Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nicknames for Places

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

Maybe you already know this. But I stumbled onto it as I was working on book three in my Safe Lands series. I needed to name an area of my city, and I wanted it to sound cool, like a nickname. I was thinking of some of the areas in Manhattan, like SoHo, and decided to do a little research. I discovered that the name SoHo refers to the area south of Houston Street. (Get it? SOuth or HOuston Street?)

I knew this already from the time I spent going to college in Manhattan. But what I didn't know was that it was named by Chester Rapkin, an urban planner who, according to his obituary in the New York Times, "first used the term SoHo in a 1962 study of the community, while he was chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's urban study group."

This started a trend for nicknaming areas in New York City. Consider the following list:
-DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
-NoHo (NOrth of HOuston Street)
-Nolita (NOrth of Little ITAly)
-NoMad (NOrth of MADison Square Park)
-SoHa (SOuth of HArlem)
-TriBeCa (TRIangle BElow CAnal Street)

So I came up with one of my own.
-Cibelo (CIty BELOw the _______ ) I can't say what or I might spoil book three, and book two isn't even out yet!

Ever use a catchy acronym in your writing?


  1. Ooh!!!!! Awesome! that is a totally new cool thing to me! :D I love it! the. best. naming. ever!!!! awwwe, I want to know what it is! wish u could tell us, but i understand, i don't give away hints of my books to ANYONE. ;)

  2. Ooo....this is cool. I've never done something like this before.

  3. I don't have any nicknames yet, but I love the ideas. A lot of my characters have nicknames, though. Thanks for the great post Mrs. Williamson!
    ~Sarah Faulkner


  4. haha those are awesome!! Now I want to use one........... :D

  5. I've always had so much trouble with place names....this seems like a great way to start. Wish you would tell us what's above that city! Happy writing :)

  6. That is so cool! I've never really thought about that. And like Anastasia, I've been having trouble naming places in my spec fic novel, so this is helpful.

  7. From Amo Libros:
    This is so cool!!! I'm going to have to use this somewhere! maybe in that superhero story I started...;)

  8. I haven't ever used one before, but I love the sound of yours, Jill! And I canNOT wait for the rest of the Safe Lands trilogy :)

  9. The school in one of my latest project is officially named GWG Academy (Grove Wood Glen Academy) but the students call it Gwag.
    I have more in other stories (though they aren't necessarily locations) but that's the best one of the top of my head.

  10. In the city of gerinitchi there is a section that was the original city they call it gent. In ence the monarale is the Tinbi tin being short for tindale or upper and bi being way