What's Up With These Names?!
Most people who have encountered Anelthalien have asked about the name. They wonder what it is, where it came from, what it means, and how to say it. Those same questions have arisen when readers encounter the names and places in Anelthalien. No concrete rule guides the process of how each character or place receives its name. Some names mean something, others don't exist outside of Anelthalien. The naming process (if I have to call it something) really was as unplanned and fluid as how I wrote the whole story: it just happened however God happened to direct.
I didn't plan Anelthalien before I wrote it. However, as far back as I can remember, I liked to play in and draw my imaginary world of Anelthalien. Where the name "Anelthalien" came from, I don't remember. Anelthalien just was the place in my imagination. A few characters (one not in the first book, two in it) were not who they are in the series now, but their names and general positions were part of my drawings. Menthoshine was one of my favorite people to draw and Castrosphy was always somehow connected to her. Like Anelthalien, those names just were who those characters were. Also, the main character of Kindle (played by me in my imaginary play time) always existed as someone who is a slightly braver, more outgoing version of me, but her name and traits changed depending on the day and the story I imagined. Other than those names and a few others, I didn't encounter the characters and places in the book Anelthalien until God introduced me to them.
How God introduced us was a little unusual and a quite a bit of fun. I'll use Missi as an example. I never had conceived or even had a warning about Missi until her tinkling laugh and weird pointy face were hovering in my imagination. Then at the point when she required a name God, dropped a hint of insight about her into my mind and sent me on a scavenger hunt for the perfect name. I flipped through my Latin mental notes and knew her name when I found it. "Missi" is a form of the Latin verb "send". (If you read about Missi, her connection to being sent will make sense.) Once I found Missi a name, God resumed the story. That is how the majority of people and places in Anelthalien received their names. When it was necessary for someone or something to have a name, God would let me see just enough of that character or town to set a word firmly in my mind. Once I knew the essence of what or who needed a name, I'd flip through my knowledge (or Google Translate or Blue Letter Bible) to find a word that conveyed what that person or place was. Most names like that derive from Latin or Hebrew, but some stem from another language. Sometimes finding the perfect name was easy and didn't take long. For other names, I changed them after happening upon a study note during my daily Bible reading halfway through the creation of the book (yeah, that's why Azildor's last name is not Sakal). God let me have some fun and freedom with the minor names but made sure to correct any that weren't quite right.
Some names neither stemmed from my childhood imagination nor God's scavenger hunts. A few characters were unplanned by me, but when I met them while writing, they already had names. Azildor was one of those names. As far as I know, it doesn't mean anything and didn't come from anywhere other than God dropping it in my mind at exactly the right time.
I guess the unplanned, fluid naming process that happens when I wrote (and still write) can be summarized as God-facilitated. He gives me a direction, boundaries to play in, and then lets me wander around until I find a perfect little treasure. If I take it back to God and He approves, the name is set and He returns to story telling.
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