1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    A name for a character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Marcelo, Sep 29, 2008.

    All the names I think of just don't feel 'right'. The character is fifteen years old, has long, brown straight hair and gray eyes. He's like 1.74 cm tall, and later on the story becomes a killer. Any names? Something... That fits him, something cool but not uncommon. Help guys!
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    1.74 cm killer, huh? I guess there are some arteries in the ankle...

    Seriously, though, people are not named based on their appearance or their qualities. No one looks at their baby and says, "Oh, he's going to have black hair and one day kill his girlfriend. I'll name him Raven Blooddark!" What country does this kid live in, at least? What social class is he? What ethnicity? Who are his parents, and what do they do for a living?
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I tend to name characters based on role or personality. Often my opposing characters have equally opposing names, or maybe foil names. I find behindthename.com a great tool.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to assume you meant he's 1.74 m tall.

    He becomes a killer...

    How about Brandon, or his last name could be Brightside? ;)

    Or Zane, Christian, Addison, Kaine or Cain...
     
  5. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Seriously, some people name characters based on that. For example, when I think of a big, far nurse names like Olga or Bertha come to my mind (No offense to any Olgas and Berthas out there). Well, he's a middle-class person, and his grand-grandfather comes from Ireland. His surname is Gibson. What do you think of Peter?
     
  6. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Marina, I liked the names, but they're a bit uncommon...
    And Scattercat, I didn't finish (whoops!) xD
    His father was (he died) a Sergeant in the Police Department, and he lives in a city (fictional) named Los Reinos in the United States.
     
  7. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Yes, but if your names don't match the setting, your audience is going to get a lot more skeptical. If I'm reading a story set in an American high school and one of the kids is named Spartacus, I'm going to do a double-take.

    How about "Kevin"? His real name could be his grandfather's, "Cavan," which means "hollow," but he goes by "Kevin," which means "beautiful." That would keep the idea of the hidden killer, and tie into his family history.

    Cain could also work, although it's a titch overused at this point.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then really any name is fine, or just call him Adam for a while until you choose one that you feel fits.

    I like Scattercat's idea with the changing of the grandfather's name and the meanings behind the original and new names could work into your story. You know, like he was hollow (Cavan), without a conscience; but he hid it with an external beauty (Kevin).
     
  9. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Wow, how couldn't I think of it! I used to name my characters based on what the name meant... I guess I forgot that, and that 'hollow to beautiful' concept is great. Thanks a lot!
     
  10. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    The difficulty is finding a name that fits which is also appropriate to the setting. Kevin/Cavan just kind of fell into place, and luckily they're both very Irish.
     
  11. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    How about "Hunter" or "Fox" because those names are like a predictor of his behavior.
     
  12. Vendredi-is-Friday
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    Vendredi-is-Friday New Member

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    Hello.

    Charles Dickens names his characters in Great Expectations based on their appearance and/or their qualities. Miss Havisham for example looks and acts like her name feels, and also is an antagonist character that gives the main character Pip a lie that ends up hurting Pip in the long run (Have-a-sham?).

    Names can be merely labels, but they can also become literary devices in themselves, depending on what you are doing and how you are doing it. I think you need to remain consistent though. Dickens uses his names for characterization throughout that entire work. Think about what you are trying to accomplish and let that answer this question.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The use of symbolic names goes in and out of fashion, for the most part, although in some writing genres such as satire or comedy or erotica, it may be more persistent.

    I prefer to avoid it most of the time. It strikes me as a bit heavy-handed to name a hit man Mr. Bullitt, or a male heartthrob Lance.
     
  14. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    A) I personally am not going to be holding up Dickens - good old paid-by-the-word two-chapters-describing-one-meal Dickens - as an example after which to pattern one's writing.

    B) I've never heard that her name was intended to be "Have a sham," nor can I find any corroboration in the usual literature. What's your source on this?

    C) As Cogito points out, naming your characters directly after their function in the story is usually regarded, in these modern times, as a trifle on the ham-fisted side. (With the possible exception of superheroes, whom it can be argued are naming themselves with self-referential monikers.)

    (And even there, people still cringe a bit at Stan Lee classics like "Pepper Potts" the spunky female sidekick, or good old Edward "E." Nigma, a.k.a. The Riddler from DC Comics.)
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Comic books are a genre in which the richly symbolic name is still in high favor - Victor Von Doom, James Jesse (Flash enemy the Trickster) are a couple more that spring to mind.

    And anyone who has read a James Bond book or watched one of the movies has groaned at some of the character names - Auric Goldfinger, for one, and I won't even mention the women!
     
  16. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    Most of my names just come to me. I like the whole Cavan/Kevin concept though.
     
  17. Rem Nightfall
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    Rem Nightfall Banned

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    A thing I do to find good names is to go on a site called babynames.com. I find it very helpful, even though I'm making comics, you can find a name for almost anything.
    I hope I helped and if I didn't I hope you punishment is just, I can only assume it will be.
    Here and Now
    ~Rem Nightfall
     
  18. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Or you can just throw together some sounds until you come up with something that sounds good, like uhh...Valus.
     
  19. captain gonzo
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    captain gonzo Member

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    I hate naming characters....so usually I don't bother. I tend to write in first person and refer to people by their roles (my accountant, my girlfriend etc)

    The only time i seriously cared about giving a name to someone he ended up having hundreds of names. But that was due to a plot line.

    Wish I could help you with the naming.
     
  20. NateDoggy
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    NateDoggy Member

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    I know some American Literature I read in Honors English 11, a lot of the best books I read the names were based symbollically on how the character was portrayed.

    For instance the Great Gatsby, a great book, and the characters remind you of how they are described.

    As for names for your character I like Kevin/Cavan, it sounds great.
     
  21. Tobi
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    Tobi Member

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    I would go with the name Artemis. It's a girls name but can be used for boys, it means hunter. Hunter, killer, not really a big difference. However it's probably out of place.
     
  22. NateDoggy
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    NateDoggy Member

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    Artemis is a sweet name, but it's not common (that I know of maybe it is I never met someone named Artemis) and I think he asked for common names. I like that name however :)

    I'd go with Kane, or something like that. But Kane, not common really either.
     
  23. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Hunter in Greek is "Theron" and is a common name.

    No one knows what Artemis means, but its regularly assumed to be related to "artemes" which means "safe," which makes since because originally she was only the goddess of the forest and became related to hunting later.

    PS: I would never recommend Artemis for a boy's name (just me maybe). The name can be used for boys but name a boy that and in my mind I'm thinking I'd double back and think "Who names a boy after a goddess? That's just stupid." believe me I've said that to myself before when I've seen stupid names on a character (Artemis is a kick butt name but for a boy it's just silly).

    You could go with the flow for naming. Many serial killers have surprisingly generic names: Ted, Jeffry, Harold, Luis, Randy, and even Pedro.
     
  24. Tobi
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    Tobi Member

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    Thanks for that. I don't want to feed wrong information. Yeah I was thinking about the goddess not the actually definition, good job for fixing my mistake. It's associated with hunter and is a much better name than Theron.

    I've met a few boys with the name Artemis. You have to ask what the parents were thinking, and people always ask why they have a girls name.
     
  25. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    Names should be a very personal thing for you and your character and should carry the most meaning, more so than any of your character's other traits. This sounds corny as hell, but listen to your character. It is the character that tells the story, you are simply the medium. In time, a name will come to you.
     

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