1. WolfMan
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    WolfMan New Member

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    Can I get some input?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WolfMan, Sep 12, 2009.

    Hi everybody,

    I'm new to these forums, I joined because I'm kind of at my wits end. I got two stories on the go right now, and I'm stuck on a minor detail with both of them, and it's DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!!!

    First off, let me tell you about how I usually name the characters I create. I don't know about you guys, but I can't just slap any old name on a character, it has to have some kind of meaning toward it. An example would be: I wrote a horror/mystery story once, and the main character was a werewolf. His name was Peter, for "Peter and the Wolf" . And I love this character, in my mind, because I named him that, I have two distinct characters (Peter, and the Wolf).

    Anyways, if you hadn't guessed from the above paragraph, I'm having trouble naming a character. This story takes place far into the future, it's kind of a post apocolyptic-survival story. And I don't know what to call this guy at all. In my mind, I've just been calling him "Joe", but that seems... empty to me (if that makes sense).

    My second problem comes from another story I'm working on. This one is a sce-fi story about life on a generation-spaceship. The ship has been away from Earth for almost a thousand years now, they don't know know if Earth is even still there, but the crew members are trying to fufill the mission the ship was originally sent on. The main character is a little boy aboard this ship (I don't have a name for him, but I feel it's not important right now). What I need is a name for the ship. I want it to mean something too. I looked at greek mythology and stuff... I'm trying to find a name that implies it will never return...

    Anyways, this stuff is really bothering me, and I find it hard to move on in a story when something like this is on my mind.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    In defense of all the Joes, Joe is a fine name. For a well developed character, any name should fit, as long as it aligns with the in story culture or society.

    Why would the ship be named after such an ominous reference?
    Is it a slang term that the crew has developed as dark humor, or would it be its actual name?
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Give them both working names, and dive into the stories. Don't use these little details as an excuse to procrastinate.

    You can change them later with global replace.
     
  4. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    It is not important now. You can change them later.

    I tend to name characters depending on my past experiences with real live people. Something you should know, however, is that the name implies goodness or evil because the reader knows so, not because the name sounds good or evil. (Sauron/Voldemort -- we may think they sound evil, but that's because we know they are, if you follow me.)

    I know what you're asking is not about the good or evil names, but that's just something to think about. As for the Joe: sometimes you will find you fall in love with the simplest names (Jack Sparrow, Harry Potter, Eduard Cullen etc.) But then again, that may be because we are reading about those characters and just like them...

    The ship? I have no idea...
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with all of the above... it's good advice!... and those are important questions from pallas...
     
  6. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    Ship name could be Exodus, though that may be too cliche.

    As for names, go to behindthename.com. You can look up names by what they mean.
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    The post-apocalyptic world is empty--devoid of the joy and life of the previous world. Therefore, if you feel that "Joe" is empty, it's the perfect name for the man whose soul has been emptied in this empty world.

    Now, get on with your story! You can change his name later, or not...

    Do you have a working name for your ship?

    How about the Starship Adieu? That says goodbye! Ten seconds with a thesaurus, looking up the word "goodbye" can give you a ton of them.

    The name's not nearly as important as the story though, and if you're spending more than ten seconds with that thesaurus, you've procrastinated writing too long. On with your writing! The story awaits, if you need to change the names, it's an easy task... who knows, the story process itself may bring you the name that you fall in love with!


    Charlie
     
  8. AmandaC
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    AmandaC Member

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    As far as naming your futuristic character I have two suggestions. There seems to be a naming trend right now. People are making up names or spelling more traditional names to make them more "unique." For instance I know someone who named their child Gabriella but spelled it Gabbreella just to be different (or difficult). So names like Jayden, Ethaniel, etc. abound. On the other hand there also seems to be a response to this in some parents falling back on more traditional english names. Emma, Henry, Isabel, etc. These names seem to be making a come back. So I would suggest looking for a name in birth announcements in your local newspaper. It's interesting to see what names people saddle their children with.

    As for your space ship, look at some mythology. Persephone is an interesting figure. One legend is that she was doomed to return to the underworld for all time.
     
  9. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    The advice you've received is good, but I have a name for you anyways.

    For the name of the ship, try Santa Maria. Sure it's not original, but all you have to do is explain why they picked the name. Historical significance, blah blah blah. People thought that Columbus would perish on his new journey and never return. So the name carries the meaning you need, if only on the surface.

    Nate
     
  10. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Borrowing from your idea, it might be interesting to call it the 'Mayflower,' and then incorporate the fact that those on the ship not only have no idea what a 'Mayflower' was, they have no idea what 'May' is, nor what a 'flower' is...

    That even has potential for an opening, a little hook to pull the reader into the world of the characters.

    "Mary Jauntser had never seen a flower. She didn't even know what a flower was. She heard rumors of flowers, and her mother had always promised to show her pictures of flowers, but she was still confused as to what a flower was. She didn't know what May was either, though she had spent her entire life on the Mayflower."

    But we're taking away all the author's fun! These are the fun things... the things the author wants to come up with! After all, it's his story!

    Charlie
     
  11. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    For your post-apocalyptic hero you could pull back to Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' and call him Vladimir or Estragon. Also, I understand your whole names-meaning-something deal. In a story I wrote the main characters were two survivors of a nuclear bombing. One was called Samuel Karnan (Skarn for short) and the other was called Oros.

    Skarn is a type of metamorphic rock; I named him after it because it sounded cool and also because it conveyed the character perfectly: he was formed by an intense bout of heat and energy and is relatively plain. Oros, on the other hand, is Spanish for diamond (according to google translate), and I tried to represent that despite the fact that they were both formed by great heat and energy one of them overcame it and became more (Oros) whereas the other simply accepted it and became just like everyone else (Skarn).

    So yeah, I hear ya. Character names and story titles are the easiest way to pump meaning into a story.
     
  12. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    edit out
     

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