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  1. prestonjacobi
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    prestonjacobi New Member

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    I Need Help Naming Characters!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by prestonjacobi, Oct 21, 2009.

    Why don't I give you a rundown of characters that I've created. These are all protagonists.

    1. A black kid who at age 12 was part of a gang, but now at age 19 has turned his life around and is involved in church ministry. He's been a welfare case his entire life. At age 12 his parents ran out on him, then one thing led to another and he got caught up in gang activity. This is the main character of the novel, I can't think of a name for him so I temporarily gave him my name, Preston Jacobi, so it's easier to finish the first draft. Preston is a rich kid name, so I know this is bad.

    2. A white guy who has trained in martial arts his entire life. He's a high school junior who is nearing drop out status. His name is currently Ace Pemberton. Sounds like a romance character, so I need to change that.

    3. A black Christian girl who is a college freshman. She is virgin until marriage, but has bipolar qualities that often cause her to act irrationally. Currently her name is Gabrielle Mercy

    4. An Asian woman in early 20s who is always serious and authoritative, and acts as the voice of reason for the above characters. Currently her name is Athena Fujinaka. Perhaps that's too literal.

    Help! Thanks!
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like naming characters.
     
  3. Kayliss
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    Kayliss Member

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    I got nothing good for #4 but Tanaka is a very common Japanese last name.
     
  4. joemister1221
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    joemister1221 Member

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    Why don't I give you a rundown of characters that I've created. These are all protagonists.

    1. A black kid who at age 12 was part of a gang, but now at age 19 has turned his life around and is involved in church ministry. He's been a welfare case his entire life. At age 12 his parents ran out on him, then one thing led to another and he got caught up in gang activity. This is the main character of the novel, I can't think of a name for him so I temporarily gave him my name, Preston Jacobi, so it's easier to finish the first draft. Preston is a rich kid name, so I know this is bad.

    Damien? Dwayne? Randal/Randy? Jeff? St.Clair? Lucas? Maurice? Terrell? Willie? Dion? Camron?

    2. A white guy who has trained in martial arts his entire life. He's a high school junior who is nearing drop out status. His name is currently Ace Pemberton. Sounds like a romance character, so I need to change that.

    Colby? Nick? Anthony? Alec? Radley? Reece? Shane? Brice? Karson? Wes?

    3. A black Christian girl who is a college freshman. She is virgin until marriage, but has bipolar qualities that often cause her to act irrationally. Currently her name is Gabrielle Mercy

    Estasia? Dominque? Saquan? Atirah? Asia? Imani?Amber? Ashley?

    4. An Asian woman in early 20s who is always serious and authoritative, and acts as the voice of reason for the above characters. Currently her name is Athena Fujinaka. Perhaps that's too literal.

    Tori? Rose? An Mei? Linda?
     
  5. Colorheart
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    Colorheart Member

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    1. Damien
    2. Brice
    3. Cherise
    that's all i got, no good last names.
     
  6. helent
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    helent Member

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    I like some of the earlier suggestions, but have one or two to add.

    1. Willie Tyrell
    2. Nathanial (Nate) Lowry
    3. Faith or Ruth, or Eve (it sounds as if she was raised a devout Christian so it is reasonable that she have a name that reflects her guardian/parents faith)
    Sorry, I have nothing for No 4.
     
  7. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    I think, especially in terms of number three, my tip would be to avoid being too generic when naming characters. I tend to use baby name books for starting points, looking for close meanings if I want it, or for names that sound right but aren't the obvious choice for a generic naming. I'm also quite a fan of the what name do they look like strategy. You know their names, you know their faces, close your eyes and ask yourself what their passport says or their ID card.

    When you look at 'Gabrielle Mercy' does she look like a Gabrielle to you? Think about her parents too. Know her background. What were their influences when they were naming her. Is her name a family name, a saint's name, is she named after a film star or favourite singer? Is she Christian because her family are or because she decided to join a church herself? Are her parents educated? Where did she grow up? There's a lot more than a name in a name.
     
  8. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    Some questions, I guess. Is she/her father/her parents Japanese? I assume so given Fujinaka.

    If both her parents are Japanese, it would be really unlikely that they would give her a first name like Athena. In fact I can't imagine anyone actually being named Athena these days. However, if you want the name for narrative, or stylistic reasons, or as a reference to a specific mythological character stick with it.

    Otherwise, I would say find a good traditional Japanese or English name and use that.
     
  9. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    I actually know someone named Athena, although she is Greek rather than Japanese and I quite agree with your main point about it not being right for the Japanese. I would avoid using it here for the reason that it just seems unrealistic.
     
  10. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    In retrospect, I should have realised that it would still be used in Greece! ahah!
     
  11. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Okay, so for #4 take into consideration her family background. Is she fresh off a boat from Japan or did her parents or grandparents come over? If she's Asian-American it's not unlikely that she might have an "American" name like Emily or Susan. If she's from Japan herself then look up common Japanese names and see which ones look pronounceable. You can also look up common surnames and find one you think suits.

    For instance:
    Kim Yamamoto
    Susan Watanabe
     
  12. nacht
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    nacht Member

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    Help with naming characters.

    I understand that it is not exactly original to use somebody else's name. Even if you differ the character in major ways, it makes you feel horrible. I've been using a certain site for a number of years that offers fantasy names (well, it is called a fantasy name generator), and when I'm stuck without a name, I find this site helps with that process (I usually take a name, and build off of that.)

    The script used is called "Yafnag", or "Yet Another Fantasy Name Generator", and if you google "Yafnag", it'll pop up on the front page.

    Again, I don't suggest using the actual name you find, but try to use it for inspiration or as a building block for your own name.
    It offers first-letter orientation, as well as suffix control.

    Here's an example of a list of names that start with "A" and end in the suffix of "air", or "ir"

    Aeilaithir Albanuir Andir Arcair
    Aelnir Aldir Andrelair Arlair
    Aetachair Aleir Angbair Arndir
    Afrethir Alinhir Annethir Arnir
    Afrezir Alkmair Annomethir Artbrandir
    Afriquir Almir Anthir Arzihir
    Aglair Amair Aoibhir Asbjornir
    Aibhir Amoir Aoimhair Assir
    Ainir Amraidir Aphairnir Aubair
    Alanir Anaomanzir Arandir Authair


    one example of an edit to any of this names would be "Aldir", changing it to "Alidor", or something. Like I said, it's just what I use. You don't have to, I just thought I'd try to help.

    Edit: This wasn't meant to be a reply... somehow it turned out to be one. I was trying to make a new thread. Sorry for the mix-up.
     

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