1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    help with a name

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jazzabel, Mar 21, 2013.

    Hi everyone :)

    I'm terrible with names so I was hoping to get some help.
    I have a character whose name is Lilith. I don't know why, but it is one of my favourite names (I am aware of the connotations) and it sounds strong. My character is methodical, driven, passionate inside but cool and distant on the outside, not exactly a loner but she likes to be alone.
    I am doing my best to write all this really well, so assume that the text is interesting and readable, for the sake of answering the question.

    So I have several questions:

    1. Would name Lilith bother you in a character? Can you imagine a real person called Lilith?

    2. I think her nickname will be Lily, so either she will be known as Lily so-and-so and she can go around telling people occasionally her real name OR her mother can embarrass her by calling her 'Lily' in front of her work colleagues who know her only as Lilith. Does one work better than the other?

    3. What would be a good surname to go with Lilith? It has to also go well with surname Loyd (another character who this girl spends time with)

    And last question, if you feel like answering, I'd be grateful)

    4. Can you think of any examples of sexy male names? I always start being really immature when I try to think of them :p which is why my love interest has no name yet.

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    1/ No, but I'd assume her parents were pagan

    2/ I think it's most likely in the real world a Lilith would go by 'Lily' (and occasionally be embarrassed by the mother using her full name).

    3/ Really depends on many things (regional origin, feel of the story). For no reason I'm aware of, the first surname that sprang into my mind was "Buchanan" to go with Lily/Lilith.

    4/ I'm male and straight so I may have a different perspective on this, but I think down-to-earth and unpretentious names are a good way to go; Some thoughts: Connor, Finn, Harry, Solomon (a bit pretentious but somehow it works)
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't even know the connotations of the name Lilith - so I'd have no problem with it.

    Depending on how serious your character is, she may find Lily or Lilith embarrassing. Depends if she likes her name. If she likes the name Lilith but dislikes Lily, she'll find Lily embarrassing. If she dislikes Lilith and thus Lily is the best name she's ever gonna get, then she'll be embarrassed of Lilith. Depends on how the names are used. If "Lily" is like an adorable nickname within the family, she may find that embarrassing. If "Lilith" is say, what her mother uses whenever she misbehaves, she'd feel more comfortable with "Lily". So can't answer this one for you I think :)

    A good surname... no idea. Lilith Sanderson? Saunders? Lilith Hamilton? Lilith Banks? Lilith Waites (I don't even know if that's a surname haha)

    Sexy love interest name - I love the names William and Matthew. Connor, David, James, Edward, Alex/Alexander, Jonathan. For me I find traditional names very nice on men.

    Ooh and I like the name Raphael - you could always shorten it to Ralph :) I like Malachai too lol but that would sound too biblical haha
     
  4. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    1 - I think it's a great name and it sounds great. The only thing that's putting me off is the fact that it's overused in fiction because of the mythological connotations.
    3 - Lilith Cohen or Lilith Morgan would be good names for a protagonist in my opinion.
     
  5. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    1. Well, I don't think the name can escape it's biblical/mystical heritage - it's not unlike calling your character Judas. It's simply not common enough as a given name to pass unremarked. Or maybe I'm just being over-analytical - I'm always interested in the meaning of people's names.

    2. I think most Liliths would probably go with Lily as a nickname - it's just more convenient.

    3. I agree with Iolair - it depends on the cultural and spatial context of the character. If the setting of your story is similar to your own situation, then you could always use the surname of a friend or family member.

    4. Hmm... Alistair? Douglas? I'm not sure many male names are inherently sexy...
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Please don't call your love interest Douglas! (sorry Lokasenna) The sound "Doug" just sounds too much like "duck" and "dug" to me, neither of which is attractive.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You guys, that's awesome feedback thank you so much. There are several names already that are on my firm favourites list, I'll check them all out against the writing, see how it feels. Cohen would mean she is Jewish, nothing wrong with that but I didn't think about family religion at all. But I suppose there is going to be one.

    For the guys, I like Connor, but there's not too many Connors in the UK, unless they are Scottish, but that could work. :)

    @Lokasenna: I know, that's why I asked. I always liked the name, I thought it was very pretty and the meaning made it even more so. The character (in my mind) is aware of her name's meaning, and she likes it. She also likes the intimidating effect it has on other people. But she is bored of the conversation about it, so I'm in two minds. I'm leaning towards her calling herself Lilith though.
    Haha, no the character is nothing like my situation so it's not applicable. And I already unwittingly gave her a working surname that's the same as my next door neighbours :(
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Frasier's (ex) wife was called Lilith. It worked well.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Lilith would not bother me in the least. In fact, I think it would be a great name for a strong female character, especially if the family were at all anti-established religion, and/or particularly into stressing the equality of women and eschewing the demonization of women who assert themselves equal to men. While I don't know personally of any women named Lilith, there was a character named Lilith on a popular television show here in the United States in the 1990s/early 2000s.

    2. While her nickname certainly *could* be Lily, this is by no means a given. Her nickname (which I think could potentially be more embarrassing) could be Lil. Or she could have no nickname. Or some other derivative name (Lith, or Lithy, or some such name). Or an entirely different nickname with no real connection to her given name. This whole issue is really one of personal preference -- your's. Whatever works best for the story, or whatever seems most natural to the characters. Maybe after writing more about them, they'll tell you themselves.

    3 & 4: These are so subjective as to be meaningless. Whatever surname you pick will work. (If you want it to go with Loyd, from a rhythmic perspective, I might suggest something with 2 syllables to balance out the one syllable. Also, alliteration is always nice for names that go together, so see what you can come up with that starts with L.) Similarly, whatever male name you pick will become sexy if you write the male character as sexy. It's just like with a person -- you might have a connotation associated with a particular name. Or maybe not like a name. Then you meet a person with that name, and even though it seems like maybe the name doesn't fit, eventually you can't imagine them as going by anything other than that name.
     
  10. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    An alternative strategy could be that the parents named her Lily, but she prefers (perhaps pretentiously to start with, but it stuck and became habit) to call herself Lilith because of the connotations and uniqueness. So, workmates and friends only know her as Lilith, but her name really is Lily which her family insist on using ("Why can't they accept I'm not their little flower anymore?")

    Just a thought.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an interesting idea. Maybe the parents are more traditional, but the character herself embraces the name to assert her embrace of equality and as a sort of rebellion against the established religious-based connotations.

    I'm not saying you *should* write your story this way if this isn't what you had in mind. But it's an interesting concept for a character in some story (maybe or maybe not the OP's.)
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is what I was thinking as well. Why not have her real name be Lily and she could call herself Lilith, depending on why 'Lilith' at all. It sounds like there's a specific reason for using it, so this would make more sense for me. (I'm just thinking that most folks who knew the name Lilith would be also know the religious connotations and then, as someone else touched on, they either would or wouldn't name their kid that because of the religious thing. Makes the parents perhaps more interesting than you'd want?)
     
  13. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I swear some would be too much of a challenge.

    Nigel Melvyn Sidebottom stepped from the pool, water dripping from his firm muscles. He looked good, and he knew it. Grabbing his towel, he swaggered toward the bar.
    "Hello ladies. The name's Sidebottom. Nigel Sidebottom."


    Nope, can't see it ever working. Name choice *is* important - most names carry a wealth of cultural expectations and personal or societal baggage. Picking the right or wrong name will help form a picture of your character, hopefully usefully as long as you don't pander to cliches. (And occasionally you may want to create a character who is deliberately contrary to what their name suggests)
     
  14. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I agree that perhaps "Sidebottom" wouldn't be the sexiest of names. Given that, I'm not sure an author would intentionally choose it. But if, somehow, one were saddled with this name, one could make the best of it -- perhaps simply by de-emphasizing it.

    As far as Nigel, I disagree. I think one could certainly make a Nigel sexy. It could go either way.

    I agree that names do carry certain cultural expectations and imply certain histories. But, really, that's more of a reflection of the parents, rather than the child, since the parents are the ones who selected the name. The child might choose to change the name or go by a nickname later on. But the initial name selection indicates certain values and societal positions and even aspirations that the parents hold. Whether the child embraces or eschews these things and how closely the personality really matches these expectations are part of the character himself.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree @iolar's suggestion is realy cool, and it would work well for another character (different book, supernatural romance/thriller). This character is too down to earth to bother about her name. She'd prefer to be called something ordinary, but it's her name (perhaps her mother is a Jewish anthropologist or something) so she is using it. Lily (or Lil, great version, thanks @chicagoliz) she doesn't identify with because she was never a girly girl, and only her mother still calls her that.

    The only reason I'm using Lilith is because I like the name and it fits the character (I love Frasier and I love Lilith's character, she's very funny). There's no other reason, but there is an occult theme in the book, so it'll go well together.

    Nigel Sidebottom is not very sexy, I agree. I tend to go in the other direction and give them ott names like Karl Rose :D
    I think Connor is good, just need a Scottish surname for him.
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to show how subjective this is, I actually find the name Nigel sexier than the name Karl.
     
  17. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    I don't know, if you could get away with pronouncing it SID-Botham, as some people do, then it suddenly becomes more agreeable!
     
  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is that like pronouncing 'Buckett' as 'Bouquet' :D

    .
    Nigel's not bad, but it reminds me of a punk, with a mohawk and a glue sniffing problem. I have no idea why! I don't like Karl that much, but character was a German pimp and my sister insisted his surname was Rose. Karl was a compromise.
     
  19. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    Pretty much. I love the older and more eccentric English names: you can pronounce them however you like.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    1. Would name Lilith bother you in a character? Can you imagine a real person called Lilith?
    ...no... and yes...

    2. I think her nickname will be Lily, so either she will be known as Lily so-and-so and she can go around telling people occasionally her real name OR her mother can embarrass her by calling her 'Lily' in front of her work colleagues who know her only as Lilith. Does one work better than the other?
    ...no...

    3. What would be a good surname to go with Lilith? It has to also go well with surname Loyd (another character who this girl spends time with)
    ...just about any, as long as it doesn't start with an 'L'...

    4. Can you think of any examples of sexy male names? I always start being really immature when I try to think of them which is why my love interest has no name yet.
    ...going by my own experience, my sexiest lovers were:

    jack
    zaki
    malone
    jay
    matt
    renato

    ...and i renamed the last one 'gianni' in a novel...

    ...i'd just avoid 'nerdy' names like ernest and harold, if i were you...
     
  21. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Lokasenna: I know what you mean :)

    @maia: haha, yes, not Harold :D It might be an idea to use a real lover's name. Hm. You gave me an idea :)
     
  22. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm feeling really crappy right now cus I'm feeling ill, and this just made me grin, a lot :D thanks for the smile!

    It also reminds me of one of my students' English textbook - there's a character in it called "Blond, James Blond" :p I couldn't stop laughing to myself the first time she started playing the CD for the story!

    Mia you have some good guy names there. Renato sounds well exotic. Malone is quite nice too although I always wanna pronounce it "Ma-lone" rather than "Ma-lone-ny".

    Zach is also a good name. Wouldn't go with Zaki though.

    So Jazzabel - what you gonna name him? :)
     
  23. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    BUT, Maia -- you named your sexiest lovers. What if you had encountered a very sexy Ernest or Harold? Just because you didn't have the opportunity to enjoy one of them doesn't mean they don't or couldn't exist ;-)

    Hummm -- Maybe we at WF need to sponsor some sort of world-wide contest for World's Sexiest Harold. I bet we'd find some.
     
  24. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I use names like Uriel and Amatiel so Lilith is not strange to me. I like making connections to angels and Norse mythology though so when I do it is often because I want the reader to make the connection to such things.

    Hell I called one very minor character Lord Ragnar as in Ragnarok as in the end of the world. there's no reason why you should be afraid of the implied meanings of such names. those that know anything about the topic might actually enjoy it.
     
  25. spartan928
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    spartan928 Member

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    I have a friend who's formal name is Lillian but we all call her Lil. Lily is too feminine and we all call her that because it fits her personality.
     

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