1. M.Kirk
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    M.Kirk Member

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    Names

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by M.Kirk, Aug 6, 2006.

    I have personally found that naming a character is a rather challenging task. But I think the main thing is that the name has to suit the character and his/her personallity, because for some reason it just helps give a more realistic effect.

    What are some of the methods you use to choose your character's names? Do you just choose a name at random, or rather give some thought into the names?
     
  2. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Character names are important. All names are important to me, and for some reason I have to have the name solid and deffinate in my mind before I progress. This goes for character names, book titles, locations, et cetera. I don't like it, but that's just the way I am.

    I typically "come up with a name" but it is rarely one I find fitting to the character.
     
  3. M.Kirk
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    M.Kirk Member

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    Same here, general routine is: See one or two things that sparks an idea, write the idea down in my comp book so I don't forget it (hate it when that happens), think about how the plot could work out (if needed), create characters personalities and names, begin writing. Always in that order.

    Really? I always found a name for my characters that if I somehow met them in real life, I could say, "Yeah, he looks like a (insert name here)". So that he/she ins't one of those people who don't fit their name. For example, one of my best friends, when I first met him, I honestly was thinking to myself "You're a Kameron? You don't look like a Kameron."
     
  4. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    There are names, and there are names. I've been looking for an article that I recently read that was talking about names that are particularly descriptive of the character.

    There's a specific word for it, I thought, but my memory may be playing tricks on me.

    The specific sort of thing that I'm talking about is when you read a story and the main character is named "Everyman" or "Hiro," and the antagonist is named "Lord Foul" or "The Dark One."

    That doesn't make much sense in today's world, where most people use their birth names.

    Granted, I've been tempted to do that. Name a character with a cold demeanor that lives in iceland "Frost," but so far I've managed to suppress it.

    One thing I might suggest, if there's a character that has a name filled with meaning, such as "Frost," perhaps you could add into the story that they chose it themself. In societies where people can choose their own names, you're much more likely to run into a "Raven Darkmind Nightwing."
     
  5. cl0ud
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    cl0ud Member

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    I search for names on babynames.com. I search for a meaning that goes along with the story, and normally I find a name that perfectly suits my character.
     
  6. Peter
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    Peter Member

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    Okay, seriously, does a character's name actually matter in your first draft? No one is going to see it but yourself.

    I know names are important, vital even, but spending a month mulling over a handle or moniker is just another excuse not to write. Worry about names after the first draft, that is my advice. Well, that's what I do, anyway.
     
  7. cl0ud
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    cl0ud Member

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    Meh...it normally takes me half hour to find a great name. Babynames.com is very organized. They even have it organized by origin, so if say your character is irish you can search for a meaning and then look only at the irish names.
     
  8. Demika
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    Demika New Member

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    I also use Babynames.com. I love it, and it normally only takes me a little while to have a perfect name for a character. (Ex, I was looking up a name for a chara, and I found Travis, which, while it does suit the character, it doen't sound the way I would like it, so I shortened it down to Trav, which is one of my friends nicknames).
    I also use friends names, nicknames, animals names, or anything else that is close to me.
     
  9. Mercury
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    Mercury Active Member

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    The 'net is great for this - there's no reason to ever get stuck for names. For example, I was writing a short story set in ancient Greece, and just googled 'ancient greek names', and found a site full of them straightaway! How cool is that?
     
  10. cl0ud
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    cl0ud Member

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    thank God for Google
     
  11. lioness1612
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    lioness1612 Senior Member

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    Funny

    I use parenthood.com for baby names. It is interesting to find that I am not the only one who finds names this way. Its a great way to make the name fit the character's personality, or completely conflict with it if that is what your into.
     
  12. nightscare
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    nightscare New Member

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    It depends on the story but with most I'll pick a name see if it flows and if it doesn't think of another. I sometimes go on random name generators if I'm really stuck however I generally prefer to think of the names myself.
     
  13. Sapphire
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    Sapphire Senior Member

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    I have the same trouble finding names for my character. One problem I'm having with writing my current piece of work is the name of the main character. I'm having trouble with that, but the best thing I can think of doing is going on Google and typing in some name sites and see which one can fit the character.

    But part of your character can somewhat come from your name. If you want the character to have a strong, demanding personality, then you shouldn't have a name like "Wally", because that just seems too lanky for a strong character. You have to give the character a name that will live up to his personality.
     
  14. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I can deffinately relate to what most of you have already said (and as I've already mentioned). For me, it's rather frustrating.
     
  15. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    Usually I just listen to music when I think of names. I take the first letter of each word and I jumble them to make something i like dropping the rest of the letters, a weird method I know :p
     
  16. kalibantre
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    kalibantre Member

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    for first drafts I generally use Jeff and Bob if a name hasn't hit me already. It'll come with time.. But as you have a feel for the character then I look for the meaning in babynames.com or parenthood.com and if I'm still stuck as sometimes the meaning comes up with a crappy name.. I flick through my baby name book to see what jumps out.
     
  17. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Since Kalibantre reminded me, the article I mentioned back on the last page about using meaningful names is from the Slactivist blog, here.
     
  18. pengwenn
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    pengwenn New Member

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    When I'm writing a story I try not to worry about the names of the characters. Since I don't outline I don't know who those characters are 'till I pretty far into the story. What I do is give the frist character that makes an appearence a name starting with the letter A; second character B; and so on. As I get into the story I start to figure out who they are and just do a "find/replace" search in Word and replace their name with what fits. This helps me keep my inner editor out of the writing process until I put him to work when the first draft is done.
     
  19. SwanZa
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    SwanZa Member

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    Hear hear!
     
  20. Nexus
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    Nexus Contributing Member

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    Well, naming modern day characters is simple, just use names of people you know or something similar. If your using a fiction story, use typical names. If its medieval style then really stupid names like "whitewall" (naming a white wall) work really well.
    Here are a couple of names for inspiration:

    Nexus
    Beowulf
    Balthasar
    Erethran
    Elias
    Sindri
    Alphus
     
  21. Felony
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    Felony Contributing Member

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    here are more inspirational names..

    Argoth
    Mirari
    Deveraeux
    Katan
    Thellas
    Laquatis
    Kush
    Cronus
    Venex
     
  22. IndianaJoan
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    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

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    Choosing names is hard, no doubt.

    All the name sites listed are helpful for sure!

    One method I use regularly is a Seattle phone book..tons of names.

    Often times, I use names of people I know or variations of their names. Mostly I do this with antagonists because its my secret little form of retribution to name a despicable character after someone I dislike in real life >:)
     
  23. Laimtoe
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    Laimtoe Senior Member

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    Well -- character names are very important in that the way that they sound will help develop the feel of your book. If they don't like the way your character's name sounds, then they'll have trouble identifying with the character and have difficulty getting used to the feel of the book.

    I also look up the meaning of the Character's Name with a Google Search.
     
  24. pengwenn
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    pengwenn New Member

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    DADA's Little Baby Namer

    I love this site for finding fantasy names.
     
  25. Hellbent
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    Hellbent Senior Member

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    Ha, I guess a lot of writers go through this. I was getting irritated with this on my last story, so I went through credits on a bunch of movies and wrote down all the ones I liked.

    So now my story contains, Mel Gibson the dark and disturbed Man of the house, Vin Diesel and Ethan Hawke, the psychotic brothers, Cameraon Diaz the horrid, haggard wife, Ice-T, the tall and haggard butler, and Jessica Alba, the succubus of the house.

    Just joking, but that would be funny.
     

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