cities you mention arose naturally from their founding or early history. What idealism, or crime, or mad intent, or fabulous combination of these brought about your city?
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 05:32 am:   

Your imaginary city sounds much like Pawtucket, RI, or several of the Connecticut river/coastal cities such as New London, Groton, New Haven, Bridgeport, etc. One tack would be to swipe the name of a UK city as yet unused for the Northeast, with or without a "New" at the front. Salford or New Salford, for instance, or Prestwick/New Prestwick.

Another approach might be looking at common suffixes (suffices?) attached to Colonial founders' names or geographical/functional discriptors--as Lovecraft did with Innsmouth and Dunwich (or like the real cities of Weymouth and Portsmouth).

Just some thoughts.

~Jack~
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Jamie
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 10:19 am:   

Shackleton.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 11:24 am:   

Thanks, everybody. For the time being I'm going with Coalhaven (which someone suggested on another board). It's appropriate on a lot of levels, though it may change, of course...
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barth
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 01:37 pm:   

so...what was wrong with "milwaukee"?
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 04:54 pm:   

It's not Madison, that's what's wrong with it, Barth. Sheesh, you should know that. :-)
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 12:31 pm:   

The word "Milwaukee" makes me think of beer, which makes me want beer, which makes me drink beer, which makes me think it's a good idea to drink even more beer, which rather impedes my writing process... so it's not a word I should have to look at over and over in the course of a novel, I don't think.
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 04:41 am:   

Milwaukee, the word that made beer famous.

JK
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barth
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 05:49 am:   

sheboygan? manitowoc? oconomowoc?

(sounds like i'm casting a 'sconnie spell...)

~

aside to forrest: holy crap, you summed up my autobiography in 14 words!
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 06:11 am:   

wausau? wauwatosa? waukesha? menomonee falls?

we could do this all day! :-)

JK
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 06:12 am:   

kewauskum? waupan? fond du lac? neenah? menasha?

JK
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 10:07 am:   

Paerburg

New Munster

Orta Nova

St. Damiani

Canterbury City

Champville

Beauland

Detton

West Bern

Finlington
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Luís
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 10:13 pm:   

I like Canterbury City.

Some suggestions of my own: Ableport, Blusterton, Cheeseburg, Coopershire, Haggerton, Halegate, Hailgate, Hopeland Bay, Saberport, Sterngate, Stoutton . . .

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