1. Brayden Potter
    Offline

    Brayden Potter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    NSW, Australia

    Character Development..?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Brayden Potter, Sep 9, 2013.

    Do you have a process of coming up with character names, or do they just pop into your head? Are your characters, even loosely, based on real people, or are they completely fictionalised?
     
  2. MikeyC
    Offline

    MikeyC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    England
    I generally write characters based on friend's main traits. Easier to remember how they react then. As for names i struggle with them, i have one character in my book that still doesn't have a name and i have nearly finished the first draft. But most names came to me as the character developed.

    Rgds

    Mikey
     
  3. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Usually they pop into my head, sometimes after looking up and thinking for a few minutes about what their name should be. Many of my characters have some traits or are in situations that are inspired by real life people I've encountered, but none are singularly inspired by a one person.
     
    minstrel and Wreybies like this.
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,911
    Likes Received:
    10,104
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    This. :)
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i don't have any trouble coming up with names... they generally just 'come' to me and if not, i simply browse the handiest phone book...

    i occasionally do pattern characters on people i've known, but unless doing so for a good reason, i don't make them recognizable as their real counterparts...
     
  6. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I have a few baby name books and occassionally I browse them but often the name just comes to mind. But since I like to read
    baby name books I've got a lot of name options rattling around up there. I've known a lot of strange people hence some of my strange characters
    but I don't base an entire character on anyone, I just get inspired by a comment or a certain behavior or a trait and run with it.
    Sometimes someone I've never met ( just an image or a glimspe in a park ) inspires a character.
     
  7. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    What usually happens with me is that I begin to write the character, and usually tack on a name that's stuck in my head at the time (names I really enjoy like Piper or Bailey get used a lot). Then, when the character's real name occurs to me, I go back and edit out the "default" names and put in a name that actually fits teh character.
     
  8. T.Trian
    Offline

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,246
    Likes Received:
    1,449
    Location:
    Mushroom Land
    Usually the names come to me, but quite a few times if a character is from a country I don't know that well, I have to browse some names typical to the region s/he's from, preferably talk to someone from that country, ask for a common or a rare name, depending on what I want, perhaps a name with a specific meaning or sound.
    I just don't want to have a character with a name that's silly by mistake. Looking at many Finnish names in non-Finnish fiction often makes me smirk; either the author has picked some totally obscure name that's obscure for a reason, i.e. it sounds dumb to Finns, or they've picked a strange combination of first names, or possibly a very silly surname, thinking it sounds cool without knowing it means something like... I dunno, Nipple-Head (yeah, that surname actually exists: Nänni(nipple)pää(head).

    And yeah, quite a few of my characters are based on real people. Sometimes I mix several people into one character or divide a real person into a few characters. I also use a lot of real incidents that have happened to myself, KaTrian, or one of our closer friends; those usually end up being the most ridiculous and absurd scenes in the story (truth being stranger than fiction and all that). The same goes for people: you can't make up some of the dumb/bizarre stuff real people do.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    My main criteria is that a character's name not make me think of someone I know. Since my story is in the future, I am trying out some unique names, but while I'm working on choosing I sub in a name using the alphabet. Adama, Bet, Craig and so on with abbreviations sometimes like EmGee for mean girl. None of those are final names except I did decide to keep Adama. She's an Arab girl who started out as Adam until I decided one of my male characters would have a female best friend.
     
  10. anniede
    Offline

    anniede New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Inland Empire, CA
    For names, especially for secondary or filler characters (like for townsfolk that are just for setting / background) I wander over to obituaries.com and browse a random newspaper's obits for that day. This is how I get a lot of my last names for when I'm writing flash fiction or the short bits (aka - freewriting) I post on my project website.

    I've come to find that if I depended on names to just "pop" in my head, I end up with very similar names which can really confuse readers.

    Anne
     
  11. EllBeEss
    Offline

    EllBeEss Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Perth
    Generally I just stick a random name on a charrie and run with it until I find something that fits. For example the father of two of my MCs is called CF because his daughter used to have a name that started in a C.

    When it comes time to create character names that I'm going to stick with I pick names off websites or make them up. Then it's time to google the name enough to make sure it doesn't have unfortunate connotations/meaning.
     
  12. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    I'll never stop singing the praises of
    http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-name.php
    It's "quick charcter names" is randomly generated using U.S. census data. I usually set it to generate 10 and pick and choose. It takes 2-3 generations before I find something I like.

    But it's better than my imagination where, apparently, everyone is named Tom and Rachel.
     
    Andrae Smith likes this.
  13. obsidian_cicatrix
    Offline

    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,711
    Likes Received:
    1,453
    Location:
    Belfast, Northern Ireland
    As my stories aren't set in the world as we know it, I have a lot of leeway with regard to names. I do try and establish some sort of conventions though. I try to give them elements of both familiarity and uniqueness, and most importantly they need to fit the character. One of my favourite names is a bit long-winded. The character himself knows this. His full name is dropped once during a conversation, (a bastardisation of an old Breton name.) and immediately he gives the shortened form he is known by, (the name that will stick with the reader) and in doing so actually triggers an unexpected turn of events.

    You can do a lot with a name.

    As for my characters—some are based loosely on people I know, some are facets of myself.
     
  14. HarleyQ.
    Offline

    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Gotham
    This is how I would describe what I do, except that I pick names first; it gets confusing to explain after that. I don't base my characters off of people I know; I write novels/shorts/poems/scripts to get away from them!
     
  15. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    Character names just come to me as the next name I say out my mouth. I repeat it as the best thing I can remember over and over, my latest being a character named James Striker

    Often I act out just a scene I'd like to do and then envision the characters. Dialogue comes first then the characters will say the first name that pops up in my mind, which will be a random of all possible names ever. Often taking two words I know that can be names and seeing if they fit, if they don't, REROLL THE DICE!

    Character traits and plots are often based on people I know in real life and or fictional people or plots that actually intrigue me. Take James for instance, he's heavily inspired by foolhardy patriotism and will do a lot of things for "his" country 'Murica. Inspired by how disgusted I was with the movie Olympus has Fallen and how it was for people who jerk off to the sight of the American Flag.

    Everything I make has a slight or heavy base on something I like or dislike.
     
  16. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    Sometimes I have to look and look and look for the name, sometimes they just come to me or I make something up. Sometimes T.Trian and I end up with similar sounding, foreign-ish names by accident, like Trise and Lise, though they're in different stories.
    I just had an epiphany. Trise, so that it will be pronounced correctly, it should have diacritical marks. Something like, Trïsè. Goddammnit. Now it looks like one of those fantasy names everyone goes like "hey, wow, so you picked some dots and squiggles randomly so that it'll look outlandish? Real original."

    Anyway, usually I find the name on some baby name list off the webz, but sometimes I spot cool names from email correspondences, news, tv show/movie credits etc.

    For some people Adama will always and forever be associated with Battlestar Galactica...
     

Share This Page