1. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States

    Do these names fit the image?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by modus, Jul 8, 2012.

    I'm writing a fantasy novel with a setting heavily based on airships. I recently shared concerns over a character's name on Facebook and my friends gave me really unexpected responses that confused me. So, in your opinion, do these names work for who they represent as far as age and alignment?

    Main characters...
    Ganus Strauss - Good, middle-aged male
    Sophia Strauss - Good, young girl
    Temlin Reyes - Good, young boy
    Rendor Gale - Bad, adult male


    Secondary characters...
    Elias - Good, female
    Vidal - Good?, male
    Dimetri (Dime) - Good, male
    Enlo - Bad, male
    Lord Wake - Good, male
     
  2. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    Yes and no. Yes to the first half. No to the second half. MyHO
     
  3. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    Hmm, can names really fit an image? A name can't sound 'young' or 'old'. I mean, your parents don't name you, trying to fit it with how you look like.
    I tend to think that names just start 'fitting' an image or person as you read more about their character. Then the name just becomes a name. Don't think about it too much.
    Personally, I think they suit the fantasy setting :D

    I hope that helped~
     
  4. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    I don't think matthew looks like a girl. and marguerite looks french. lizette is tall and french. j.j. speaks spanish. Fits the image. Vidal ends with Sassoon for me. he's a barber until kingdom come.

    ediy: Vidal Sassoon? Sasoon?

    edit: google declares sassoon
     
  5. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    @maidahl - That's good, and I appreciate the honesty. I have a lot more invested in the main character names so as long as those work well, I'll be happy. Changing up secondary names won't bother me.

    I'd never heard of Vidal Sassoon. If he's that popular, I don't want my character to be associated with hairdressing. Doesn't fit at all >.>

    @Youinquee - Right, good point. Draco Malfoy will always be Draco no matter his age, but I wasn't sure how to paint a picture of the character without divulging backstory... and I'm paranoid about giving that info away.
     
  6. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    I used to think Draco was ugly. I saw the movie. I was right. I thought Edward was ugly. Saw the movie. I was right.
     
  7. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    Even though that's a boy's name... It's not rare to see some girls named boy's names. I would still imagine her as a girl if the author describes her as a girl. Everyone's image is different. No two will be the same.
    I personally don't from a proper image from names. So I try not let my character's names give clues about how they look like.


    Erm, physical description? or am I reading that wrongly.
     
  8. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    They are names. A name is a label applied around birth to refer to a person whose personality is not yet developed. The name may have meaning to the parents, but that's about it.

    Aren't you expecting a bit much of a name?


    Do the names feel okay to you? It's your story, after all. Just make sure names are not so similar they confuse the reader enough to make keeping track of who is who difficult.

    I honestly don't understand why people have such a hard time coming up with something as simple as a name, so much so they need to ask for help. What do they do when they have a really tough writing decision?
     
  9. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    Yes. Everyone is unique? -o/-a. La-el. Ella-ello. Same with English in a way, but not as explicit. Yes, spencer can be a girl. But Matthew? Rare. You have to be mighty rare to be named Candy and not remind me of a hooker.
     
  10. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    @Cogito: It's intimidating. You're always right, and you make me have to change my mind. But come on. English from Latin names? Darth Sidious? How is that a good guy?
     
  11. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    I guess, but I'd rather the reader fill in their own blanks based on the character. Usually I just throw in hair color, eye color, muscle tone if it's important, etc.

    I don't have any problems coming up with names, but I do place more value than you on how "good" they are. Nothing else is repeated in a story more than the characters' names. Some books I've read have names that make me cringe, like the Hunger Games and Name of the Wind. Books like Game of Thrones have names that immerse me.
     
  12. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    So guess: My character's name is : LEMERIOUS. boy/ girl? hair color, eye color, muscle tone? For reals? Pretty hot name, no? setting: dystopian novel with a threesome in the middle and a green cover
     
  13. FirstTimeNovelist91
    Offline

    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    Sophia really sticks out...maybe because it is number one the popularity list in America. And I'm not quite sure about Lord Wake though.
     
  14. Steph4136
    Offline

    Steph4136 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    When I see Ganus, I automatically say it as Gaius in my head, not sure why. I do like Sophia, it's a common name now but I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

    I agree about Vidal too, I think about the line of shampoo and stuff. Not sure about Lord Wake either, but I'd have to see the name in the story to really base a judgement on it.
     
  15. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    I was iffy on Wake too. Vidal I liked, but I guess someone high-profile has a claim to it. I'm changing those two, maybe to something more common so Sophia sticks out less.

    Ganus is the one everyone has a different pronunciation for. In a way I kind of like that. As long as my main characters aren't totally outlandish, I'm fine. That's all I wanted to check.
     
  16. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    You make your characters believable enough, the names themselves will automatically fit around them and become the "perfect name".

    Just think of any one of your friends - can you imagine any of them with a different name? No. At least not me anyway. Because that's the name you've known them as and that name suddenly becomes the "word" that encompasses and describes their entire person - no other word/name would do. If you tried to "rename" your friends (talking real people here) you'll generally run into the trouble of thinking no other name seems to fit.

    I have a friend called Mahwa and my Japanese teacher is called Aoi - both quite foreign names, I've come across neither before, and do their names "fit" them? Yes, because it's the name that they have!
     
  17. andyscribe
    Offline

    andyscribe Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    My thoughts are that Strauss and Reyes conjure images of Tutonic and Hispanic folk which might not be ideal for a fantasy story. O course, it depends on context.
     
  18. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    Mckk, that's a good point. I should probably be less concerned if the name fits the image and more concerned about the image's believability.

    andyscribe, if by Teutonic you mean Germanic, it should fit my story's context well. The part of my world these characters are from values engineering and pursues dominance. Some of them question those values too.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,969
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I'm concerned about the very idea of alignment and a character described merely as "good" or "bad". I understand that this is a fantasy novel, but unless it's actually written as a tightly-linked companion novel for a roleplaying game, I think that "alignment" should not exist.

    Similarly, though less important, old or young should be irrelevant, unless you've detailed your setting to the point that you've defined decade-by-decade fashions in names. Sophia will be Sophia when she's six months old, and she will remain Sophia when she's ninety.

    My main comment is that your names seem to be very identifiably European - is that intentional? The presence of identifiably German, Spanish, Irish, etc. names is likely to produce reader expectations about the characters.
     
  20. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    Trust me, it's not going down the road you think it is. Everyone's human here, swimming in gray area. If you prefer the terms heroes and antagonists, I understand. The last thing I want people to think is that the characters are part of some inept, black and white World of Warcraft fanfiction.

    On age, yeah, I agree. Matching an age to a name is probably more nonsense than I'd like to admit.

    What expectations do European names come with? My only aim was for the names to have a uniformity because they are all from the same country, minus Vidal.
     
  21. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,969
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I suppose I mis-stated - it's not that I'd expect any specific behaviors, I'd just expect the ones with the German names to be from a different region than the one with the Irish name, and so on. I think I'd suggest making all the names (except for Vidal) Germanic.
     
  22. modus
    Offline

    modus Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stow, Ohio, United States
    I dunno, you drive a hard bargain. The country is split into one massive main island and four smaller, so there are regions. Temlin even takes on the name of his island as a last name because, as you could guess, no parents.

    It feels like an olde European vibe should be enough to give the names common ground. I don't know now, I really don't. This breadth of feedback has caught me off guard.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,969
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    Actually, if you hadn't asked about the names - if I had just read them in some context other than you specifically asking about them, like a short story in your world - I wouldn't have commented on them. :) There's really nothing fundamentally wrong with them.
     

Share This Page