How do you give otherworldly names to people and things when human language is already so varied? I have to admit, naming is one of my favorite parts of writing. The characters and their attributes tend to rule the process for me. In the universe I’ve created, the Origins scattered instructions throughout the galaxy. When a creature hit the potential for self-awareness, a program kicked in, turning them into an intelligent species capable of space travel. Now, think about all of the intelligent animals on Earth that didn’t make the jump into technology. Dolphins, cats and dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, parrots, and crows are all quite smart. What would happen if any one of them had an advantage on another planet, eventually turning into a biped, capable of piloting a spacecraft?
So, I took all of the varieties in mind when creating some of my names. Khscc was easy as a name for lizard people, based on how a snake sounds. Kik for the Kik birds is also an onomatopoeia name. I’ve tried to limit them because languages evolve away from the original word.
If you know any Hindi, you might recognize Ghar and the Vahdmoshi as words from that language. Ghar means home and Vhadmoshi is a scrambled form of virodhee, meaning enemy. I love borrowing from Sanskrit. I might use more from Icelandic in the future as well. Working on my fourth story in a series means everything is on the table for future books. As it is, I’ve given the Gharians Icelandic naming conventions. As in for Turkh in Lin’s Challenge, his full name is KirKrell Turkh. The label tells you Kir has a son, Turkh.
How do I know what to call each and every person in my books, though? Character’s names tend to just pop into my head based on their characteristics. I wouldn’t call an Intergalactic Protector with muscles on his biceps Muffy. Although, that would be funny. Okay, I might do it in the future, but we’ll see. It’d be far more comic than romantic, but I could totally see an Earther in love with the guy insisting she call him Chuck or Butch. He’d be indignant because Muffy is a fine name derived from Mufiterial, the first leader of the Intergalactic Alliance. All right, Muf might get his own book after all. Let me know if you’d read a story about Mufiterial, the brawny Enforcer and the Earther who loves him.