1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    fantasy names with meanings

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by erebh, Apr 28, 2013.

    Hi guys, this comes up a lot about writers trying to choose names for their characters especially fantasy, medieval, sci-fi so for anyone needing names I just came across this, http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names/biblicalnames.htm thousands of names with meanings

    sorry if this should be in the research section but I cant find it :(
     
  2. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    Wham bam turkey and ham ;D
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Does anyone else use their own imagination for names? I mean, research into myths or legends to vet a name is one thing, but does everyone else just run to Internet lists of names?

    If I'm running into a big smelly brain bubble, I'll watch some movie credits for uncommon names.
     
  4. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    I don't see anything wrong with using name list sites, although I don't think the meanings of the names should matter unless you're going for some kind of big overarching metaphor throughout the story. But name lists and generators are handy if you can't find a name that feels right.

    I mostly just use the internet to find interesting surnames, or if I'm writing a period piece I'll look up a list of common names from that decade.
     
  5. Anthelionryu
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    Anthelionryu Member

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    I try to come up with my own. When I do I'll generally Google it to see if it is in fact original. Sometimes I fail. :(
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    run to the internet or fast forward a movie to look at credits? And the difference is?
     
  7. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I frequently make up my own names for my MCs - in general they arrive in my head named. But I probably should be looking up names for more minor characters, tend to use common names for them. I haven't created a name for my current MC, but she has a surname, which the others do not.
     
  8. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    The last names I created myself was Hazato. A notable mention is Aeria, but I wouldn't count it since it's latin for air.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    This.

    I used to waste way too many hours searching through web pages for the 'perfect name'. In my last year of school I was planning a novel in the back of a classroom and I had no idea what to name any of the characters. I had no internet access so I just used letters to differentiate between them. I was in there for two hours and, eventually, names came to mind as I worked on the plot. Now, if a name doesn't come to mind instantly I'll use a ridiculous placeholder until it does.

    My WIP's main three characters share their forenames with my best friend's brother, another friend's son, and a musician I liked six years ago. They weren't named after those people - they just have common names.
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks for sharing the link, erebh.

    Was Hazato inspired by Japanese names, by any chance?

    T.Trian and I tend to make up names to our fantasy stories. Mirlín, Reynaer, Trise, Failte, Keir... maybe some more. But sometimes it turns out it's already a name, actually, but usually we still keep it. The problem (or "problem", depends on how you look at it) with Mirlín is that it sounds like Merlin, which I realized way too late for the name to be changed. But it's often more fun to come up with a new name than browse the internet for ready names. Then again, sometimes you might inadvertently invent a name that means something naughty in some other language. Or even in English. One character was called Ariela. The male characters recalled her name to be Areola.

    I also pick names or surnames from e.g. e-mail correspondence at work or from movie or tv show credits, but these names I use in other than our medieval fantasy stories.
     
  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Know what, I see a lot of people here use up made names, and 99% of the time I wish they didn't. They just sound silly.

    I'd prefer good old Fred or Boris to Wuki or Sirilniiux any day, even if its fantasy.

    Haven't given enough thought as to why I feel this way, but one possible explanation is that I can understand a Fred or a James more easily. If the story is fantasy, well, everything is made up anyway, so whose to say you can't use a common name.

    Another possible explanation is that the names of the real world have stood the test of time. Something about them, be it phonetic or historic, let them survive at least some number of generations. Some random name, never uttered before it was written on the page I'm reading, might never really catch on, and subconsciously, I'm probably thinking "who does this writer think he/she is trying to pass on names that doesn't quite sound right? How pretentious."

    If its an historical time period, obviously use a name from then. There are just so many real names out there, I'm not sure why anyone would ever have to make one up, unless of course you're going for a specific tone. Obviously there are exceptions.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm not a fan of using names that are metaphorical. I've seen too many times where it became lazy character development or lazy foreshadowing. I don't want my characters' names to define them to the reader I want my characters' actions, words, and life to define them to the reader.
     
  13. Kaidonni
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    Kaidonni Member

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    One of my potential stories started out as a conlanging experiment, and there is no way any of the characters will have names like Fred or Boris. While any proper nouns will be transliterations using English phonology, it just wouldn't hold true. But then, you have to enjoy conlanging for it's own sake to do a decent job, it isn't an after thought.

    I'd also like to point out that there are a whole host of cultures out there, with a wide variety of names, so why be limited to what are blatantly European-centric naming paradigms? There are cultures outside of North America and Europe...
     
  14. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, though using, say, African based names, would give the story a different feel.

    And you're right about conlanging. The real problem is if the names are just an afterthought, like you said.
     
  15. Stukov
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    Stukov Member

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    I tend to write a character bio or a rough scene for a character for a character before I settle on a name. The majority of the time, once I've got that first information thought out I'll pluck a name from my head, or make one up entirely, that feels suitable for the character in question. Sometimes I'll get 30,000 words into a project and suddenly decide to change it, but not often.

    Very rarely do I pick names based on some sort of vague metaphorical reference to the plot. But even then, I'll look for the most vague possible connection that I can find and then add a little twist to it, just to be a bit more subtle.
     
  16. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I don't know about y'all, but names come pretty easily to me. Plus, I like to think that the names I come up with are better than the ones I would find on the internet or at the end of movie credits.
     

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