1. Remm
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    Remm Member

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    How do YOU get your character names?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Remm, Jun 10, 2008.

    I am just curious, how do you all think of names for your characters?
    Like... are they taken from real people, random jumbles of letters that sound good, or do you carry around a baby name book and rifle through that?

    I, personally, have a mix between two:

    Using names of people (as long as they fit well) in a form of honoring their existance.

    Also, I tend to sit at the computer, put one letter up, then start trying to match things until the name sounds like I feel it fits the character.
    I.e. Kavalah, Halim, Ryker, Adnen, ect.

    Well?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    out of my head, mostly... or from a phone book, if stuck...
     
  3. AdamLeliel
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    AdamLeliel Member

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    I use things like www.behindthename.com, working from either meanings or first letter until I find something I like. Sometimes I mix names up.
     
  4. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I usually look up name meanings: ex, if my character is a real warrior-type, I'll look for names that mean 'warrior' or 'fighter' and I'll use the one I like.
    Apart from that, I just think up names that fit my characters, or use bits and pieces of various words.
    One exception to those is the name of the MC in the story I'm writing right now: Leo.
    Leo is my starsign. It means 'lion'. That's the reason I picked the name.
     
  5. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    I still have a book of baby names someone gave me right after I got pregnant, even though hubby and I had already picked out names (family names). So if I'm stuck, I open that thing up and start going through it until I find something I like.
     
  6. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Just make them up, or if I'm writing a satire or something with deep themes I take phrases which sum up what the character symbolises and then rearrange the letters to get names.
     
  7. Titania
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    Titania Contributing Member

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    I do a little bit of everything, partially dependent upon what I'm writing, of course. Mostly I work with fantasy, which means I make up a lot of names. Most of the time it is just playing with syllables and whatnot until I find something that sounds nice and fits the feel of the piece. Occasionally I'll do something else - eg. one of my main characters is named Aldebaran, which is the name of the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and comes from an Arabic word meaning "the follower". Another is named Alisaundre, an Old English name for Alexandria used in Canterbury Tales.

    For the last three people I've made up (in the RPG forum), I used three different methods. Kiva Caerygin was a name I had made up before, comprised of an unusual word I've always liked (kivas were subterranean rooms used for religious rituals by ancient Native Americans in the southwestern US) and thought would make a good name, and a respelling of the last name Carrigan. Amaya Kento - I was looking for semi-Japanese-sounding names because of the particular species I was writing about, so I looked up some online until I found ones I liked (and Amaya/Amaia is incidentally the name of one of my favorite Spanish singers). For Hazel Farris, I looked up popular names in the late 1950s / early 1960s, when she was born, until I found one that I liked, and since her character was set in the real world, I used a last name from my family.

    AdamLeliel: I absolutely love behindthename.com. That tends to be the place I go if I'm looking for names with meanings :)
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I usually take from real life, people I know.

    I do sometimes search for a symbolic name for a character that represents who they are in the storyline, but not often. I think it’s a bit on the nose to name every misunderstood, misrepresented female character, Lilith. Things like that distract from my reading.
     
  9. Remm
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    Remm Member

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    Never *EVER* thought of using a phone book. Strange, when that would probably be one of the better places to look.

    Wow, nice site! Neither 'Remm' or 'Justen' are in the database *sigh* :p
     
  10. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    My friend, a fellow writer, and i have a list of names we love. Whenever we hear a new one we add it to the list, and then consult it when we need a good character name.

    Funny story, for one of my characters, I had decided on the name "mallory," I knew she was going to die, so i found it hilarious when i found out mallory is greek for unlucky. lol
     
  11. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    I use baby name sites on the internet, and the indexes from some of my old textbooks. I also have a list of names I just "like", and hold on to them until a character that fits them comes along.

    I try not to base characters' names on their personality or circumstance... but in the case of Piper, my expert rat catcher... well, she earned the nickname. I still don't know what her "real" name will be...
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For most human names, I grope around among my dusty synapses for names I have heard that feel right for me.

    For all other names, I try to hear the local language in my head, and pull out syllables that carry similar sounds. Sometimes, anatomy plays a part in that; a species with a beak will not have B, P, or M sounds in its vocabulary.

    That is yet another reason I tend not to finalize names early in the story development. My worlds and characters grow sharper in my mind as I continue to write.

    BTW, most character naming threads, and there are an ungodly number of them, are in the Character Development forum.
     
  13. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    lol I use that too sometimes. Definitely a big help. Most of the time though just randomly think them up as they come to me. Brainpower baby! :cool:
     
  14. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    High school...that unGodly place...full of prima donnas, idiots, bullies, geeks, teacher pets, troubled teens, promiscuous lovelies, the anointed few, "Al Bundy-sports heroes". All I have to do is think back to those days and I can easily immortalize my friends, or my enemies, in perpetual adoration or scorn. Of course, with different last names in the story, only I know the truth! Revenge is sweet!

    .....NaCl
     
  15. Undefined
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    A while back I started a txt file for all the phony names that spammers show up as. There were some rather interesting combinations that I would have never thought of but unfortunately that laptop crashed.

    I like Babienames.com also the social security site has a census for the most popular names which goes back for a while, which is pretty cool.
     
  16. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    How is high school any different from the rest of country?
     
  17. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    High school was mandatory. I can avoid the rest of the country by going fishing! Hemingway is my hero...LOL!

    .....NaCl
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    slipping off topic...
     
  19. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    The names just come to me. I pick a cool name that I think suits the character, and go with it. Sometimes I look at lists of names for certain nationalities, but usually I just make up names.
     
  20. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Strangely enough, my characters have a tendency to name themselves... If I am writing about them before their name is finalised, I'll use a placeholder name - or just a letter - and over time, as I get to know them, something will present itself and they will be named from that. This results in my characters taking on names that raise eyebrows (like my recent introduction of a character named Mr Pancakes, for instance :redface:) but I kind of like it that way, anyway.

    Conversely, sometimes I'll hear a name and fall totally for it, and an entire character will be developed just from that - Ash, from the same story as Mr Pancakes, was developed that way.

    lol. :)
     
  21. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    My noggin.
    *taps side of head*

    I very rarely have to look up names. I'm having trouble getting one just now though. I need a native american name for a male and can't think of one!
     
  22. YOU BETRAYED THE LAWL
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    YOU BETRAYED THE LAWL New Member

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    I often use real names that i've come across before, but they often have a deeper meaning behind them, I feel it adds to the character more i.e. Serene.
     
  23. fuzzy0097
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    fuzzy0097 New Member

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    I go the usual way: babyname sites. I also try to work in origins and meanings, too.
     
  24. Samus Aran
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    Samus Aran Member

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    Hey everyone. First post on the site. :)

    My naming depends on what type of story I'm writing. If I'm writing a fantasy story, I'll go to a fantasy name generator or sometimes a play on a videogame character's name. If it's a realistic story, I tend not to use common names and for that I usually pick names of members of my distant family. My family's got some pretty cool names, actually. =P
     
  25. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Mine come from all over the place--odd names that I've seen or heard, random names that I like the sound of, almost-duplicates of real names, names chosen from baby names books or phone books, names chosen at random, names I sit and put a lot of thought into (e. g., American Indian names), etc. etc. Usually my characters are all named long before they show up in the stories I'm writing, though once in a great while I have to think something up as I write.
     

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