1. animefans12
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    animefans12 Member

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    Made-up names?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by animefans12, Jul 31, 2011.

    I've seen many names that have at least a meaning behind it, but I always wondered about names that are made-up or don't have any meaning to it. Is it possible for poems, short stories, novels, etc. to have made-up any names we desire or do we have to find names that have a meaning behind it?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why you couldn't name the characters any way you want even if there is no meaning to their name. Just as in real life people sometimes come up with innovative names for their newborns.
     
  3. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    Your story, your rules.
     
  4. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    If you make up a name for a character in your world it can have what ever meaning you want. Its your world.
     
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  5. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Be sure that the names fit the setting and are not a distraction. I've seen too many instances where the writer wants to project their interpretation of cool and only made my annoyed because I noticed their 'cool name' deal.

    Names are often moored to the time they were used in so take due care in matching the name to the time.
     
  6. theweatherman
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    theweatherman Member

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    It's your story, your rules, your writing. You can do whatever you want. Want to make up an interesting name, even though it doesn't have much meaning behind it? Go for it! Want to use a name that is symbolic and draws a connection? Go for it! It's your choice. Good luck!
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Just name the characters whatever you want. It's annoying anyway when every single character has a name that fits their temperament, skills or interests far too perfectly. That's not realistic, as the parents can't predict the kid's personality or fate as a newborn.
     
  8. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    I hate strict standards in naming when it comes to fiction, so unless it detract in someway, more power to you.
     
  9. mattyb
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    mattyb Member

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    I have a question that fits into this thread.

    My main character fakes his own death and attempts to drive his rivals out of town by 'haunting' them. Making them believe the town is haunted so they leave. I have been trying to come up with a suitable surname for him but nothing really seemed to fit. Today the football team I support signed a player called Spector and I realised that would be a perfect name for my character as he acts as a spectre in the story. Do you think giving him that name would be seen as a gimmick and think the author is trying too hard to be clever with names, or do you think giving him a plot-relevent name is a nice touch? I'll only use the surname a handful of times throughout the story so most people probably won't even make the connection.

    Do you know of any similar examples in literature?
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    A name should have a meaning, but that doesn't mean that it needs to fit absolutely perfectly into the story. My middle name is the same as my dad's and the same as my granddad's first name. That has meaning to my family.
    Made-up names are fine too, but make sure you think about it when it comes to place names and such. A character can get away with a name like Pug or Macros (from Magician, Raymond E. Feist). A town can't get away with anything quite so random. Towns are named because of things. They don't get names just because they sound cool or official.

    If you're handling it in a comedic way, as it seems like you might (pretend haunting? I don't think you're totally serious), then you can get away with Spector as a surname.
    If it's meant to be serious, then his surname being Spector should probably have something to do with how he came up with the idea, or it should be something else.
     
  11. AJ Conrad
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    AJ Conrad Member

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    You are allowed to name characters whatever you want, but you might want to stick to a theme of sorts. For example, you could have nonsense names for minor characters but names with meanings for major characters. However, you could also do the reverse so that major characters are more defined by their actions and personality instead of a name, while minor characters can have a fitting name to get their point across more quickly. Also, it helps if characters from nearby lands have somewhat similar naming themes. An example of that is the letter Z in the names of royalty in the Fire Nation.
     
  12. AJ Conrad
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    AJ Conrad Member

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    Hector sort of sounds like Spector, and would be an unassuming name until perhaps someone gave his "ghost" the nickname "Spector" or something.
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you feel like a certain name fits, like Zurk, then call your character Zurk even if it didn't mean anything in any language and even if it just popped up without you looking for some name with great symbolism or something. One question you might want to answer though is: why was s/he named Zurk? Was his mother drunk? Did he re-name himself after losing a bet?

    I'm not entirely sure what's the benefit in this, so could you please elaborate a bit? Is it some symbolism thingy? Does it help the reader to remember the names better? Has this been done in some book?

    I agree, it can be quite fitting. Like if you had a Swedish guy whose name ended -sson and then a Danish guy whose ends with -sen. Sure, it's not entirely clear-cut between the nations, but gives some idea about the origin. This method has been used in fantasy novels before.
     
  14. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Other than my stories grounded in the real world, most of my "fantastical" stories, have made-up names.
    Examples: Embressa, Elfry, Aperia, Reppia, Yualleria, Estraune, Krinile, Azrath, Fleicika...yep, I pretty much live on made-up names, and until I grew up a little I had no idea I was the odd one out.
    Anyway, to your question. I don't know how publishers or readers take it, I personally think its ingenious. Like one poster said, names that somehow forebode or give peeks of the character's personality are not realistic after all. In fact, names picked keeping in the mind the character are unrealistic. Names are picked depending on the parents' likes and dislikes, and their expectations, so unless you want to cue that in (which you still can with a fake name, by giving it a fake meaning in a fake language) there's no need for "meaningful" names. Not to mention, many people give certain names simply because they "sound" good, so there's that.
     
  15. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    One method I've been thinking of involves "reversing" long letter sounds and then grouping the resulting syllables into words. "A" becomes "ya", "B" becomes "eeb" and so on.

    A regular name, such as "Tony" can be converted using this method to create "Eteoneiw". Strip out a few vowels and you've got "Etonew". Perhaps not a prime example, but usable as a name.
     
  16. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    I usually always have a name before I have a well rounded character. I find it's best that way as I'm never tempted to find 'the perfect name'. If I have a character I love and no name for some reason, it's impossible for me to find something just right.
    I find with made-up names, anything that has ambiguous pronunciation is going to be off putting. There are definitely successful authors who get away with it, but for d├ębut fantasy, I think it's a silly risk. Calling your character Pxaeliaur might make sense in your world's culture, but unless you subtly explain how it's said, you're only going to annoy your readers.
    But re. the OP, as long as it has a straight-forward pronunciation, knock yourself out with names. Whatever you want. Especially if it's fantasy.
     

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