1. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    A Character Name

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by crysacraig, Jul 18, 2010.

    I am in the middle of my first book. I am struggling to name one of my secondary characters. He is eighteen-years old, he is a computer geek but he doesn't like to be referred to as one. He wears black rimmed glasses and short brown hair. He is shy around woman. Clumsy when nervous. He is loyal to his friends but doesn't have a lot of friends because computers mean everything to him.

    The reason I am struggling to name him is because he has everyone refer to him by his last name, which is bizarre, but he hates his first name even more.

    I'm currently tossing around Gavin Haywood, Forest Dante, Chadwick Kane.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
     
  2. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    You're new here. I appreciate that. Thus, I am going to be gentle about this issue. It's a particular pet-peeve of mine, and the forum in general (unless I've horribly missed what seems like months of guessing) looks down on naming threads. And we get lots of them. Lots and lots and lots of them. So here goes-

    We can't help you with finding a name. Honestly, we can't. We are unable to pick names for you, and we are not capable of suggesting names that you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere.

    What I can tell you is this: the name is from the character's parents. So think about them when you try to decide what to name your character. They chose a name for the character. If you can't figure it out, maybe they can. Ask your parents why you were named what you are. If he's really a secondary character, like you say, his name is unlikely to matter too much- so just pick something.

    Asking for names is not something we can help with. Universally, the suggestions end up being vague lists along a theme (that miss the point of the character), general name ideas (rather than actual names), or redirects to other sites like babynames.com, and inevitably, the original poster either decides on something else or promises to take these names into account and picks something on their own.

    Anyway. Apologies for the brusque welcome, but hey, it's an irritating topic. I hope that you have fun here anyway!
     
  3. hoddsykins
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    hoddsykins Member

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    i argree with what you said, by the way i'm new here, and i don't think it's that bad idea asking for a name, i had a lot of trouble thinking of names, also robert would fit perfectly
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think its a bad thing ultimately you are that characters parent. And those useless vagues lists have helped me name my children and provided me with a wonderful resource and understanding of names. And for some writers its important to get the name right.

    Personally I think reading the names you have chosen sounds like serial killers:) But if you are in love with one go with it. Something like Marcus, Lyndon, Joe would work for me.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    If his French parents named him before moving to an English-speaking country, he could be named Jean-Marie.
     
  6. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    I appreciate your responses and I appreciate the hard work put into this forum. In the few weeks I have lurked, learned a lot. That being said after my first post, I am feel far from welcome. I appreciate B-Gas that you are being honest and that you have a pet-peeve. After all I have a few pet-peeves also. One happens to be rude unwelcoming people on forums. If it's all the same to you, I will not be posting on this forum again. I wish you all luck in your writing.
     
  7. Herl
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    Herl Member

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    I liked Gavin Haywood /:
     
  8. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Crysacraig,

    I would strongly discourage you from leaving the forum because of how you were treated on this. B-Gas said he was irritated and even made an apology and ended on the hope you have fun here.

    Normally what seems to happen is a new member posts an introduction and everyone says hi. There is actually a new member section to this site.
     
  9. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    I did not want to upset or offend anyone by asking a question. I have completed twelve chapters in my first book. I have eight so so important characters, who all fit their names. I only asked because this one character just can't fit into a name. Maybe by the time I finish the book I'll have a name for him.
     
  10. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    As I say, don't let it get you down. Seriously stick around and in a day or two bygones will be bygones. Re: your question I'll just say think about any name that suits your characters profile and allows you to relate to him.

    For example in my project I'm working on I have a character called Jamie Hagan. Thats almost identical to James Hawkins (the kid from Treasure Island). I picked it as there are similarities between the characters. Another character is BrĂ³na which is the Irish word for "sorrow". She is the tragic character. Equally another character is called Dean Ardiff - no special reasons just a name I threw together and seemed to fit the character well.
     
  11. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    I have a James Dupree in my novel. He is an secret agent who is undercovering as a street punk. People know him on the streets as Jamie. The character I am most proud of in my novel is the grandfather figure to my main character. He is a dirty old man who wears a black Steton and always tells the truth. I named him Frank Valentine, which totally fits him.
     
  12. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Exactly stick to what got you picking those character names. You said in your opening post

    Ok so he has a second name that works as a nickname and a really irritating first name. Toy around with it and see what fits.
     
  13. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    My advice is pick a name and roll with it. If you're writing in MS Word, you can always use the "find and replace" function if you later develop a name that fits better. Meanwhile, don't let a little snag like this trip you up. Truth is, the "right" name will probably drop on you like a ton of bricks later as you're writing.

    The nice thing about writing (and also the most irritating) is that you're never done. There's always the opportunity to changes things. Sometimes it's infuriating because you often re-write or edit so much the story takes on a new form. But it's also liberating; you can name your character whatever you want--or have to--knowing that you can change it later. Believe me, you'll revise. We all do, sometimes too much, usually not enough.
     
  14. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    I know what you mean Langadune. I think I have changed the course of my first chapter three or four times already. And you are right about the find and replace. I am using Word so that will work out great.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    word of warning personally i cannot change my characters names I ended up having to have a conversation which explained my character having a name that didn't suit him.
     
  16. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Craig,

    I liked the name Gavin out of the ones you suggested. You don't want to give him a name that's TOO nerdy, but one that could easily fit a nerd w/out being too obvious -- and I think Gavin fits that category nicely. After all, when he was born, his parents wouldn't have known he was going to grow up to be a computer geek right? :)
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This goes with the catchphrase, "Murder your darlings." As a writer, you must be able to ruthlessly change or remove any element of your story that doesn't belong, no matter how emotionally attached you become.

    In fact, the deeper the emotional attachment, the more brutally you have to treat the story element, whether it's a clever description, a crackling scene, or a name you've grown fond of.

    Murder your darlings. Because your love for them is dragging you to ruin.
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not going to ruin, because my story is progressing and the people who are reading it are enjoying the story and asking for more.. I would only be going to ruin if my primary goal was to be published. Although I am now considering it based on the reviews of my target audience that have read it over for me. And my epilogue got a favourable response on here. My stories have been brewing in my head for many years and its been a part of me.

    My story has come out of my love for the characters, I can easily make it seem real, and feel researched because I have a relationship with them. I know other writers some who have had their work published with varying degree of success, who feel the same way. Every writer is different, but until Crysacraig knows exactly which variety he is, my advice is play it safe and put some thought into the names.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Crysacraig just a suggestion what about something outlandish/puritan/hippy/very religious for a first name and then a surname like Smith/Brown/Jones etc

    The Inspector Morse books/TV show by Colin Dexter come to mind. He was Morse until the very end and his first name was revealed as Endeavour.

    I am wondering if your problem might be none of your first names are embarrassing enough?
     
  20. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    You could be right, Elgaisma. I was tossing around the first name Gaylord today, which is embarressing enough. If I had that as a first name I would resort to my surname.
     
  21. TodgeWatherly
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    TodgeWatherly Member

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    I personally think names are some of the funnest parts of writing stories--which is probably why I like to write things with more fantasy/fairy tale feel. I do agree that coming up with a name can be the most frustrating thing at times because everything at that point sounds equally good or equally bad.

    I can understand what the reply meant in terms of we can't help you much, but I've found that sometimes friends say random names when you ask them and they turn out to be perfect. So who knows?
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Meet the Fockers and I have forgotten what the first one was called it wasn't as funny lol. But yeah maybe something like that,

    I just don't think Gavin although I wouldn't like the name is bad enough to not be called by your first name.

    Having said that I call my husband by his surname, his first name is Richard so not that bad lol His surname just starts with same letter as my best friend lol and I kept getting them mixed up it was easier to swap mid word:)
     
  23. crysacraig
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    crysacraig New Member

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    My best friend pointed out something to me today. She thinks I should go with Chadwick for a first name because she says that she has a vision stuck in her head of the young Chadwick running around the school yard being chased by the bullies who refer to him as wickie.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    sounds good what about Chadwick Smith?
     

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