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  1. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Character names?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by mynameissarahgrace, Nov 9, 2008.

    I've been having a lot of trouble with them. It's taken me MONTHS and I finally have most of the first names, but I still need last names..any suggestions?

    Aloria (uh-LOR-ee-uh) : She's mostly just European..so as long as the last name's not Spanish or Italian or anything like that, it's fine. I was thinking Aloria Redwood, or Aloria Larson?

    Holly : Not sure on her nationality yet, but most likely German or Scottish. Holly Saunders maybe. Something like that.

    Sonya : I know she sounds very Russian, but I don't really need a Russian last name. Sonya Shaw, Sonya Lewis..idk.

    Erin : Erin Reeds?
     
  2. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Thanks - yeah, I've been working mostly on developing characters but it took a long time to find names that fit them.. :\ But yeah, I'm definitely stressing too much about the names. I'm just having lots of trouble with the plot, so I've been focusing on characters instead..
     
  3. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here is a good sight for finding names:

    http://www.behindthename.com/

    Also, try to just pick names that sound good to you.
     
  4. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    I like the names to reference someone or something. Usually historical.
    For example, a Russian spy named 'Anadyr' (Operation Anadyr resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis), or an Iranian named Djalili (he's a funny Iranian comedian), or a strong female character called Constance (as in Constance Markievicz, the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, and probably the only one ever to have killed a British cop beforehand...)
     
  5. David Hazeel
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    David Hazeel New Member

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    http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/

    Name generators aren't always the best, but this is quite a good one if you play around with it.
     
  6. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Okay, so finally my issues with names are over (completely different characters and plot)...thanks for your help, though.

    Just ignore this thread :)
     
  7. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    As a writer, you need a name reference. I used to be a member of the Writer's Digest Book Club & some of the books I got from them, concerning names, are The Character Naming Sourcebook, Names through the Ages, & The Melting Pot Book of Names. Then in an Asian import market, I picked up Japanese Names for Babies. Try a used bookstore. You can pick up an armload for under $10.
     
  8. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Thanks Hectroclite. :)
    I actually have done that, though; I've found tons at library book sales.
    And there's thousands of baby name websites on the internet.
    I just have trouble picking the right one for the right character...
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. Aloria is really unusual, sounds a U.S. type of name to me. You'd have to give a reason for her having a strange name like this. Larson is DANISH (it's as typical in Denmark as 'Smith' in England).
    There is no such nationality as 'European' (unless you mean Eurotrash).
    Holly is not a very normal Scottish name, there are much more typical ones. And you should always research names BY YEAR. Check The Times Newspaper
    Top names for girls.
    In Germany, you can't register some unusual names, by the way.
    Erin is either Irish or U.S. unless you are talking about someone under the age of about 18 in the UK. Recently, names have gone really wild in England, but still follow fashions.
    Sonya is much too hackneyed, unless you are trying to make her a stereotype.

    P.S. Well done, by the way, for your attention to details like this.
     
  10. cwpcreator
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    cwpcreator Member

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    I don't think there needs to be any reason to explain an unusual name like Aloria. Her parents decided that was a good name and named her that. End of explanation.

    Larson is Danish. Well, in America it's a pretty common last name as well. I assume because of all the immigration we've received over the last 200 years.

    Researching names by year seems like a waste of time to me. You'll get the top 100 names of that year. That's not very many names. There are loads of names out there and anyone could have one of them anywhere.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that researching names is, more often than not, a waste of time. If you had to look it up in a reference book or website, what makes you think your readers will understand it at a glance? Of course, browsing such material to get name ideas, regardless of meaning, is perfectly fine.

    Case in point:
    I have no idea who any of these people / events are. Unless some other character in the story mentions it, the point is completely lost on me. (EX: "Hey, aren't you named after that funny Iranian guy?" ""Why, yes I am. Thanks for noticing.") I would also like to mention that "Constance" makes me think of a nun or something; sounds too much like "Constantine" or "Constantinople." Which is another problem encountered when trying to gives names hidden meanings: they often have more than one meaning.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    With respect, you are missing my point. The setting and character is 'European', whatever you mean by that, not American.
    Just as I would make many mistakes if I tried to write about the US without much more research and first-hand experience, so this writer will if the novel is set in 'Europe'.
    It will stink to readers who know what names in Scotland/England/other countries in the EU are really like. From page one, they'll be going 'Huh? Why has she got this really strange first name with a Danish surname?
    Danes are pretty conservative when it comes to names (my mother was Danish). It will indicate to the reader that the character either had an unusual family for naming her this, or that she changed her name later.
    Of course, this is perfectly possible, but you ought to make sure the plot/character takes these factors into account.
    As I said, names, particularly in the UK, have become much more unusual, but they still follow fashions. A person's name sets her/him into a generation band, and to a slightly lesser degree, their social class. The Times Newspaper achives goes back DECADES and is one of the most valuable resources we have that is easily available for names, particularly middle-class names.
    Of course, if you are writing fantasy/light romance type stuff that is really just trying to be a good holiday read, the real-life factors of less/no importance. Lots of bestsellers are filled with absurd names. Are the writers or their readers bothered? No. Do I read such tripe? No, again!
     
  13. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Barely any of these names I had are still being used, by the way.

    All of them live in present America, and are culturally very American. I just guessed their distant nationalities so that their last names match up with their race/looks.
    My last name is German, and I'm around 40% German, but I don't have any German customs and definitely not a German first name.
    My grandpa is 25% Cherokee Indian and his name is Robert. His dad's name was Floyd, 50%. So I don't understand, unless I'm writing historically or in a specific region, why first names would need to be the same origin as the last name...
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, Grace, I get you now. What you said above confused me--I thought you meant you were writing about someone from Europe, and another person who was German/Scottish.
    In that case anything goes--all the same, it may be best if you choose something less strongly identified with a country than e.g. Larson or McTavish and go for a fairly neutral name.
     
  15. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    Okay, thanks, I'll definitely use a more neutral name. :)
    Grace is my middle name, though, lol.
    It's just Sarah.
     
  16. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    You need to do a lot of character development before you start writing the story. Once you know the character as a full individual, then you'll know how he/she fits into the story, then you'll know what kind of name you want for him/her. So work on the characters' biographies, their backgrounds, their influences, their beliefs, their experiences. Once you see how they fit into the story, the names will start coming to you.
     
  17. mynameissarahgrace
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    mynameissarahgrace Member

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    I've taken a break from the story, as novel-writing isn't exactly my forte or something I'm hugely passionate about. :]
    But thanks for the advice for when I do start again!
    It just bugs me when I'm working on character development that I don't have a NAME for the character I'm developing. Don't know why...
     

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