Today’s writing challenge illustrates the kind of problem I never thought about before I started submitting items for publication: I need to (probably) change the name of the *key* artifact in my middle-grade fantasy, Juggling the Keystone. Bad pun intended.
The Keystone is a magical orb that is sort of a wizard’s all-purpose key. It unlocks things. Anything. Unfortunately, the word was previously claimed by the architectural world. Merriam Webster defines it as “the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place”—not the kind of thing you’d want your main character to juggle.
So why not just call it the Wizard’s Key or Magekey or something like that? Well, another important item in the book is the songstone. I kind of like the parallel name structure—Keystone, songstone—since they’re kind of parallel items.
To help me tackle this challenge, I’ve been using one of my favorite resource books, the Flip Dictionary, by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D. It’s kind of like a thesaurus, but not. Instead, it offers collections of related words for those of us who can’t come up with quite the perfect phrase. For example, under “horse” there’s a table of “Horse Terms”, including: martingale, oxer, passage, piaffe, prance, puissance, rack, singlefoot, tack, tittup, trot, and volt.
For my renaming challenge, I’ve consulted the entries for key, stone, orb, unlock, puzzle, magic, open, and container, which gives me a nice list of names that almost work.
For the Key motif: Mermetic Key, Wizard Key, Riddle Key, Arcana Key
Or, keeping the Stone motif: Wizard Stone, Riddle Stone, Solving Stone, Unlocking Stone, Opening Stone, Maze Stone, Gordian Stone (which I like, but refers to a completely different universe and mythology.)
I kind of like GPS stone, but I guess that doesn’t work, either. Any suggestions?