1. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver

    How do you choose names?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jack Asher, May 12, 2014.

    I usually go to seventh sanctum. Their quick name generator uses US census data, and can generate up to 50 first and last names at a time. I usually set it to 10 names, then go through a couple of pages and mix an match what I like.

    But there are lots of different ways, what are yours?
     
  2. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I just make up the names. I stare into space for a few minutes, imagining the character, and eventually something appropriate comes to me. It's not a big part of my process, actually.
     
  3. sunsplash
    Offline

    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    159
    Location:
    Between the Magic City & the Conch Republic
    Behindthename & nymbler are my go-to sites for help if nothing just shows itself. I usually go for something culturally tied to the character or that has a specific meaning that relates in some way to them, even if I'm the only one that knows what it is. Nymbler is nice because if you have names you like but aren't right, it suggests others in a similar style to what you list.
     
  4. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Location:
    Australia
    Heroes: Names I like that sound unique.

    Villains: Same as above, but if nothing pops to mind I use people I hate for various reasons.

    The exception was an action script where heroes and villains alike were all named after people I knew in the Army.

    Naming characters is one of the joys of creating, so I'd never use a generator or tool.
     
  5. nippy818
    Offline

    nippy818 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    colorado
    In my current novel there are three main religious factions. Mostly i use Biblical and historical names mixed and matched, like the high chancellor's name is Chancellor Rockwell. named after Joseph smiths body guard Porter Rockwell. Then there is Admiral Brigham
     
  6. 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.
    Links are nice:
    http://www.nymbler.com/
    http://www.behindthename.com/
     
    Aaron DC and Simpson17866 like this.
  7. HelloThere
    Offline

    HelloThere Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    240
    If it's a fantasy I'll normally go to google translate. My best find was Effereniel, which is beacon in Latin - that was perfect for a city I had come up with. Also there was Mauris, which is s**t in Latin...
     
  8. mg357
    Offline

    mg357 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    33
    I usually use the first or last name of one of my family members when it comes to last names 9 times out of 10 I will use my grandma's maiden name or her married name for a characters last name, and I some times consult my bible for names as well.
     
  9. Vandor76
    Offline

    Vandor76 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    189
    Location:
    Hungary
    Google translate combined with it's language recognition feature can (better say should) be used to verify if a name has any meaning in a language.
    I'm terrible sorry for this example : Mitsubishi sells a car called Pajero. Check what the Spanish word "pajero" means in English. It's a total marketing catastrophe from them.

    To create names I already suggested this in another thread here : choose a word which sounds the way you want the name to sound (soft or hard, or in a specific language) and change the order of the letters until you get something useful. You can change one or two letters, add or remove a few to get a better result (or choose another word and start again).
     
  10. HelloThere
    Offline

    HelloThere Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    240
    Hahaha... Now I can drive a car that describes me. :rofl:
     
    Brindy and Eric Byers like this.
  11. Smoke Z
    Offline

    Smoke Z Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    36
    I usually browse baby-name websites, whichever happens to be the first to pop up. Or I'll just type the kind of name I am looking for, like if I'm looking for a biblical name. Or I'll type "how common was this" if I need census data. (Baby name wizard was the one I most recently used.)
     
    Bolu Kai and cutecat22 like this.
  12. Garball
    Offline

    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,846
    Likes Received:
    1,332
    Location:
    S'port, LA
    All of my characters' names are combinations of family members' names.
     
  13. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    I quite enjoy names that don't sound like they're written, like Beau or Aisling, but there's no real way do search for those.
     
  14. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    England
    I think about where my character was born/brought up and also the year he/she was born then I look up the top 100 names for that timeframe and area.

    I pick a bunch and then divide them up into ones I like and ones that have interesting nicknames.

    I was recently stuck for a name so I posted a question on my FB book page. Got over 100 suggestions which I managed to whittle down to two, forming a first and middle name which fits the character like a glove.

    I love exploring where names come from almost as much as people-watching! o_O
     
    Indigo Sugar and Catrin Lewis like this.
  15. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    England
    or Aoife (pronounced 'Eefah')
     
    Kingking likes this.
  16. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,383
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I have several name books - my fave is Beyond Jennifer and Jason because they put the names into lists with headings like trendy, artistic, sexy, handsome. Usually though a name just comes to me ( probably from reading so many name books ) - when I was writing the Worms of Wicher Woo I chose Tetty right away cause it sounded like an old fashion maid name.

    When I was writing my huge book as a teen though, I wanted really unique names cause I had just read Lolita. And I started culling things from the dictionary - I wound up with an older man named Quay, a child named Picnic, a teenager named Thistle, and a boy named Honey Dante - those were some of the milder ones.
     
  17. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    I found Saoirse when I did a search for that. That's pretty cool.
     
  18. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    England
    That's a lovely name - even if I did have to look it up!
     
  19. Xueqin-II
    Offline

    Xueqin-II Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    24
    They either don't get names, or I've had a name for them all along. Making one up just sounds so... artificial.

    Most of my work revolves around anonymity, anyways. It would be strange for the people present to go by anything real or solid.
     
  20. Daribian
    Offline

    Daribian New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Staring into space usually works for me. And for some unknown reason, I seem to love names with alliteration. So all my characters initials are SS or something
     
  21. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    if stumped, i just open a phone book...
     
    Lemon flavoured and peachalulu like this.
  22. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    staring into space or like the OP Seventh Sanctum... Isake Dresden is a stare into space one, Xanthir Dogtooth is an edit of a Seventh Sanctum one
     
    AmericanAmelie likes this.
  23. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    I'll be very disappointed if Xanthir isn't an intergalactic bounty hunter with a chip on his shoulder and a score to settle.
     
    Fara, MelFyre and cutecat22 like this.
  24. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    he is an elf, young by standards who tries to murder the elven king, kidnap his daughter and threaten her life and that of Isake Dresden of my current project... there is more to it, but id spoil the whole thing, but he is quite heavily twined in with another couple of characters

    and BTW my current project is the one in my signature.
     
  25. Komposten
    Offline

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    670
    Location:
    Sweden
    I usually start by just staring into space, ransacking my mind for a fitting name and if I can't seen to find a good one I usually turn to Scrivener's built-in name generator (where you can choose which nationality you want) or a website I cannot remember the name of.

    And of course, sometimes the perfect name just pops up, like in my current short. The name "Edward" just appeared out of nowhere.
     

Share This Page