Dragons down under

Word count: 46,156

Just wrapped up chapter 13 of my Dragoncharm prequel, currently running under the title The Dragons of Bloodrock. This marks the end of Part Two of the novel – more or less the halfway point.

As well as telling the story, this week I’ve been wrestling with names. I’ve ranted before about how Fancy handles” href=”https://grahamedwardsonline.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/fancy-handles/”>I hate wacky names in fantasy novels – I’ll always go for the simple option unless there’s good reason not to. That said, I’m always ready to hunt out a new sound or two. This time my search has taken me down under.

For reasons I’ll go into in at a later date, the Bloodrock story is set in a prehistoric – or, if you’re familiar with the basic Dragoncharm concept, pre-turning – version of Australia. So I’m keen for some – though not all – of the names to have an Australian feel. As a word-lover, I’m drawn naturally to the various aboriginal languages, but I’m also aware that many aborigine words have a significant spiritual meaning. Just hijacking the ones I like would be akin to trespassing.

My placeholder name for the continent itself was Borealia, a hangover from an earlier outline and all wrong for this project. Recently I’ve changed it to Jangala, which I’m not hugely fond of but does at least have some of the antipodean vibe I’m after. Some of the names I’m using for individual settlements are Kirralee, Adelong (I discovered after I made it up that this is an actual town in New South Wales) and Barra (yes, that last one’s also a Hebridean island but doesn’t it sound Australian to you?).

Not that all the names follow this pattern. I need to maintain the conceit that my dragon characters live not in some remote fantasy realm but in our own world before the magic went away. Referencing folklore and the classics helps in this respect. So I have giant beasts in the sea called, naturally, leviathans, and I have faeries.

According to the alternative pre-history established in my earlier dragon novels, man is descended not from apes but faeries. It’s is a sad story of aethereal beings losing their magic – or charm – and becoming brutes. The faeries in Bloodrock are called elderay, and they posed a problem in that, when I introduced them, I found myself coming close to replicating a scene from Dragoncharm.  I’ve solved that this week by making the elderay not benign, as the faeries are in the early dragon books, but angry and rather dangerous.

Well, wouldn’t you be, if you’d just discovered your ancient and noble race was destined to turn into mankind?

Returning to the subject of names, it’s amazing what you can find on the internet. It’s also deeply annoying when you Google the wonderfully apt and original name you just dreamed up. Jangala is apparently a children’s soft play centre just outside Derby. Ah well.

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