1. Veo
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    Veo Member

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    Names for my main character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Veo, Jun 30, 2014.

    As I noticed, the best or successful novels have great main character names (e.g. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson) and for my fantasy novel (including wizards and mages...) I would like to have some name-surname suggestions. As I noticed — again — the names and surnames consist each of two syllables (Per-Cy Jack-Son; Har-Ry Pot-Ter).

    My main character is a male, and has three best friends (male, male, female) and I would like them to have memorable and unique names — easily pronounced. So if someone could suggest something I would be grateful.
     
  2. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Easy pronunciation helps but is not the be all to end all. For instance, consider some of the major characters in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones

    Danerys Targaryen (3 syllables in both first and last names)
    Tyrion Lannister (3-3)
    Jaime Lannister (2-3)
    Jon Snow (1-1)
    Ned Stark (1-1)
    Arya Stark (2-1)
    Robert Barratheon (2-3)

    Another big fantasy heroine right now is Katniss Everdeen (2-3).

    My protagonist, Nina Constantinos, actually has a 4-syllable last name and I feel like it works for her - granted it's not fantasy.

    So don't fixate on syllable count. As for help - you can try baby-naming websites for first names and phone books for last names (if you can find one). Also if you know your character's ethnicity you can google lists of surnames based on origin.

    ...assuming of course you're even basing your surnames in the real world --- if not they can be jibberish.

    And if you want a freebie I've been meaning to use the last name "St. Jacques" and haven't found a home for it yet, so you can have it :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Here's what I do - I grab a baby name book - you can find them anywhere a thrift store, library. Or even find one online. Grab a sheet of paper make a list of ones you like, meanings you like, and names you haven't heard used in a while. Narrow it down to a few for both the boy and a girl. Grab a phone book and look for a last name that sounds harmonious.
     
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  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I personally forgo last names.
    Of course, many of my stories are set in places and times where last names don't really fit in with the culture.
    More modern times or family oriented stories might benefit of a last name or two.

    If there's no reason to add it, I generally don't.

    For first names, I just pick ones that culturally make sense or that fit well with the characters personalities (It could be more of a personal feeling for them or a name that reminds me of someone)
     
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  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    What sort of characters are they? Do you want them to have strong sounding names or child-like names, such as Jimmy or Jamie.

    For strong names, I could suggest:
    David Baron - the lead who initially lacks confidence but grows through the story
    Katie Pearson - usually level headed but easily distracted by magical artefacts
    Gordon Miller - son of the local miller, slightly overweight from his consumption of bakery products, but kind hearted
    Oliver "Ollie" Blake - initially a brash character who dislikes anyone calling him by his first name, but is softened by the others

    Of course, you probably have other ideas for the personalities of your characters. These are merely my thoughts as to what sorts of personalities people with these names might have in a story.
     
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  6. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I have a short story with a character called Clarence Algernon Crammond Anderson. His initials spell out the word, caca, meaning excrement (shite, shit, jobbies, crap and all the other slang words for it) He's a Goth, he dresses all in black, wears black eye make-up and revels in all things dead. Clarence hates his name and has re-named himself 'The Claw' thinking it will give him an imposing, perhaps even intimating, presence.

    Will the reader remember his full name? Perhaps not but they will probably remember that his initials spell out the word caca, meaning crap.

    The thing with character names, some of us agonise over choosing them while others put in the first name that come to mind--I do both; some are quick fire names others have meaning like Clarence.

    Memorable names aren't always two syllables long as a poster had already mentioned. You can make your characters name memorable by giving some back story as I have. And remember: its not always the name that makes a character memorable but their deeds within the story.
     
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  7. Veo
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    Veo Member

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    Thanks for your answer. I, personally, do not like baby naming websites because they aren't succeeded. I want the name because the books name is either going to be [... ... and the ...] or [... ...: ...] or [The Misadventures of ... ...].

    Edit: By the way, St. Jacques is a French name and it says Saint Jack! Thanks but :/
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  8. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I pick names I like, and that I feel fit the character. Examples:

    The two MC's in my first book were Chris and Annie. I just like how Annie 'sounds', and it can be short for several names. Chris I picked because it's common (he's a common character) and it's short for Christian, which is a play on religion (the book is about an alternate version of heaven, decidedly non-Christian). Chris' last name is forgettable...so much so that I don't recall what it is sitting here! Annie's last name is Marconi, because she has dark hair and I like Italian girls. ;) One other MC is Walter, the old man next door (Walt for short). Walt is a likable and wise curmudgeon, and people may subconsciously associate the name with Walt Disney, which makes him more likable.

    I dismissed surnames in my second book for both reasons of convenience and as a challenge to write around the need for them. So we have Brandon and Brianna as the MC's. Now, I worried that having two names that start with the same two letters might be a problem, but then said screw it...people can't pick their names, so too bad. :p Brianna is intentionally named as she is because the Celtic origin of the name means "strong one", which is what she becomes (and the book title is therefore The Strong One). The villian's name is Wade, because it sounds like a name a big dude would have. The henchmen are Reid and Gavin, picked at random from the internet.

    I have so far only written stories set in modern times, and choose names that are popular for the time when the characters would have been born. I think this makes them more authentic. It would be nice if they had truly unique names (Katniss Everdeen is sheer brilliance) but the fact is I'm not that creative. I stay with what I know in this regard.
     
  9. Veo
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    Veo Member

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    I exactly want something like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. My MC is courageous, brave, smart, and mysterious.
     
  10. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of the reasons the above characters work well as fictional characters is because they start of as ordinary people who don't know how special they are.
    Harry could be anyone, the proverbial "Tom, Dick or Harry", so to speak.

    I find the names of some of the characters in Percy Jackson to be a bit odd. When I hear "Percy", I think of a green steam engine with 4 wheels. When I hear "Grover", I imagine a blue furry puppet with a red nose. But that's probably just me.
     
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  11. Mans
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    "Falcon Clerk" sounds to be the best name IMO
     
  12. Veo
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    Well, Percy is an abbreviation of Perseus.
     

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